Bert Vermuelen PDF


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Bert Vermuelen PDF

  1. 1. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents Entrepreneurship Invention Patents DaVinci Institute 17 October 2009 © 2009 1
  2. 2. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents Topics: Brief introduction 12 entrepreneurs / 15 ideas / 11 apps / 5 patents Lessons and observations © 2009 2
  3. 3. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents Bert Vermeulen: Engineering & business education Father & brother: 10+ patents each (John Vermeulen/Robbert Vermeulen) Teach Mech Eng Design at CSU Helped file 11 patent apps since 2003 helps entrepreneurs © 2009 3
  4. 4. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents 9 Entrepreneurs, 9 ideas, 6 patent applications: Inventor Idea Patent App? Result Business? Bert Surftree (software) 2004 Abandoned No Rita Web video software 2004 Abandoned No CR66 Used car sales 2004 Abandoned No Dr Deeds Investment software Search only Not pursued No Happy Life Software 2006 Abandoned No MedXCo Reduce urine smell 2006 Abandoned No Elias Open space cooling Search only Did not pursue No Vesta Microcontroller Search only Did not pursue Small Ice Ear bud jewelry Design 2008 Granted Small If there’s no business, there’ll probably be no patent. Having a patent doesn’t mean there’s a business. © 2009 4
  5. 5. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents Why were these patent apps abandoned? Example: Surftree Initial patent application cost <$1000 (self done). Three years later, the examiner came back with lots of objections. Product wasn’t selling. It would have cost $3-6K of professional advice and fees to get something narrow allowed. Not worth it. © 2009 5
  6. 6. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents Entrepreneur #10: Instrumentation for water treatment plants. At least 5 years of development (perhaps 10+ years). First patent application filed September 2009 after working on it for 2+ years. Opportunity. Market leader. Industry expert. Product pre-sold. Challenges: Cannot file abroad after public disclosure. Cannot patent ideas 12+ months after first offered for sale. Need more than one patent application to be filed. Entrepreneur is 73 years old. © 2009 6
  7. 7. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents Entrepreneur #11: 3D Mouse using same technology that’s in the iPhone. Provisional Patent Application filed November 2004. Regular Patent Application filed October 2005. Patent allowed June 2009. In final steps. Now working on follow-on patent applications. © 2009 7
  8. 8. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents Entrepreneur #12: John VanderHorst: Invented pneumatic pressure regulator for Norgren in 1962. Design is still in production. Started own business in 1964. Marginally successful. Hired by Wilkerson in 1966 to design around his Norgren patent. Design is still in production. Has been an inventor/entrepreneur ever since. © 2009 8
  9. 9. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents John VanderHorst’s Inertia Pump (1980-1985): Idea Patent Product Company Wilkerson Retire US Patent# 4,370,101 © 2009 9
  10. 10. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents How does the inertia pump work? Accelerate a pipe with liquid in it Use a check valve to prevent back flow in reverse cycle Oscillate back and forth © 2009 10
  11. 11. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents Turn configuration into a loop and oscillate it Fluid flow direction Check valve Inlet © 2009 11
  12. 12. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents The John VanderHorst Story: © 2009 12
  13. 13. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents © 2009 13
  14. 14. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents “Minimize investment through Do It Yourself” ISSUE: SOLUTION: Funding $100K+ out of own pocket Product development Made own protos. Outside tooling Manufacturing Build them yourself. $0/hr for 1 year Product introduction Visit local dealers RV show in Denver Partner in Europe National distribution Keep trying for 9 months Mail samples to dealers Worldwide licensing Know how to negotiate © 2009 14
  15. 15. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents Tow-N-See Mirror patent summary: US utility patent application Jan 2003, granted Dec 2006. International utility patent abandoned. US design patent application Dec 2004, granted Sep 2006. European design patent granted. Competitor launched copy-cat product spring 2008. © 2009 15
  16. 16. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents What’s next for Tow-N-See: $200-$300K/year business. Runs itself. Available for sale to the right buyer. © 2009 16
  17. 17. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents Lessons and observations: Hurdles Patents only useful with products & businesses It takes time and money Opportunities A business with a patent is worth more Issued patents can create credibility For larger businesses, a good defense is a good offense (numerous issued patents) You can do some of the work yourself © 2009 17
  18. 18. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents Also keep in mind: Most issued patents are never commercialized. Commercialized patents can be quite valuable. There is starting to be a market for good patents. Patent litigation costs at least an order of magnitude more than patent prosecution. © 2009 18
  19. 19. Invention, Entrepreneurship, and Patents Questions and discussion © 2009 19