Evaluating Your Motivations and Expectations as an Inventor by Smart Idea Store


Why are you doing this?  What do you hope to achieve and how will your investors, project partners and customers benefit from the development and commercialisation of your ideas?


There are innovation websites and invention marketing companies that practically guarantee inventors success.  Smart Idea Store does not offer any guarantee as we know from personal experience that few ideas make it on to the market and make significant money.


However, what we can offer you are the resources to identify great opportunities and develop novel ideas and a network of business professionals that will fund, develop and sell the commercial products that result from good ideas.



“None of my inventions came by accident. I see a worthwhile need to be met and I make trial after trial until it comes. What it boils down to is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.”

Thomas Edison, 1929



This famous quote from Thomas Edison illustrates several key qualities needed to be a successful inventor: insight, dedication and determination.  Whilst a bad idea will always remain a bad idea, the motivation behind Smart Idea Store is to redress the balance so that there is less perspiration required in developing your idea and that project partners are there to advise and assist in turning your good ideas into commercial technology.


Measuring Success


There are a wide variety of statistics that have been compiled to measure the likelihood of successful innovation:


485,000 patent applications were made and, assuming an average of 3 years between filing and granting, 244,000 patent were granted giving a success rate of 50%


US Patent and Trademark Office Statistics




“Fewer than 5 percent of those patents are ever produced in the marketplace.”


The Washington Times




“There are around 1.5 million patents in effect and in force in this country, and of those, maybe 3,000 are commercially viable,”


This gives a success rate of 0.2%.

Richard Maulsby, Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, 2005



Success Rate

Patent Granted


Product Launch


Commercially Successful


Table 1: Success Rates at the Various Stages of Innovation

The numbers derived are legitimate measurements of successful innovation but, as you can see, the values are quite different.  In fact, we could have given you a referenced figure for commercially successful ideas at 0.2%, 1%, 2%, 3%, 5% or 6%.  The difficulty is that defining “commercial success” is subjective.   Is it selling your idea?  Is it a specific turnover? A specific annual profit? Making more money than it cost to protect your idea and develop commercial technology?


The fact is that the measurement of the success of your ideas is only dependent on you and what has motivated you to have the idea in the first place.  Some inventors only want their ideas to be used for humanitarian purposes.


A famous example of an inventor with this outlook is Nikola Tesla.  Tesla tore up his contract with George Westinghouse, which earned him $2.50 for every kilowatt of power his patented AC electricity system generated, in order to break Westinghouse from the contract.  Westinghoouse owed Tesla $1,000,000 dollars but Westinghouse would have gone out of business in his battle with Thomas Edison who had a DC electricity system.  If the contract was still in place today, Tesla would have owned every bank note in the world and would make Bill Gates look like a pauper.  However, the driving motivation behind Tesla’s inventions was to make life better for everybody and he cared more about people benefiting from the electricity generated by his idea than making money.  In Tesla’s mind, his invention was an unmitigated success.


Smart Idea Store