By: Lyndol Hollingsworth
All my life I have been night blind. Unless there is some presence of light I cannot see my hand in front of my face in the dark. As fate would have it, late one night I was traveling home from a business trip on an isolated North Texas farm-to-market road when I had a tire blow out. I reached for my flashlight and was horrified to learn that the batteries were dead! Somehow, by feeling my way, I was able to change the tire and get home. That event led me to file a U.S. Patent back in 1988. Almost three years later I was granted a 13-claim Patent. With this U.S. Patent in hand I thought I would be rich in no time…was I in for a rude awakening!
With no source of guidance I made one mistake after another. My first mistake was waiting until after my Patent was issued to build a solid working model. If I had built one first, I would have discovered a few very important facets that would have turned into additional Patent claims, thereby strengthening my Patent.
When I finally got around to creating a working model, which by the way was equipped with an “on board” work light for nighttime use, I was discouraged at every turn because the tool I wanted to develop had never been perfected before. I was told by some of the best electric motor experts in the country that there was no way I could perfect the tool because its motor would not hold up to the rigors of driving a set of pneumatic impacting parts. I thought to myself…we put guys on the moon way back in the late 60s….I can certainly figure out how to build a motor that will make my tool work! Using the old trial-and-error method it took me about 18 months and six versions of the motor to prove that the experts were wrong!
My next hurdle was proving that the tool I had just created would hold-up under actual field trials or testing. Not having the financial resources to pay a third-party testing company, I produced test models and literally gave them to guys that I knew would put some hard use on them. After a year with no real problems reported, I realized that the tool was every bit as good as I had envisioned it would be.
While the tool was in the field testing phase I created a “bill of materials” or parts list using off-the-shelf components to create a “production” model. I also gathered cost estimates for injection molds (tooling) and specially machined parts. My plan was to gather enough hard information that when I got the chance to sit down with a prospective Licensee I could remove any doubts they had in regards to what it would cost to manufacture the tool, what its retail price would be and most importantly, how much profit per sale would be in it for them.
With all the pieces of the puzzle finally in place, I carried my working model to the Austin Business Journal, sat down with the editor and told him all that I had been through. As a result, a photo of me holding the tool appeared in the Journal along with my story. Shortly thereafter I was successful at creating a license then hired by the Licensee to completely develop the production model. After several years of sluggish sales, I decided to take the tool to the U.S. Army for testing. By being persistent, I was instrumental in helping the Licensee get a U.S. govt. contract worth millions in 2006. Unfortunately, my product license expired a couple of years ago; therefore I no longer receive royalties from these sales. As you can imagine, this was by far the biggest mistake I have ever made! I address how I could have avoided this from happening to someone else in my guide book!
In recent years I developed a second version (tool system) to help our fighting men in the Middle East. I am happy to say that some reports from Iraq and Afghanistan have indicated that my latest version may have saved lives by allowing flat tires to be changed in record time while under fire! As an inventor and product developer I could not have dreamed of receiving a better product endorsement !
Over the years word got around about my successes as an inventor and product developer. I cannot recall how many times I have been phoned by a friend of a friend asking for my advice. Unfortunately, once I get started, I can be on the phone for hours! A few months ago, after I had just completed a rather lengthy phone session, my wife suggested I put down in writing all my Patenting and Product Developing experiences in the form of a “guide book”. She figured…who else is better qualified to write such a guide book than a guy who started out knowing nothing about Patenting and Product Developing, then taught himself how to do it right not once…but several times and counting? She insisted, “if you had everything in writing you could just email it to who ever asked for it and be done”. She just didn’t want to miss another dinner engagement because I was on the phone bending off someone’s ear!
After giving it a lot of thought I decided to do as she suggested…. I finished my “guide book” a few weeks ago then created a website to promote it!
To learn more visit. http://www.yourideaintocash.com
Post time: 11-24-2016