Being an inventor is not as easy as it may seem. From having an idea to putting it into practice and then selling it, the entire process can be nerve-wracking, as well as time-consuming. You might think it’s really profitable, but how much do inventors make in fact? This is a complicated question with an even more complicated answer.
Truth is, making money or not depends on a huge number of factors. It depends on the manner in which the inventor wishes to make some profit, on the success of the idea, on the other competitors out there, and so on.
Inventors that Didn’t Make Any Money
Not patenting the invention, even though the product is successful, can actually make you not gain anything at all. Such is the case with the following inventors:
1. Sir Tim Berners-Lee
He is the inventor of a widely used product nowadays, namely the World Wide Web. He built the first website back in 1991 at CERN. Despite the fact that almost everybody is taking advantage of his invention, he didn’t patent it, so there were no royalties.
2. Laszlo Biro
Yet another example is Laszlo Biro, a man who patented the ballpoint pen back in 1938. He did get a patent on his invention but sold it in 1945 to Marcel Bich, who created the famous Bic company.
3. Mikhail Kalashnikov
He invented the famous AK-47 weapon in 1947, with statistics showing that since then, there were more than 100 million assault rifles produced. He claimed he invented it for the good of his country and never claimed a patent. The design was patented by the official manufacturer later on, in the 1990s.
How Can Inventors Make Money
Now that you’ve seen it is possible (and quite often found) not to get any profit with your invention, it’s time to look at the possibilities. Besides asking how much do inventors make, you should also think about how they make money.
1. Selling the Patent
Just like Laszlo Biro, any inventor can sell the intellectual property patent. This means that you won’t be able to access any royalties or other commercial opportunities related to the product. For this reason, the amount for which patents are usually sold can be quite high.
2. Licensing the Invention
If you license your invention, this means that you are still the owner, but others have the right to make, use or sell the product. There are exclusive licenses for one party or non-exclusive ones for more parties. It can be defined by a time limit or not. The most important thing is that you can charge royalties for each unit that is sold, which is a good investition.
3. Do It Yourself
If you want to be an independent inventor, you have to take care of every aspect: production, selling, marketing, etc. It’s not an easy task, but at least you can get help separately. For example, you can hire a marketer to help you sell, which would be easier. The main advantage of this option is that all the profit gets in your pocket.
However, there are still some happy cases of inventors who found their way on the market. Let’s have a look at some of them:
He is the inventor behind the Strida folding bike, among many other products. His MAS Design project consists in lots of inventions. Of course, not all of them were that successful, but the bike managed to get some millions of sales.
She is the one who created a business out of a simple invention of blackout blinds. Her blinds are special because she choosed to use a particualr material that doesn’t let the light come in. Moreover, she won lots of awards and made quite a profit with her business.
As such, we have seen that there is no easy answer to how much do inventors make. There are many factors that influence this result and, contrary to the popular opinion, patenting it is not always the answer.
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