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The inventor's bible
The thing I like most about "The Inventor's Bible" is the fact that it flows. There is a background story that runs through the book as we follow the real-life history of ideas as they naturally evolve.
Many books for inventors are oriented towards the novelty/toy markets. I have found my own experience of licensing manufacturers quite different (actually easier) than most of the toy inventors' books describe. Docie's first invention was one born out of near mishap and had true safety value. He considered his first patent weak due to an overcrowded field of competitors, which makes it an even better illustration of how to proceed with an invention. But he knew it was a good idea from the start, because it was conceived from a real-life situation. His battle was differentiating his design from the many similar products already on the market.

I believe that this is the #1 issue with most new inventions - closing in on 7 million patents; it's a very crowded field. Nevertheless, for an inventor that's part of the game.

My feeling is that if you have something that you KNOW has value, and you've done a thorough patent search and have a good understanding of the prior art, you should be able to justify the expense of a patent application. Then you can approach your potential manufacturers from a position of confidence. All this dancing around with non-disclosure agreements, trying to decide whether your idea is worth anything or not, seems to be putting the cart before the horse.
It might take a little patient educating on your part, but if you have something useful, someone will eventually recognize the fact and be anxious to work with you. Select and research the companies you'd like to work with, then carefully court them. Be persistent without being a nuisance. Just remember it's a lot of work for a company to add a new product to their line. You have to appreciate how big a decision it is for them to work with you - but they will!

Docie also runs a bona fide invention promotion company, as opposed to all the bogus invention submission companies out there. Remember they're like stockbrokers - they get paid regardless of results, which are usually negligible. Docie's background, interest and reputation ensure an honest and knowledgeable effort, and preclude any of the funny business that is inherent in the other outfits. The essential idea of an invention promotion company is quite valid, which unfortunately gives the bogus outfits their impetus.

If you have developed your invention to the stage where it is "proven to be functional and is sound from an engineering standpoint", how do you license a company to manufacture and market it? This book may provide you with the information needed for you to license your invention.
The author points out that while every case is unique, generally speaking, licensing an invention is an easier route to go than outright sale or attempting to manufacture your product yourself.

He explains how your "know how" may be an important ingredient in your licensing deal. In fact, you may make more money from consulting fees than from the patent itself.
Docie stresses the importance of using common sense and that communicating effectively is vital to your success. He points out there is a vast amount of information out there that can be had -- and often at very low cost.

Emphasis is placed on the value of locating the key people in the industry that would use your invention and of finding "champions" within the companies who will support your efforts to license your invention. Each industry has its own system of distribution. You can and must determine how your invention fits into the scheme of distribution. Understanding how distributors, buyers and manufacturer agents function in your invention's industry is critical to your progress. Also, understanding how the needs of catalog or mail-order markets differ from retail channels can be a key bit of knowledge.

Attending trade shows can yield important information as to who the key decision makers are at various companies. Docie gives tips as to how attending these trade shows can be done on a surprisingly low budget.
Once your have determined possible licensees, which are the ones to contact? He gives an 8-point check list for selecting potential licensees and a list of 7 cautions to guide you in your first conversations with the key decision makers. This is followed by a list of 26 questions regarding market information (such as how a company has worked with outside inventors), what their manufacturing capabilities are and company background questions. He cautions you must clearly explain your invention but at the same time not give away any trade secrets or confidential information.

The subject of confidentiality agreements is discussed from various standpoints including the author's view after over 20 years' of experience. A disclosure agreement form that has served him well is reproduced.
The book suggests ways to realistically calculate manufacturing costs and why "approaching the engineering department may be the kiss of death". The pros and cons of the new patent office system of provisional patent applications are given. An example of an actual submission letter used by Docie Marketing is reproduced. A sample of a non-exclusive license contract is also reproduced. Various licensing strategies, factors and how to negotiate licensing agreements are discussed. These include how to maintain licensees' quality standards and how to monitor their sales.
His chapter 7, Industry Survey of Invention Evaluation and Marketing Firms, is a must read for every inventor. The author does not pull any punches. He includes in the "rip-off" category some patent attorneys who fail to point out to their clients that their patent claims may be so weak as to make their patent commercially worthless. He lists 13 factors inventors should consider in selecting an evaluation service firm.
Three case histories give, in detail, examples of the chills, fevers and glories that can take place when you go down the road negotiating a license to your invention. For example, how should you deal with the shock of a patent office rejection of your application for a patent? How would you deal with 18 companies copying your item? The author found himself in exactly that situation and came up with a solution. How do you decide when or if your patience and persistence are stretched to the point of violating common sense?

The author suggests many inventors could learn a lot from television detective Columbo -- ask a lot of questions, listen and say no more than necessary.

The last chapter has 11 pages of up-to-date resources available to inventors.

Reading this book, or any book, will not make you a licensing expert, but it will alert you to many of the landmines out there. The book is down-to-earth and is based on the author's practical hands-on experience in the real world. The pretentious vocabulary some writers seem prone to is avoided.

It's the definitive book on product licensing for the independent inventor!
I've been looking for a book like this since we started this network almost ten years ago. The best I'd found previously was Tom Mosley's Marketing Your Invention. That's a good book -- it does a good job of arguing the case for licensing and in presenting the mechanics of marketing intellectual property. But it doesn't do a good job of conveying the "art" of making a deal -- which is the very essence of selling anything, and especially intellectual property.

What I was looking for was something more analogous to David Pressman's Patent It Yourself. Pressman does such a great job of conveying the "art" of invention patenting that, by the time you finish the book, you thoroughly understand what a patent attorney does -- and although you may now know "how" to do what the patent attorney does, you also understand why he can do it so much better than you. And that's what Docie's book does in conveying the "art" of invention marketing. He shows you step by step -- with examples -- how to find and put together invention-licensing deals. If you follow the steps that he lays out -- and do them all well -- if there's any chance of your invention licensing, you'll find it and do the deal. And if there's no chance of its licensing, you'll also find that out -- quickly and efficiently.

Now the trick of course is "doing all [the steps] well". That's the "art" of invention marketing -- and that's what Docie conveys so well in this book. If you seriously study his book, you will absolutely know "how" to go about marketing your (or anybody else's) invention. But... just because you know "how" to do it doesn't mean you "can" do it. Competent invention marketing requires a good deal of business knowledge and common sense, a degree of extroversion, chutzpah and initiative and, perhaps most important, the ability to listen and react productively. These -- and especially the last -- are not particularly strong attributes of the average independent inventor.

Like Pressman, Docie figures that once you understand how a professional (like him) goes about marketing an invention, you'll likewise understand why he can do it so much better than you.

So why buy a book whose goal is to convince you to hire a professional? For the same reason you bought Pressman -- to understand the methods and skills professionals bring to the problem. Given that understanding, if you decide to try to do the work yourself, you'll at least know what you're up against. And if you decide to hire a professional, you'll at least know how to communicate with him and what to expect from him.
Should you hire a professional to market your invention? If you want to give your invention its best shot -- absolutely! A competent professional will give your invention its best chance. The problem comes in judging whether the person you're hiring really is "competent". This book gives you a fighting chance at making a rational judgment. If they're following the procedures Docie outlines -- and aren't taking forever doing so -- you can be pretty sure they know "how" to do it. (There's still a question whether they "can" do it. But that's a problem you face when you hire any professional -- there's little to go on other than their past "success" record.) If you go this way, make sure you divide the work up into small manageable chunks -- each with a clear goal -- costing no more than you're willing to swallow if the goal isn't achieved.

A couple of years ago, I did an article, The Provisional Application, which outlined a low-cost approach to invention marketing that most inventors can do on their own. Your odds (of successfully licensing) using that strategy are definitely lower than if you use a competent marketing professional. It basically comes down to the old saw, "Nothing sells itself".
But like all rules, there are exceptions in the extremes. If you come up with a business-to-business product that really solves a long-standing problem in a particular industry -- or saves the producers in that industry significant costs -- your "selling" doesn't have to be much more than simply "presenting" the product. You have an educated profit-motivated customer set who are actively looking for what you have to sell -- and if it's "real", will literally sell themselves. Likewise with licensing intellectual property. If you have the exceptional product or process, your customer set (the prospective licensees you approach) will recognize it and try to deal for it. In fact, they're likely to more readily recognize it as "exceptional" -- simply because they're more familiar with their industry and their market than the typical inventor. In any event, simply "presenting" it to them. as proposed in the Provisional Application article, provides the independent inventor with much better odds than either not trying at all or spending a bunch of patent money and then waiting for someone to contact them simply because the patent issued.
So... if you want to maximize your odds of licensing -- and you have the money -- and you take great care (and accept the risk) that that money buys you the "competence" you need -- then go with the invention marketing professional.

And -- please -- if you plan to go this route, bring him in early -- earlier in fact than a patent attorney. With a few phone calls, he can save you the cost of the 95 of 100 patents that would never license anyway -- even if you had them. And the competent invention marketer -- stress "competent" -- frequently doesn't need a patent to make a deal. He'll recommend a patent only if it's necessary to make a deal or it's likely to make possible a much better deal.
Whichever direction you decide to go, you really oughta get and study Docie's book.

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