Every year the EPO runs a major competition to identify and reward the most outstanding inventors, both in Europe and beyond. I have had the privilege of being on the jury for a second year. Reading the submissions truly is an uplifting experience.
I have experienced patent enforcement litigation in the USA too. It strikes me as crazy that a minnow like me (and every other private inventor) should be subjected to the same legal process as mammoth global corporations. But, turn this view on its head and it becomes more palatable: Minnows like me have access to the same justice system as the giants.
My advice to other mums wanting to combine motherhood with a new business idea.
Starting a business is going to be tough. It’s going to involve a lot of juggling and compromise. You will probably feel pretty stressed out. On the other hand, it will take you into the world of grownups again, provide stimulating balance to your life, be intellectually and, hopefully, financially rewarding. So, first of all, ask yourself if you really, REALLY want to do this? If the answer is passionately ‘Yes’ – then read on.
1. Check your proposed product or service fulfils a need that can’t be met in a cheaper way – otherwise no one will buy it.
2. Invest in a babysitter for the day and visit the Business and IP Centre at the British Library. They will guide you through the whole process and equip you with all necessary skills, including searching their incredibly useful data bases www.bl.uk/bipc/
3. If you are creating something original, look at the UK Intellectual Property office website to see what intellectual property rights can be used to protect it www.ipo.gov.uk If you need a patent, don’t skimp and try to write it yourself – it’s a job for professionals. Go to www.cipa.org.uk
4. Women frequently have difficulty in talking themselves ‘up’. Even if we are brilliant at doing something, we tend to say’ I’m quite good at…’ So, believe in yourself. Go to these websites for truly female inspiration, motivation and encouragement go to www.moretolifethanshoes.com and also, www.shesingenious.org
5. Finally, make sure that you have the support of your family and friends.
6. Go for it!
And never doubt your ability to succeed....
Mandy Haberman is a successful entrepreneur and inventor. She invented the Anywayup® cup, the first non-spill cup, in the early Nineties. The cup has had phenomenal worldwide success selling millions of units a year.
Mandy has won many prestigious awards for her innovative inventions and was recognized by HM Queen Elizabeth as a ‘Pioneer to the Life of the Nation’ in 2003.
12 Dec 2011
As an inventor, I know just how important it is to protect your intellectual property. I made my fortune from patents that I took out in the 1990's, using them to protect the technology that made my invention, the Anywayup® cup, unique.
It hasn’t been easy; I had to fight a “David and Goliath” legal battle to enforce my rights against a major corporation who copied my idea. But my patents were strong and I won. If nothing else, this really emphasises how essential it is to protect your IP. Without patents I would have been powerless and penniless.
No matter what profession you are in, you need to ensure that your originality is safeguarded.
To help you understand what is best for your needs, City AM, has published today my advice on how to go about safeguarding your intellectual property from theft.
Click here to read more.
4 Nov 2011
I was a mum with a good idea and total novice in the world of business, intellectual property and law when I began inventing. Against all odds, and with a lot of luck, I made it!
I'm one of the rare success stories of a lone inventor who has made money (actually, quite a lot of money) from my inventions. It has been an interesting journey and I learnt a lot along the way, particularly about the importance of protecting my inventions with Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
In the coming weeks I shall be writing more about inventing, including the perils and pitfalls of patents. But to get this month rolling, I shall start by celebrating some November registration anniversaries of memorable IPRs.
Can you believe that Kermit the frog is approaching retirement age and it’s over 30 years since the patent was granted for an artificial heart? The Kermit copyright is probably still making money for his creator, whereas the patent for the artificial heart would have expired and revenues stopped after just 20 years. Doesn't seem quite right, does it? But, such is life.
Here are some more well known creations* that share November Intellectual Property Rights anniversaries.
November 2: 1955 Jim Henson's "Kermit the Frog" the first Muppet was copyright registered.
November 3: 1903 Listerine was trademark registered.
November 6: 1928 Colonel Jacob Schick patented the first electric razor.
November 9: 1842 George Bruce received the first design patent for printing type faces.
November 13: 1979 Robert Jarvik was granted a patent for an artificial heart
November 14: 1973 Patsy Sherman & Samuel Smith obtained a patent for a method for treating carpets known as Scotchguard.
November 15: 1904 Patent #775,134 was granted to King C. Gillette for a safety razor.
November 24: 1874 Patent #157,124 was granted to Joseph Glidden for barbed wire fencing. (Photo: ©://CORPORACT)
November 25: 1975 Robert S. Ledley was granted patent #3,922,522 for "diagnostic X-ray systems" known as the CAT-Scan..
November 26: 1895 Russell Penniman received a patent for a transparent photographic film.
November 27: 1894 Mildred Lord was granted a patent for a washing machine.
If you have an idea for an invention, it's important to check out what's been done before. The Business and IP Centre at the British Library can help you do this.
* as published by About.com.