Whose Concept Was It, Anyway?

I saw a great article in the New York Times by Amy Wallace. The article is titled Whose Concept Was It, Anyway?  This is such a typical start-up story. It goes something like this:

Last month’s Prototype column about a company that makes reusable dry-cleaning bags-began: “Man or woman, every one on us has experienced the frustration that drove Rick Siegel to become an inventor”

The day it appeared, with a picture of Mr Siegel, his wife, Jennie Nogrosh, and their product, the Green Garmento, I heard from another Los Angeles inventor, Jane Wyler. She was plenty frustrated with Mr. Siegel.

It turns out that Ms. Wyler, whose company is called Reuseniks, met Mr. Siegel in 2008 when he and his wife approached her at a trade show. The couple told Ms. Wyler that they were blown away by her reusable dry-cleaning bag, the clothesnik. After buying two, they asked to meet to discuss investing in her company. Ms. Wyler opted not to team with them….and you know what happened next, right?

If you are an entrepreneur please read the entire article very carefully you will learn the merits of having folks sign a non compete agreement, some folks have different ethics than you may and most importantly; patent or no patent, market saturation is king!!

This particular product has no patent and perhaps Mr. Siegel was not completely honest with the author but he was able to get some massive publicity. In the end, the market will decide who has the superior product but there are great lessons to be learned by all of you budding entrepreneurs. Thanks for a great article Amy!

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