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Business tactics for inventors: 3 Secrets to Outsmart Your Competitors

Business tactics for inventors: 3 Secrets to Outsmart Your Competitors. Written by Rory Flanagan. The Pragmatic Penguin. Saving time and money for inventors and entrepreneurs.

Secret #1 – Protect it & Forget it

The ‘Protect It and Forget It’ framework is the key to getting your ideas protected quickly and affordably, then freeing up all of your brain space for the important stuff so you can begin profiting from your inventions.

Business tactics for inventors: 3 Secrets to Outsmart Your Competitors. Written by Rory Flanagan. The Pragmatic Penguin. Saving time and money for inventors and entrepreneurs.

Protect it:

Part 1: Provisional Patent Applications 

This is the cornerstone of my protection strategy. I’ve been using these for years to great effect. As an inventor, I’d say they are the best and most useful tool I have ever learned. A provisional patent is a fast and low-cost way to get patent-pending on your marketing materials. Learn more here > 

Part 2: Patent Search

Patent searching, if done the old way, becomes quite expensive. $2000-3000 is common for an exhaustive search by an experienced pro. The good news is there’s a better way that’s cheaper, and radically more effective. This is called an Active Patent Search. It’s a more efficient form of patent searching. This technique shoots straight for the patents that matter – active patents held by profitable companies. Learn more here >

Download the Active Patent Search by filling out this form:

Part 3: Trademarks

This is another thing I get asked for regularly, and like a patent search, there’s a better way to do it that’s cheaper, faster, and just as effective. There’s a common misconception about what ™ really means. Want to learn about this misconception and how to take advantage of it for your benefit? Check out my Trademarks PDF Guide to Learn more.

Part 4: Confidentiality Agreements

NDA stands for non-disclosure agreement. You may already be familiar with these. What you may not be familiar with is the full extent to which you can use them. Want to learn about the why’s and when’s of using an NDA? Who should always be signing one, and it’s a big red flag if they don’t? Who might sign one? Who will never sign one? Where you can get them for free? Check out my Confidentiality Agreements PDF Guide to learn more.


Forget it:

You should be moving forward. The faster you progress, the faster you’ll reach success. Patents should not slow you down, but sadly, they almost always do. This is avoidable with the right tips and tricks. One of the greatest benefits of the ‘Protect it and Forget it’ framework is the peace of mind it will bring you. As well as the jolt of energy and purpose it will give to your progress. As an inventor seeking success, you should not be getting bogged down in the protection phase. You should not let it stall your progress. Yet this is exactly what most people do. They get stuck in this phase for months, even years, and waste tens of thousands of dollars. You should breeze through it, and move on to more important things. This is how the ultra-successful do it. 

Secret #2 – Test your market BEFORE you purchase a long-term, expensive patent

So a Provisional Patent Application gets you 12 months of “patent pending” status. What should you do with those 12 months? Test your market!

Have you heard of the term “lean” when it comes to businesses? Start ups? Software? 

The Lean Startup methodology has as a premise that every startup is a grand experiment that attempts to answer a question. The question is not “Can this product be built?” Instead, the questions are “Should this product be built?”

Inventors everywhere need to begin implementing this methodology throughout their inventing process in order to make the best products and make the most money.

I spent the first 7 years of my inventing career completely broke, falling victim to the idea that if I thought it was a cool idea, the world would think it was a great product, and give me lots and lots and lots of money for it. 

Because here is the truth – when you are launching a new product, you are launching into a market that is 100% unknown. You might think you know the market, because you’ve talked to your friends and they say it’s an awesome idea, or because you are a member of your market and you like your idea.

But to be honest… you’re wrong. That’s what the lean methodology teaches us. You don’t know anything about your idea until you get out there and you start testing it. Until you get your idea out there and start introducing it to your target market, manufacturers, product licensees, etc. 

Before you invest thousands of dollars and years of your life into launching a new invention, you must learn what your customers really want, not what they say they want, or what you think they should want.

Business tactics for inventors: 3 Secrets to Outsmart Your Competitors. Written by Rory Flanagan. The Pragmatic Penguin. Saving time and money for inventors and entrepreneurs.

You need to find out if these groups of people will pay money for your product. It doesn’t matter how great your idea is, if no one is willing to pay for the product, your idea will never be successful. 

In order to figure out if people will actually give you money for your idea, you will need to run an MVP experiment. MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product.

The MVP seeks to understand the chicken and egg problem – I want to know if my product is a good idea and I want to get feedback from customers, manufacturers, licensees, but I can’t get that feedback until I actually build it, right? 

The best way to get understanding is through MVP experiments. This is where we build a miniature version of what our product is going to do.

Secret #3 – Speak to manufacturers before getting a long term patent 

In the journey from original idea to a product on your shelf, your product is going to change. This is a wonderful thing! You are going to get feedback from your target market from step 2 and use that feedback to refine your idea. Another crucial part of this process is speaking with manufacturers before filing a long term patent.

The manufacturers may give you advice on how to make your product cheaper, more environmentally friendly, more efficient, etc.

Or the manufacturer may inform you that the price to manufacture your product is simply unviable in your market. No matter how great your product is, if people are not willing to pay for it, it will never make money.

When you file a long term utility patent, you are not able to update details about your product. This means that if you file the patent before speaking to the manufacturer, your patent will likely be rendered useless, and you will have just wasted thousands of dollars. When you file a provisional patent application, you can make unlimited updates.

It’s important to remember that filing a Provisional Patent isn’t just about saving money. The traditional methods stifle innovation, slow inventors to a crawl, and are a tragic waste of resources.

Get the protect it & forget it bundle with the pragmatic penguin where our team of professionals will write your Provisional Patent Application for you, and give you more tips and tricks on how to make the most of your 12 month patent pending window.

I am an inventor and entrepreneur. The difference between The Pragmatic Penguin team and a patent attorney, is that I actually care about your success and truly want to see you living the life of your dreams. I want your ideas and products out there in the world. I know the world will be a better place when your inventions come to life. So that’s what I’m here for. I know you have a dream to change the world and make an impact, and I want to show you the first steps for how to make that happen.

Business tactics for inventors: 3 Secrets to Outsmart Your Competitors. Written by Rory Flanagan. The Pragmatic Penguin. Saving time and money for inventors and entrepreneurs.



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About The Pragmatic Penguin. Rory Flanagan.
About Rory Flanagan

I am the founder of The Pragmatic Penguin. I’m also an inventor and entrepreneur. And over the past seven years, I have been working to help fellow inventors to achieve inventing success.

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