By: Tim Fulton, CEO & Founder – Ramper Innovations
We’ve all had those “AHA!” moments, when we awaken at 3 AM from a feverish dream with a great idea. Assuming we remember to write it down, the next question always becomes what to do with it.
In my case, the simplified system for loading and unloading an airplane, ships, other modes of transportation, and within other industries, led me on an adventure not unlike Alice’s adventures in the looking glass.
I knew I could build a system that could be used in grocery stores, warehouses, distribution centers, and hundreds of other places with the need to move items from point A to point B…and with limited space to actually do so.
For me, the result was called TISABAS; an acronym for Tim Saves Backs.
My team and I built a prototype to prove it would work as envisioned. Then, to save a few dollars we tried doing the patent search ourselves (BIG mistake!). We debated whether to use one of those invention marketing companies (DON’T! They’re all scamsters, regardless of what they promise you. Trust me on this one.)
We learned our invention had to be at least 20% different from anything else in the marketplace to be patentable. The difference between design patents and utility patents (utility patents are better, more solid, and longer lasting). And we dithered about whether to use an intellectual properties (IP) lawyer or to have the Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) research our patent application.
After many hours of heated discussion, we decided to have the PTO do the work, reasoning they were going to do it anyway as part of the process. This allowed us to cut out the middleman, saving both money and time.
It took over two years from start to finish, but I couldn’t have been prouder when patent #10486905b1 was issued in 2020. Knowing that a patent was the height of creativity to my dad, I envisioned him looking down on us with a big smile on his face as we heard the news.
Retroactive to the date we filed, our patent is good for 20 years. We’ve since found additional applications, improved the system, and now have provisional patents in place for use in the robotics, welding, and other non-traditional markets. These also will extend protection of our ideas even further.
The bottom line: Don’t let that EUREKA! moment slip by unnoticed. If you believe in your idea, pursue it.
Push yourself beyond your comfort zone to get your ideas out there. You’ll learn new things, potentially make money or start a new industry, and change the world for the better.
And remember what Mom always said; Nothing ventured, nothing gained.