Thursday, November 29, 2012

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory: Cautionary Stories For Inventors

Part 1 of 3
By Trevor Lambert, President

In the last decade I have had the great privilege to work with many independent inventors as they seek to commercialize their inventions.  Our company, Lambert & Lambert, represents technology owners seeking to license or sell their intellectual property rights by collaborating with companies well-positioned to sell the product and pay royalties to the inventor.

Over the years I’ve been able to see the inner workings of deals come to fruition, and others collapsing miserably.  No doubt we all know the path for inventors is an arduous one, paved with hurdles, set-backs and sometimes heartbreak.  However, sometimes those hurdles and set-backs are a product of the inventor’s own making.  By way of action, attitude or expectation, the inventor actually obstructs the deal from going through.  So in an effort to learn from past mistakes, let me share a few stories that may teach you what not to do.  The names, companies and products have been changed to protect the guilty.

Story #1 – Arrogance

A Fortune 500 (I’ll call ABC Corp) contacted us in search of technologies in fabric care.  Since we represent inventors, not companies in search of products, we performed a search and discovered a very unique technology developed by a small R&D firm on the east coast.  We convinced them to allow us to represent them and engaged ABC Corp to generate interest and set-up a meeting with all of their key staff and decision makers.

At the meeting our clients were asked to provide a technical overview of the product.  We prepped for the meeting extensively and so I was very comfortable with them making the presentation.  However, this is precisely when things began to unravel.  Rather than positioning their product as “highly complementary” to ABC Corp’s product line, they kept stating that their technology was “better” and went on to be outwardly negative toward ABC Corp’s technologies.  I was becoming embarrassed since the lead engineers were in attendance and visibly getting agitated by their comments.

The meeting went on for over two hours and we took a break to allow them to internally discuss what had been presented.  Not surprisingly they passed on the technology and the VP of the division mentioned to me afterward that he was surprised how arrogant they were.  They liked the technology but not the inventors.  Sadly, to this day the technology has not made it to the market.  Considering ABC Corp projected yearly sales of 250 million, the inventors are out a significant amount in royalties.

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About Lambert & Lambert:
Lambert & Lambert is a contingency-fee based invention marketing and patent licensing firm that specializes in consumer products. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Lambert & Lambert provides services to inventors, product developers and small companies throughout the world and currently has products selling in numerous retailers.

Tim Sherman, Director of Customer Service

Tel: 651-552-0080   |   Fax: 651-552-7678

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