Linked In question:
“Hi, I know this has probably been said a million times and in the most part, I would agree that the claims made by some inventors are exaggerated or at least badly conceived.
Question 1: If someone came to you and professed to have come up with an invention that generates electricity in abundance without the use of wind, wave, tide, fossil fuels, nuclear, thermal or any other previously adopted method of power generation and then declared that this method of power generation relies upon only well-known and understood theories of physics. No Pollution and no consumption of any fuel. Would you believe them?
Question 2: If this someone had no patent or the funding to acquire a patent, how could they get such funding without giving the design away?
I guess the majority of great ideas are shelved before they come to light “
Wow, sounds interesting and something I am personally familiar with. Without fully knowing what your idea is, here are my honest thoughts (not direct advice).
Answer #1: Yes, I would believe them! I personally know one person (very close to me) who has conceived this exact type of energy as your are describing, but hasn’t done anything past the drawing board stage, but has proven the concept in theory.
Answer #2: Legal protection at this stage may be putting the cart WAY before the horse. There are so many more things to be focusing on before you consider spending money on legal protection or letting that slow you down from exploring your idea. Just be certain not to share your idea. For now, that is the best way to protect it. Period. I’ll throw in some legal ideas in Answer #3.
Here are the real problems for anyone within this category of invention…
a) You’ll need tons of money if you are planning on selling or licensing the rights to your method of electricity generation. Tons! Not only to develop it, but also legally protecting it (if possible and if you choose to go that route), as well as the costs to legally defending it (again, if your objective is to create a new energy source that you own). Every country requires their own patent, that includes all the costs and defending it.
b) Ask yourself this… how would you personally make money on it? Who would you sell this to? Unfortunately the government in the majority of countries rule hydro creation and distribution. Even though it could be a fantastic idea and literally save the world, convincing and selling any government on it would likely be a painfully slow process. Also equally as difficult could be finding private investors because they too would be also looking for a way to make their money back on their investment in a reasonable period of time.
c) Is there a way to take your concept and make it accessible to the average person? For example, the TV show SharkTank featured inventors who pitched a product called Power Pot http://www.powerpractical.com (also see if you can watch that specific pitch to the Sharks). Their invention generates energy to charge electronic devices with boiling water and their adapter, which is a perfect solution for 3rd world countries, who surprisingly to me, had cell phones and tv’s to charge but would also be great for camping. Now, I’m not sure their idea is proprietary technology, however, they did figure out a way for their energy source to be used by individuals, making their concept a more viable business opportunity. In addition, it also provided investors with more ‘meat’ as to how they could capture a return on their investment and more potential direct customers for you. Mark Cuban did take that deal.
Answer #3: You COULD possibly protect your idea for a 1 year period by applying for a Provisional Patent and using a strong NDA, which would buy you some time to see if your idea can generate any interest for a fraction of the cost of a patent. (but please note, this is in no way a patent). Protecting an idea is way too involved for me to get into the details on, in additional to the fact that I am not a lawyer. Please note that our Inventor’s Action Program has 2 sections that thoroughly take you through the ins-and-outs of patents and how to protect your idea, as well as provides a digital NDA agreement that you can customize. Once you are well versed in your options, you could then contact a lawyer to investigate further.
Lastly, you’re right! Many great ideas are shelved before they come to light simply because people don’t know what cost saving steps they can take to explore their ideas or who to trust. That’s why our self-help, how-to program is a great investment. It gives people a chance to see on their own if their idea is a viable business opportunity, before they waste money in all the wrong places.”