On May 12, 2015, 9 years after my idea’s conception, 8 years after my first working draft of the patent, 6 years after Seed Law Group started working on my patent, and 5 years after my patent was filed for review, the review is over, and my patent was accepted!!!
To remind you, my invention is a new kind of yarn in which each skein is created to make a specific design, or two specific designs. For example, you can buy a spool that is designed to create the image of a cat on one side of the work, and the image of a mountain landscape on the other side of the work. Here is one version of this yarn.
My pretty little patent plaque lies atop a box of yarn, waiting to be hung somewhere special. It’s shiny and perfect.
It’s the cherry on top of 9 years of work & expense. So far, I have dozens of thousands of dollars invested in a combination of expenses from patent lawyers, patent filing, prototype materials, video editing software, and postage for packages sent to many yarn companies.
Before I explain my thoughts about the future, let me explain how I feel now.
Conceiving an idea is not always like having a light bulb turn on in your head. I would liken that to a sensation of one’s own brain cells or neurons working hard to fit puzzle pieces together until something snapped into place and “made the light bulb turn on.” This light bulb analogy indicates that the idea originated inside one’s own mind, through one’s own effort.
Sometimes, though, it feels more like the idea came to you, like a gift. Like balloons adrift in a light breeze. You happened to be the one who saw the balloons first. You reached out, grabbed them, and studied them.
You called them “yours.”
Can inventors really take credit for what they invent? Yes– of course, to a degree. But so often, it is not that you’re more creative than anyone else, or that no one else ever had a similar or same idea as yours. Rather, it can be that you’re the one who decided to catch the fleeting thought that was crossing your mind, hold onto it, and not let it go. Study it. And for that– that open-minded tenacity and stubbornness, and the bravery to open Pandora’s Box– an inventor may certainly take credit.
How many people, before Michael Faraday, had the fleeting thought of objects floating gently in the wind, being the same weight as (or lighter than) air? Maybe many people. But so many surely pushed the fleeting (or “floating”) thought from their heads, thinking it was unrealistic, too difficult, or even impossible. But like plucking a balloon from the air and holding on tight, Michael Faraday grabbed the thought, and worked until he brought the idea into reality.
[This picture is how I feel!! I have my balloons in hand!]
So I have caught my balloons. I have figured out what makes them float, and I have patented the “science” of them. I can create them, and they can fly. And, for the next twenty years, they are “mine.” (Now… the psychology behind why “mine” feels so good is a discussion that mothers of toddlers can spend hours on, and it is also an intense evolutionary and religious study. But let’s just keep it very simple and say– It. Feels. Good!)
I feel like the patent shows both the world & myself: Look what my imagination can create!! and also Look at those balloons fly! (Or, look at how amazing this yarn is! Look how it all comes together!) …But I remember to recognize what a blessing it was that those thoughts flitted into my mind to begin with.
Now. What does one do once obtaining a patent? One sells her product, of course!
This may be easy for someone who is business-minded, or a natural entrepreneur. My challenge is that I am neither of those things. I think I can say that new ideas & invention come easily to me, and I take great joy in these things. But, thinking of an idea is very different from producing & selling an idea.
So, I’m starting with the simplest (and most fun) method of marketing; Social media:
I’ll admit that as of now, September 2015, I don’t quite “get” Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Snapchat… but I’m learning!
YouTube is one of my very favorite pastimes. I like to say that my hours of watching are part of “researching” how to make a good YouTube video. I’ll list some of my favorite channels in an upcoming blog.
In sticking with my balloon analogy, one could say that my balloon (my idea) no longer has to be clutched so tightly, nor pinned to the ground. With the patent, it can take flight, taking me along for the ride. Now I only need to learn how to steer it, and decide which direction to go.