Independent inventors often underestimate the hurdles they must overcome in order to get their invention to market. Most don't even consider the government regulations and industry standards that could derail their attempts.
Take the case of Stephen Gass reported in the Oct. 10 Washington Post. Mr. Gass invented a device that he claims prevents power saws from inflicting severe injuries by stopping a rotating blade in fractions of a second. Sounds like a no brainer, right? But the power tool industry balked at licensing his invention. It even failed to win the endorsement of independent Underwriters Labs. Most inventors might give up in the face of such resistance, but Mr. Gass is no ordinary inventor... he's also a patent attorney.
A great case study to share with both experienced and first-time inventors.
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.