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Need Career HELP: Please share your Independent inventor stories

olugbenga's Avatargold

I am an aspiring inventor. I have many projects in development and a few that I will either directly license or pursue protection (if necessary). I am have a full-time engineering job now but it is an environment that does not promote creativity and goes by the book. I know that I will be an inventor full time but I just do not know when is a good time to fully pursue it. I am assuming that this would not be a good move until my first few established deals, but I would like your input. More importantly, please share your invention life stories (successful or not) b/c I find that all examples help. I desire situations where a pivotal decision must be made (such as a career change or anything pivotal).

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bobk's Avatar

You may well know this but just to be double certain – make sure that any inventions you pursue during or after leaving your present employment are conflict-free of you employer’s line of business. Carefully review any “intellectual property agreement” or “non-competition policy” you may have signed or been informed of when joining the company.

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olugbenga's Avatargold

Thank you for your advice! I understand the legal issues and had a statement signed by our company’s legal counsel for prior inventions that are still in development (or have patents). Also the company has policies allowing invention outside of the company’s time and product realm. I am also aware of the uncertainty of royalty payments and accept this situation, hoping that my advance will help hold me over for a little while plus savings. But I haven’t pursued any licensees as of yet (I want to make sure I have all necessary data and sales projections; I may higher a licensing broker)

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bulldog's Avatarg8_badge

I am also an Engineer by profession & am surprised you suggest it is a profession that does not promote creativity! Whilst individual employers might be process or procedure focussed your engineering background gives you a huge advantage over many other inventors.

For example I wrote my own patent applications and did all my own illustrations using CAD. Saved me a fortune. Although none are commercially viable as yet it has allowed me to explore this as a ‘hobby’ without giving up a day job. Additionally I first toyed with innovations when I spent a great deal of time exploring options for low cost housing for 3rd world applications, particularly the Pacific. Whilst this did not lead to anything tangible (yet!) it is still something that occupies me when watching some mindless reality show.

It is also what got me started thinking of other needs & opportunities, so far I have 3 patents. You background in engineering is not a stumbling block but a ‘tool’ to identify opportunities and explore them.

I used a couple of licensing agents & have been less than impressed so far. I have now started approaching companies myself. Whilst many tell you that impressive brochures & sell sheets are very important, so far the 3 companies I approached all wanted to see the patent document. If I have a positive response, I will invest in a sell sheet & progressively spend more on brochures.

Best wishes.

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bobk's Avatar

RE: "I am also an Engineer by profession & am surprised you suggest it is a profession that does not promote creativity! "

Well I am an engineer also and I can see where the OP is coming from. Yes a company may want “creativity” but only within the narrow confines ofachieving their present business plans. Many companies are focused on one and one only thing (not a bad thing to do!) and have no interest in branching out in other areas or ""distractions".

My first job out of college (long ago) was with a large company (still around) and they did what at that time was considered a ‘novel’ idea – every year they held an “ideas submission” period. The idea did not have to be in line with their present business plans but it would need to be something that could leverage their areas of technological expertise. If your idea was adopted by the company you’d get some financial reward but not a a slice of the profits.

That was a pretty rare thing back then and I suspect its fairly non-existent at companies now (although I’d like to hear of any companies doing something like that.)

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