Kickstarter Hopes and Dreams

Many of you are aware of a company called Kickstarter.  It’s probably one of the most well-known crowdfunding companies in the news today.  Its simple premise makes dreams come true for many entrepreneurs (“creators”) who are rich in ideas (“projects”) but relatively poor in capital, or perhaps more precisely, capital they are willing to risk.   Essentially, publish your reasonably developed project on its website and solicit funds from the populace at large to turn your project into reality.  You need to set a funding goal and if you reach that goal – Kickstarter takes a very small percentage of the funding as compensation.   Usually, investors are enticed to contribute to a creator’s project through promises of being paid back for their investment with a widget or unit of service of whatever the creator’s project produces.  It’s a simple and seemingly effective system whereby everyone wins.

Recently however, Kickstarter has added a new requirement for projects; a requirement which seemly indicates that some projects have been presented to the public which were too heavy on dreams and too light on reality.  The new requirement is a question which a creator must answer before teaming up with Kickstarter and reads, “What are the risks and challenges this project faces, and what qualifies you to overcome them?”  In reading some of the feedback on the Kickstarter blog there are some who feel such an inquiry is a cold wet blanket to innovation…while others seem to welcome it as a means of separating the wheat from the chaff – metaphorically speaking.

Time will tell whether such project self-proof screening will be good, bad or otherwise for Kickstarter, but at Cramer Patent and Design we felt the question was worth bringing to the attention of our inventors.   To put the question in our terms – what are the risks and challenges associated with bringing your invention to fruition?  What qualifies you to overcome these risks and challenges?  There are of course as many answers to these questions as there are inventions.  However, some general principals pertain.  Firstly, risks and challenges to the inventor are mitigated by securing intellectual property rights through obtaining a patent, trademark or copyright.  The challenge is of course obtaining this legal protection.  However, not obtaining legal protection is the risk because legal protection helps protect your invention or idea from potential infringement or unauthorized use or publication without compensation.  Secondly, what qualifies you to overcome these risks and challenges?

The simplest answer is that no one knows your invention better than you.  Therefore, you are in the best position to address any questions we might have while pursuing your legal protections.  Ultimately, the answer to both questions is that in addition to your intimate knowledge of your invention you have demonstrated an appreciation of the risks and challenges and the acumen of how to overcome them by teaming up with Cramer Patent and Design.  This last answer may read a bit self-serving but in truth we would not be here without you – the inventor who understands the “risks and challenges”.


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