I have developed a brand new method for flow measurement which eliminates most of the problems of traditional orifice plate method, I wonder how I can find a trustable company to invest. Does anybody knows what I can do?
first get a reliable Patent Attorney! Do Not, repeat, Do Not, use those that advertise on TV!!!
What Phil said. Once you have a patent, I may be able to advise you further, under a non-disclosure agreement.
Walt Boyes, Life Fellow, ISA; Fellow InstMC
Chartered Measurement and Control Technologist
Spitzer and Boyes LLC
3646 Wyoming Street
St Louis MO 63116
**Spitzer and Boyes LLC publishes the Industrial Automation and Process Control INSIDER (www.iainsider.com)**
Actually you don't want the Patent too soon. What you want is a Patent-Pending, because once granted the patent it is made public!
Actually, I am looking for a company who do the patenting work for me and I can share the patent with them.
I will upload a video of my device on Youtube as soon as I finish it. Perhaps a company may be interested to give it a try.
What you do is prepare for a long hard struggle and don't waste your money on patents and patent attorneys.
Survey the manufacturers and find one for whom your technology is one step away from their current technologies, who have a set of core competences that will support your product.
Then approach them at a high level and seek a confidentiality agreement.
Patents are worth nothing unless you have a lot of money to defend them. That then depends on the idea. If it is good enough then someone will invest and they will patent it when they are ready to start manufacture. Patenting the idea early just uses up some of the patent life and alerts other companies who then will either steal the idea and trust you have no funds to sue them or they will look for ways to break your patent.
Be aware that your belief in the unbeatable properties of your idea will not always be shared.
Manufacturers are always victims of the old fear of cross capture. They don't want to make an existing product obsolete for a new one unless it guarantees greater profits and/or greater market share and even then they are more afraid of the risk that they are keen on the benefits.
Profiling potential manufacturers is a key aspect of what you need to do and then, don't forget that the decision will be made by a collective. It is easy to get engineering approval if the idea is good but sales and marketing and the bean counters are different animals. They make perverse decisions, sometimes decisions that are completely against the interests of the company. Why? because it is safer to reject new ideas than risk investing money in something that may or may not give them an advantage.
Trust to your technical presentation to appeal to engineering because engineers make informed decisions but you also need to get sales and marketing on board. That depends on factors other than technical.
good advice, patents are meaningless in the current business climate and the role that patents have in dominating a market rather than protecting new ideas...
Thank you JMW
> What you do is prepare for a long hard struggle and don't waste your money on patents and patent attorneys.
> Survey the manufacturers and find one for whom your technology is one step away from their current technologies,
> who have a set of core competences that will support your product.
Yes, I speak from personal experience.
I created a new "next generation" vortex meter with active rather than passive sensing and projected all the potential benefits.
I disclosed it under NDAs to a number of companies including one which had flow technology and all the necessary related core competences and they said it wouldn't work.
I also disclosed to another company that had spent a great deal on developing a new conventional vortex meter and then killed it at the pre-production stage as not delivering any compelling technical or commercial advantage.
I then gave up as I had other things to do.
Some years later the first company sent me an apology email and a copy of a new patent for exactly what I had proposed but this time arrived at by a team of scientists on a US University Science and Technology Campus. Their and my proposals were in surprising agreement.
But while they spent a lot of money on patents and I didn't (which in the end meant they did get the patent as was their right), I was the "winner" because the design has gone non where since. It must be halfway through its patent life by now.
And here is the problem.
30-40 years ago what manufacturers wanted was a technical or commercial advantage with which they could capture market share.
That was the nature of the market then.
But in the years since engineers in the process industry have become rather more scarce, and while 30-40 years ago they would have looked to find the best technology for their application from the best supplier and at the best price, what began with "standardisation", moved on to approved vendor lists etc has now evolved further to the point where the "single source supplier" business model is dominant.
In this model both supplier and their major clients (the 20% who provide 80% of the business) save a great deal of money by having fewer engineers, and instead of those engineers looking for the best solution all they look for now is something that works. They want a flowmeter? they fill in a form and it is sent to their "strategic alliance" partner and whatever they offer is what they get. They cannot easily go looking elsewhere. All the supplier guarantees is that what they supply will work.
In turn what this means is that while the single source supplier companies have busily acquired all sorts of different single product manufacturers to complete thier product portfolios, once the "best technology" is no longer the objective, they no longer look to improving individual technologies which may serve only 5-10% of the applications, they look to the technologies that can work in 80-90% of the applications and invest not in making them better but more universal.
The problem is thus that new technologies have to not only be better than some other technology but have to also be as universal as possible.
Currently the major manufacturers are looking at either coriolis or Ultrasonic as their "universal technologies and this is where they spend money. Coriolis is at the moment the leader because of multi-functionality but there are some significant advantages to US and the game is still on.
So no matter how good your new idea is, be prepared for disappointment if you look to the global companies.
I suggest you may need to look to those applications where it has a significant and unique advantage and look for one of the still independent companies who specialise in serving the applications that the globals have left behind.
I am now in another of these cycles looking at PD meters where I am finding that no matter how good the idea and no matter how much the engineering teams get behind it, the MBAs in sales and Marketing are the killers. Too many are risk averse or think that as managers they manage and don't need to know the fundamentals.
It is very frustrating.
Oh, and when you do get a good idea, beware the US white Knights. Studies have shown that the innovator who sets up their own company, then needs fresh capital to grow the company and exploit the product usually end up with about 5% of their company and are ousted from any remaining association except for their shareholding. (I have acted as a technical consultant to a couple of companies like this and watched them go through all this).
There are many good ideas but marketable isn't always about how good the product is even if you can get past the stupidity of a great many non-technical managers.
But I am not trying to put you off, just saying don't expect that the world will greet you with open arms. It will take a lot of dedication and hard work to get anywhere and a long list of companies you have surveyed and categorised according to a variety of different scenarios which you hope will one of them prove the winner.
Do you want a market leader or a hungry small company?
For example, 20 years back I presented a new water meter. I thought the leading manufacturer was a good place to start. They were unimpressed. They were already market leaders so a new design would simply cross capture from their existing design and not grow their share or improve their profits. It wodl cost them a lot of money (and the "new coca cola" disaster isn't a good advert for trying something new).
Then with other companies there was the "not invented here" syndrome.
rarely do any of these companies think that if they don't take it on someone else will and to their disadvantage. Regrettably, the only time I was able to work this one of taking major market share from an established manufacturer wasn't for my own design but for designs I developed for the company I worked for.
Take note of Dyson.... his new vacuum cleaner was rejected by all the manufacturers. Like most trapped in a competitive market where no one had any commercial or technical advantage over any one else, they failed to see that a significant technical advantage could generate major market shares at much higher prices. Dyson had to make it himself in the end and where bagged cleaners had reached the 430-40 a piece price his were selling at $3-400 and very popular.
Cue the manufacturers to now try to get around his patents. And now everyone seems to have a bagless cleaner, many not very good, and they have successfully pushed themselves back into a price war where they offer poor performance and quality at rock bottom prices...
ANd now I am touting a new water meter design and am running out of categories..... I may yet get desperate enough to try and find a way to involve the Chinese, if only I can be sure they would still fill my rice bowl and not simply rip me off..... the trouble with so many countries not abiding by international IP agreements.....
Thank you again. I think what I have to do is to make sure that my idea works perfectly. Then I have to draw attention of some big company to my idea under a NDA to see if they will pay for it. My idea is based on my 20 years of experience in industry.
Although the concept of my idea is not new, I know it will lead to a product which is not in the market now.
What are the usual contract of employment conditions?
In the USA any idea, innovation or invention an employee dreams up whether it is to do with his job spec or not, whether it is a product which fits with the employer's business or not, is claimed to be the property of the employer.
In the UK the 1977 Patent act declares that the Intellectual property is that of the inventor and that he has an inalienable right to profit from it. By inalienable they mean that the employer cannot take away the inventors rights through contract terms, through coercion or any other means.
The exception is if the employees job specification is specifically to develop such inventions. In which case the invention must then be assigned to the employer and the employee given some financial remuneration the amount of which is based on prior case law (and is usually no more than a few hundred pounds, but the inventor has the right to be named in any patents).
All a company can do in the UK is include a contract of employment condition that requires the employee to first disclose the idea to the employer so that they may get first chance at it.
One of the companies I worked for was a Schlumberger UK subsidiary. When they came to harmonise contracts of employment, they first off tried to include the US contract terms claiming all rights but the "inalienable" bit in the Act meant they had to back off to the right to be informed.
In later years when I have approached US companies and they learned I was employed in one of their subsidiaries at some point, this is the first thing they think of.... that the idea in some way must be theirs already (even though there is a time gap of many years involved....) so I have learned to quote the patent act to them at the outset.
But I wonder what the terms are in Iran.... and especially because any potential investors who are US based or part of US companies might be concerned that they invest only to find some disputes arising later on with your employer which could complicate the deal.
I'd be interested in learning more about your new flow measurement solution. Please email at email@example.com to discuss.
> I have developed a brand new method for flow measurement which eliminates most of the problems of traditional orifice
> plate method, I wonder how I can find a trustable company to invest. Does anybody knows what I can do?
Dear Mr. Sandlin,
I sent you two emails after we talked about NDA, I am waiting to have your reply.
I am on same process of fund raising that A. Hasseli for a different products line. If anyone can advice on specialised funds/capital venture that invest on technology for "industrial sector". Industrial partner is an idea but it's hard to get in touch with such investment from Schneider or other industrial... Feel free to comment and share.
> I am on same process of fund raising that A. Hasseli for a different products line. If anyone can advice on
> specialised funds/capital venture that invest on technology for "industrial sector". Industrial partner is an idea
> but it's hard to get in touch with such investment from Schneider or other industrial... Feel free to comment and share.
The world of the inventor is not a happy one. Dyson, Bayliss, etc. There was a recent article about Bayliss, who got virtually nothing for his clockwork radio idea (now picked up in torches etc) though he does admit to making some money on the lecture circuit as a consequence. What most companies want to do is find a way round the patents when they finally admit they have seen a good idea. Baylis, for example, wanted to make a radio which didn't need batteries. Simply wind it up and then allow the spring to drive a generator to deliver the necessary power for a radio. As most now work, however, winding up doesn't involve a clockwork mechanism and a spring to store the energy, they use the winding action to run a generator to charge Li Ion batteries. It does the job and gets around the patents.
On the other hand, and I have had a peripheral involvement consulting with companies looking at new ideas, inventors can be their own worst enemies. They can be resistant to ideas from the interested company. For example, I was asked by one inventor to act as an intermediary with a potential investor and did so. The investor bought in with significant funds. They then employed me as a consultant. The original US product looked exactly what it was, something hand made in a workshop. I produced a report to show what it needed to have to be acceptable by the instrumentation industry, and to be acceptable in the EU. The inventor rejected it all.
I also found a potential OEM for them who wanted 10s of thousands of them The investor was prepared to set up manufacture in a suitable third world country but again, the inventor was having none of it. His design was what he wanted to manufacture the way he wanted to do it. The OEM's MD told me they had had similar problems with other inventors.
A couple of years later when I visited the inventors web site I discovered they had at last started to do most of the necessary things I had advised.
On the other hand, some years back I met with the Sales and Marketing manager of a company manufacturing a competing product to one I had been involved in and I offered some free advice, little expecting they would act on it (especially as, so the saying has it, free advice is worth what you pay for it) but this time several years later I discovered that had implemented pretty much all of what I had suggested.
New products, or ideas, to be successful, have to meet a need, be manufacturerable which means meeting a marketable specification at a marketable price, and have the right aesthetics. If industry expects transmitters and transducers to come with on-node configuration and with an EX D enclosure, that is what you have to deliver. If you want the EU market it means CE approvals, IS for preference and so on.
But another important factor in the success is finding channels to market.
Setting out by yourself to design and manufacture and sell is a long hard process. My approach (not so far successful but it may be yet) has been to look for manufacturers who already have the manufacturing facilities and the sales channels into the target market. These are either going to be your competitors - and as established suppliers they have a fair chance of wiping the floor with you or running you out of money in patent suits, or your partners because what you have is what they need to put one over on their competitors.
The problem then is to choose your potential partner.
The market leader is often not the best choice. They already have the majority share in the market and are usually confident no one will do any better. A new design means they have to invest a lot of money only to find that all they have done is replace their market leading product with another which brings no bigger market share.
The smaller companies may be a better bet if they see this as a way to take share from the market leader...... but nothing is more guaranteed than that somewhere in the management of any of these companies there will be someone who believes in the status quo.
In the Dyson was reduced to manufacturing his bagless vacuum cleaner himself.... then, finally, all the manufacturers he had approached took an interest and set about trying to get around his patents.
Logic seems to have no place in the modern business world.
On the other hand, and unfortunately not for myself but for my then employer, I found that the attitudes of the market leaders could play into our hands.
I could go on but the simple message is that here is no easy way, and success will be rare and hard won but worth it when achieved. But don't ever expect to be welcomed with open arms by anyone.
Moderator's Note from Peg Ferraro: I had to think about posting this, because I don't want to start a firestorm. This forum started as a Mailman email list over 20 years ago. It was mainly a US based list along with some people from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Control.com has since truly become an international forum that I have been proud to be the moderator of for the past 10 years. I try to stay away from causing controversy on the list and for the most part have succeeded. I did screw up in the early years a few times. As the greeting in the latest Sci-Fi book I'm reading says, "May Peace be with you."
Hasseli post begins below.
Last year I was invited by a very famous German company to reveal one of my cool ideas to them. When I disclosed my idea to them and showed them the results of my proof of concept experiments, they became very interested and told me that my idea is really brilliant!
They told me they will go to register two patents out of it and told me to give them a complete report and technical info and I did it!
But after passing more than a year exchanging emails, eventually they told me that they are no longer interested in my idea and they suggested me to patent them myself!
They didn't pay me any money and I am totally disappointed now!
When I asked them the reason, they indirectly told me that because of current political situation between US and Iran, they prefer not to have any relation with Iranians!
What a pity...
Don't feel too too bad, all companies do this regardless of country, location or even if you are a bonified employee...
In three cases that I am familiar with removed the inventors name from the patent, giving it to someone else at the company decades ago.
Welcome to the "modern" age...