Great Idea? Don’t Wait for Patent

I was thrilled the day my patent was awarded but if I had to do it again…I’d go for being the first to the market and building customer loyalty! The patent system is broken and entrepreneurs may be wasting thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars. Want proof? Look no further than the recent Blackberry and NTP patent dispute.

NTP claimed that Blackberry (Research in Motion) was infringing on their patent for wireless e-mail. Their patent?-Ever hear of a guy called Geoff Goodfellow? Geoff is actually the person responsible for figuring out wireless e-mail and bringing it to the marketplace.Geoff was a high-school dropout and had the idea in 1982. He brought it to the market in the early 1990’s but the company failed and he moved to Prague. Geoff did not believe in filing for patents and never did.

NTP never mentioned Goodfellow’s work when they made their patent claims-even though they were aware of his work and actually hired him as a consultant. Bottom line, NTP should never have been granted a patent! And life goes on.

What great idea do you have? While I still believe it’s nice to have a patent I’m a bigger believer in bringing your great idea to market and establishing great customer loyalty that makes it virtually impossible for your competitors to gain a foot hold. When you have a great idea, I believe you intuitively know it! Don’t wait around too long for others to validate it go with your gut. I also believe that is what the book Blink! is trying to convey. Trust yourself and listen to that inner voice.

Good luck and much prosperity!

Steve Mertz
Geoff Goodfellow is My Hero!

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