In this article arguments are made against third party invention evaluation offers. The opinion expressed is that they give the inventor any useful information and are generally just based on an opinion. An inventor may receive a positive or negative evaluation but in either case the inventor may not know how to proceed.
Moreover, an invention with a positive evaluation could fail because of factors not considered in the evaluation.
On the other hand, an idea with a negative evaluation could very well succeed. A negatively evaluated invention or idea could perhaps be modified in such a manner as to improve the chances of success. Maybe if the business model were changed to target a different market or application, the chances of success could be greatly increased.
The purpose of this article is to give my arguments against general third party invention evaluation offers, and to describe to inventors/entrepreneurs a method for an evaluating the market potential of their idea or invention. In addition this method can be used to monitor their operations, if they decide to manufacture and/or sell their product themselves.
One Size Fits All Snap Shot Invention Evaluation
The arguments are not against all forms of third party invention evaluations. It is reasonable and prudent for a third party to do an evaluation if they are going to put some skin in the game. For example, a third party evaluates your invention and on a contingency of their positive evaluation, they represent you at no upfront costs as a licensing agent.
Furthermore, there are no objections if the company charges a reasonable upfront fee for the initial evaluation. This upfront fee is probably necessary to make some inventors think twice about submitting their idea. If not for this fee, some submissions might be poorly thought out ideas such as selling haircuts online or an at-home-ATM where software takes your debit card information and prints out cash on your color printer.
These types of ideas might have gotten funding during the inflation of the dot-com bubble but times have changed.
However, the arguments are against the types where they just hand you an invention evaluation and ride off into the sunset with the money. This often leaves the inventor standing in the lurch with no idea on how to proceed.
The one size fits all approach will not work. All markets are different and what may be important in one market may not be important at all in another. No one can know all possible markets and furthermore even if they do learn another market, their interpretations may be colored by previous experience. They could predict the market behavior based on unsuitable previous experience. One market will not generally behave like another.
Furthermore, any evaluation that is not ongoing and continual is just a snap shot. The economy and consequently the market environment are constantly changing. The competition will not just sit flat footed and let you encroach on their territory. They are most likely to respond in unexpected ways.
The success of an idea or invention can also be affected by legal decisions. For example a decision can affect the costs of your product liability insurance or get your product dropped by a retail chain. An inopportune legal decision can make your product appear as a high risk item.
New legislation might be passed that could drive up the costs of manufacturing and marketing your product. New tariffs and duties might be imposed. New environmental regulations might also, directly or indirectly, effect your costs.
Natural disasters can also affect the business model, as a hurricane did a few years ago. The hurricane heavily damaged off-shore oil rigs. invention ideas This negatively affected production capacity and drove up fuel prices. As a result, most major shipping companies added a fuel surcharge to their invoices. new invention idea
The experience and character of the inventor has a big affect on the success of an idea or invention. They may be risk adverse and unwilling to take financial risks or the inventor might not fully understand the character or magnitude of such risks. In addition, personal or family problems might unexpectedly appear and impact the inventor’s ability to manage or fund the project.
Since, in most cases, the paid for third party evaluation is a snap shot – a subjective judgment call based on fixed conditions – it has a limited shelf life. They are similar to battle plans in that they rarely survive an encounter with the enemy. It would be like setting sail with last week’s weather forecast. There is a real need to constantly monitor the economic/market weather conditions and respond by adjust the project’s course.