Pitfalls 3 & 4 Inventors Should Avoid

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Avoid Common Mistakes most inventors make

This month, we are discussing two common pitfalls inventors face: Premature Patents and “Falling In Love” with an idea, regardless of its merit and chance for success.  Read on to learn more about these two common pitfalls, and what to consider when you are trying to overcome them during the inventing process.

Pitfall #3 - Premature Patents

The number one mistake we see most beginning inventors make is they rush to patent their ideas without understanding the basics of patent law. They ask their well-meaning friends what they should do with their great idea, and their friends tell them to talk to a patent attorney because that is common wisdom. The aspiring inventor then talks to a well-meaning patent attorney, who usually recommends they proceed with a patent immediately.

Unfortunately, this is usually far too soon. Many beginning inventors do not realize that a patent is very specific, covering precisely described “embodiments.” If a design changes much (which it often does), it will likely not line up with the earlier design in such a way that a patent will protect you.

Almost every design changes on its way to market, and so very often the early investment was wasted. Unfortunately, for many resource-constrained inventors (and we ALL are resource-constrained, even the largest corporations), the capital available for filing patents is usually exhausted, and the existing application now completely or partially without value.

Another major pitfall is applying for, and perhaps getting an overly “narrow” utility patent. Without going deep into patent law here, know that the narrower the patent the less useful it is, and at a certain point, becomes basically without real value. That is, no real protective value, and therefore likely little monetary value. This happens for a lot of technical reasons, which are explained in our Patent 101 video series, but the root cause is not understanding patent law when hiring a patent attorney. Attorneys are not teachers!

Best to wait until you have a working prototype that you are ready to either present to a potential licensee or offer for sale directly.


Another big mistake is when inventors fall soooooo in love with their ideas that they lose all perspective. They stop listening to feedback, they over-invest, they become defensive of any disagreement with their assertions of its importance.

These inventors start proclaiming that their idea will make “milions” or even “billions”. They believe it is “unique” and has “no competitors,” and is a “guaranteed winner.” They say whoever may not believe in them or invest in their idea is a fool.

Generally experienced business people are weary of overzealous inventors. They have learned that not every great idea is an economic opportunity, and that people who don’t get that almost always fail.

Why do they fail? Because they are so enamored of their idea that they do not take input from other people or experts, and therefore make mistakes or miss important adjustments. They are defensive which turns of potential partners. They scare off potential licensees who fear that they would never be able to live up to their expectations. They ignore signs that they should stop or need to pivot, and thus fail.

You need to be passionate about your idea, and you need to be committed, to have any hope of success. But you also need to listen to feedback and be open to the possibility that others see issues you might not.

You need to be willing to let go if you realize that you are barking up the wrong tree. In fact, in the end, most ideas fail. Most ideas don’t have everything it takes to succeed as a product.

Avoid common pitfalls by working with trident

When you work with Trident, we help you avoid common mistakes that inventors face.  We win when you win, and it’s in our best interest to ensure your investments of both time and money are well spent.  We have decades of experience in developing and licensing products, so we know what to look out for.

Getting started with Trident is easy!  All you have to do is submit your idea to our secure inventor’s portal called the ThinkBank™.  The ThinkBank allows you to organize all of the information you have about your idea and product in one secure space.  Everything you upload is safe and is under your control.  Once you complete the submission steps, a licensing expert from Trident will review your submission and let you know if your idea is a good fit or not.  We accept all ideas and have worked with many different types of inventions – from kitchen gadgets to advanced nanotechnology.  If you’ve got a great idea, we want to help you make it a reality!

check back for more tips and common pitfalls to avoid

Check back next month for two more common pitfalls you should avoid as an inventor!  In the meantime, make sure to follow us on Facebook and sign up for our email list below to stay up to date on new, innovative challenges, as well as receive periodic tips and tricks.

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