Patents and Business

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Genius is not always rewarded. Hungry for cash, John “Doc” Pemberton sold the world’s most famous trade secret -- the formula for Coca-Cola, for less than $900. Charles Goodyear had a brilliant innovation -- rubber that could be used year-round. But Goodyear made many bad deals, failed to protect his patent rights and died in 1860 owing over $200,000. Charles Stahlberg woke the world up with his alarm-clock invention but then, because of business debts, was forced to sell all rights cheaply to the Westclox company. George Ferris had two brilliant ideas -- the Ferris wheel and the amusement park -- but debts forced him to auction his wheel and eventually he was driven to bankruptcy. Adolph Sax patented his saxophone but died penniless after spending all his money on attorneys to fight patent battles.

From Gutenberg (yes, he died penniless as well) to today, developing a great invention has never been a guarantee of financial success. There are many reasons for financial failures -- bad luck, bad timing, the world’s indifference to innovation -- but one of the most significant causes is the inventor’s lack of basic knowledge in three areas:

  • law -- the array of laws, such as patent law, that protect inventions and thereby enable inventors to make money from them
  • business -- the knowledge of how to properly organize and run inventing activities like a real business, and
  • taxes -- the ability to take advantage of the tax laws to help underwrite inventing efforts.

This website is intended to help the independent inventor fill this knowledge gap. Whether you’re a full or part-time inventor, just starting out or highly experienced with many patents to your name, this website will enable you to answer crucial questions about invention ownership, invention protection, how to form an invention business, how to manage your business, and how to understand your tax obligations. And if you're unable to find answers or need more help, knowledgeable intellectual attorneys are available at the click of a button.