The Inventors' Bill of Rights
by Harold A. Meyer, III
When in the course of human events and commerce it becomes apparent that
there is inadequate respect for inventors, a declaration to the world is
Inventors get shunned and mocked by industry. Prospective licensee companies
"low ball" an inventor with a percent and a half royalty offer. Big corporations
license an inventor's work and then sit on it, fearing that the inventor'
s great new product will undermine sales of the crummy one they have been
selling for years. A big company has an employee who comes up with an idea
for a breathtaking new technology which earns the parent company millions
of dollars; the inventor gets nothing Ford Motor Company's standard submission
agreement unconscionably calls for an inventor to permanently waive the
right to sue Ford for any reason, ever. Invention scam companies prey on
an inventor's desires to be successful, and, by fraudulently bleeding a
nascent inventor of assets, actually sour and worsen an inventor's chance
for success. Government makes adverse laws, regulations and decisions without
any input from independent inventors. Government taxes inventors with fees
to the point of abandonment from the financial unworkability of the startup.
These many negative forces combine synergistically to seriously discourage
and retard innovation.
ENOUGH! We inventors hold these truths to be self evident, that all
small entity inventors are not created equal, but are setup up unfairly
by their creator, the government. We herewith proclaim our national significance
and importance, even our necessity. The servitude and indenture to big
business and big government is overt What better time to declare our independence
and value than NOW! Inventors are critical to the economic health of our
nation, pure and simple. But inventors have long been treated as less than
key in the process. How did Intel become the #1 chip maker? Simple, through
multi billion dollar R&D budgets and INVENTIVENESS. How did Hewlett-Packard
come to dominate the multi billion dollar laser printer business? Again,
through dozens of patents and INNOVATION.
These success stories should be models for the government to reflect
on, to lean back in their big padded leather chairs, to gaze out over the
beltway and the Potomac River and to scratch their heads as they ponder
how to increase the power of inventors. After reflection, if they are not
able to immediately see the benefits of increasing the economic and social
capital made available to help inventors, here are a few suggested reasons
for its meaningfulness:
Consequently, we DEMAND:
We give the national economy its ability to have proprietary products made
here and cause foreign capital to flow to the USA and thereby help the
balance of trade.
We give the employer its vital products to manufacture and sell.
We give other employees the necessary products to make in exchange for
We solve specific problems We make the world LESS EXPENSIVE, CLEANER, SAFER,
FASTER, QUIETER, MORE EFFICIENT, MORE FUN, and BETTER!
We give the government its essential revenue from sales taxes, income taxes
and other taxes.
Just because our product is new and different, doesn't necessarily mean
it is not practical or not viable. We are not a cog on the wheel, we are
the reason the wheel is there in the first place. Please give us the dignity,
respect and fairness that we deserve. Thank you.
NOT to be taxed to death by the PTO filing fees, maintenance fees and other
PTO FEES (the "INNOVATION TAXES"). All "small entity" inventors are not
created equal. Due to a loophole, a true individual small entity inventor
pays the SAME "small entity" PTO filing and maintenance fees as MAMMOTH
"non-profit" institutions such as Harvard University which boasts a $6.2
NOT to be defrauded by all the phony "invention submission" "invention
promotion" and "invention development" companies. We will fight back. Attorney
Rick Martin in Longmont Colorado is leading the charge in a class action
lawsuit against one ofthe worst offenders, AIC/ AIRD of Westfield, MA.
ISC previously paid out over $1.2 million in consumer redress. Bob Lougher
of Inventors' Awareness Group in West Springfield, MA is educating inventors
about the scams.
NOT to be unfairly compensated by employers. As it stands now, an inventor
who invents something in the workplace loses the rights to his invention
due to "shop rights" of the employer. WE DEMAND new legislation which will
guarantee an inventor a minimum royalty of 2-3% for the value or profits
created by his/her inventiveness for the employer. The old pat on the back
and the 0% royalty from the big corporation isn't working any longer The
standard barely legal contractual $1 plus "good and valuable consideration"
is not good and valuable, it's a strongarm.
NATIONAL representation of true small entity independent inventors on all
legislative matters dealing with issues that affect inventors. The US Congress,
US Department of Commerce, US PTO and other agencies must be bound to give
independent inventors a representation. Right now, the large corporations
have their lobbyists and the small entity independent inventors have ZILCH.
The only sure fire way this will work is to have a law which mandates small
NOT to be stereotyped. We are NOT all: deluded, crazy, old, naive, without
business sense, ripe for being taken advantage of, etc. All of us do NOT
have frizzy white hair, operate on human subjects or periodically blow
up our laboratories with our arching electrodes. Many our products are
workable, needed, reasonable--EVEN EXCELLENT and MARKETABLE-- and our products
have as many different qualities as we possess as individuals.
©7/1996 by the author
(This article was quoted in part in the Dec. 1996 issue of IEEE's Institute
magazine.This article also appeared in Inventor's Digest magazine Nov./
Harold A. Meyer, III, 36, is Chairman of The Hook Appropriate Technology,
a performance based licensing, marketing and new product development company.
Meyer is past President of the non-profit group, THE INNOVATORS Guild of
Danbury, CT. He can be reached at: The Hook Appropriate Technology, 52
Bank Street, Suite A, New Milford, CT, 06776-2706 USA. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org,
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