What if shoes became chewing gum disposals? What if mirrors took a picture of you to eliminate turkey neck? What if women bought tickets to watch hunks work out? What if sex rugs were self cleaning? What if we opened a gym that charged you every time you didn’t show up?
In this episode of Steal Scott’s Ideas, Mark, Jane and Brittany gather in Brooklyn for some execution in public.
**Sponsored by The Fart Slog Music Festival
Execution Lesson 203: And you memorized that instead of doing what?
Intellectual patent attorneys have a the most fascinating job. Every week, they are exposed to the outrageous ideas of complete strangers. Every deadbeat within a twenty mile radius shows up to pester them with their idiotic brain waves. And each of these inventions, of course, is guaranteed to make millions of dollars.
You just don’t understand. This is not merely a great idea, but a dream of a whole new life for me that’s lightyears away from my current reality. Our new golden dinglehopper will revolutionize the entire personal care industry.
And yet, speak with any patent attorney, and they will tell you just how many people waste their time, money and energy filling out paperwork for some idea that will ultimately be rejected or ignored. For many reasons, but mostly because the inventions don’t meet something called novelty requirement. Meaning, the idea is not new and therefore not patentable. Contemporaries in the field would not consider it to be nonobvious. The idea lacks what the legal system calls the nirvana of newness, and the nadir of knownness.
Reminds me of a corporate consulting program that my company launched years ago. Brandtag, in my opinion, was the greatest thing since the invention of printing. And so, it felt like the diligent thing to do to ask a patent attorney if it was legally protectable. Which I did. And it was. But the lawyer took me aside and said, look, this seems like a novel idea, and our firm can certainly trademark it for you. But that process will be expensive and labor intensive. Are you sure this is the smartest use of your time, money and energy at this early stage of your business? Perhaps you would be better off investing your resources in making the product as good as it can be first.
She was right. My desire to trademark the idea wasn’t coming from a place of lucid business judgement, but from an immature posture of fear, scarcity and ego. My patent was never registered. It didn’t need to be. What mattered more was acquiring actual paying clients, and then executing great work. Not going blind filling out paperwork to appease my own notions of paranoid grandiosity.
Look, every entrepreneur worries that someone will steal their idea. And there are enough cases of idea theft to make even the most trusting and optimistic creator paranoid. But before you get dragged down some expensive legal rabbit hole, honestly ask yourself what the best use of your financial and emotional capital would truly be.
Would you rather feel safe, broke and time poor; or alive, useful and lean?