The Worst Invention Introduction Letter Ever Written
The following letter is a real introduction sent by an inventor to the President of a very successful consumer products company. It is an outstanding example of what NOT to write if you want to succeed.
To: the C E O
My name is Nathan
Every few years or so I get the urge to try and find someone to help get my ideas to market. This is the first time I've ever tried the net, I put in the key words "new inventions wanted" and found over fifty-thousand sites to choose from and I know that somewhere out there is an honest person who can help and sooner or later I'll find him or her. Now in the past I have written to a lot of companies that claim to help get my ideas to market but most just want me to send them money for a "product evaluation" which turns out to be a form letter or are only willing to give 5% of the profits for my idea if it is excepted. Yes, in my younger days I did send my ideas to many companies in hopes of getting a fair deal. In most cases I never heard from them again, but I have also gotten letters that said my idea was not marketable. Then to make matters worse to walk into a store two or three years later and see my idea, that I had sent to a company that was supposed to be specializing in marketing new ideas and said my idea was "not marketable," sitting on the shelf for sale. Don't misunderstand me I know that I'm not the only one in the world with an original idea, but I have seen a lot of my ideas for sale in stores and can't help but think some of them were mine first and I got screwed.
Having said all that, you should know that I will only give up my ideas after I get what I want first. And so if you are one of those companies set up to rip people off or expect me to settle for less than half of the profits for my ideas PLEASE DELETE NOW!
I put over 30 ideas a year down on paper and over the past 20 years I've seen at least 50 products that I had already put on paper five or six years before I ever saw them in the store. All of my ideas have a specific consumer group in mind and most, but not all, of my ideas are simple things to make my life easier. I think if I can come up with ideas to make my life easier others may think so to and be willing to buy them. I have the ideas, what I need is an honest partner that has the capital and business know-how to go from drawing to a product on the shelf. So if you are honest and are willing to meet my terms or know someone who will please e-mail me at (info deleted) if not please don't. At these point in my life its my way or no way. I would rather none of my ideas get to market then take less. Keeping in mind that time is running because I'm going with the first person to give me a contract that will guarantee me the following.
My basic terms are:
I want to deal with the company C E O only. I want 20 thousand dollars in cash upfront to see 5 ideas (one tool, one household, one novelty, and two outdoor). If you say no to my ideas and use them anyway you agree to pay me 10 times what the idea makes on the market. If you like my ideas you pay me One million dollars as a signing bonus plus a weekly payment of Two thousand dollars for a period of five years. All patentable ideas are to be in my name. Final approval on all materials used. You pay all fees to get my ideas to market. I want 50% of all profits for the life of each idea (and by profits I mean after all development costs are totaled and that money is recouped for every dollar above that amount we divid equally). Now you may think I'm asking a lot but, I think my ideas will be each worth 10 times that and if only half of my ideas sell you'll be very happy you met me. As far as the money I want is concerned it's part of the development cost so it comes off at the other end, and if you don't have the capital to meet my terms how can you ever get my ideas to market.
For a better understanding of what's wrong with the letter above read the article Money and Inventing.
Here's an example of a good introduction letter:
Dear Product Manager:
I have developed an invention that can quickly gain your company meaningful market share in _____________ (product category). 35 of the 40 end users (whatever is close to the truth) surveyed with a prototype said that they strongly preferred my invention over the _____________ (product name of closest competitor to the company you are writing). My invention incorporates patentable features that will give you a long term competitive advantage and enable your company to make an excellent return on investment. I am seeking to license my invention exclusively. A prototype is available for review. Please contact me to discuss putting a non-disclosure agreement in place so I can share more detailed information.
Thank you for this opportunity.
If a US Patent has been issued (or if an application can be viewed online) you should include the patent (application) number. Likewise if you have a website where the invention can be viewed you should provide that information too.
Contact should always begin with a Product Manager, if there is one, rather than the President or someone in the legal department. Initial contact can also be made with a phone call that essentially covers the same information. Follow up phone calls are always a good idea.
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