Invention Book Review: One Simple Idea by Stephen Key

one simple idea

One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work

The author, Stephen Key, offers a very direct and simple guide to how to license an idea without going through the entirety of the often complex and expensive traditional patenting process, while still attempting to obtain some level of protection for your concept against poachers and interlopers. He relies on his own substantial track record of successfully licensing over 20 different products over three decades and successfully getting a good number of them sold by major retailers and obtaining celebrity endorsements.

Part of the method he describes in One Simple Idea ($13.73 at Amazon) involves filing for what is known as a provisional patent, at a total cost of only $110. He takes you step by step through the process, and makes it clear th at if you are at all competent and literate, this is something you can do on your own, without incurring gigantic legal bills.

One Simple Idea is filled with real life “war” stories from his own experience, which will rapidly inspire many to develop further the new ideas already percolating in the back of their heads. He makes it clear that a licensable idea does not have to be one that turns the technological world upside down, but often can merely be one that adds valuable new features, uses or capabilities to existing products.

Stephen Key also emphasizes the realistic perspective that, unless you are very lucky or have come up with that incredible once in a lifetime concept, you need to try to develop several or even many innovative ideas to finally develop a few that are readily licensable and that will generate substantial licensing income.

He focuses on the characteristics that make an idea marketable and valuable and presents a few methods of cre ative thinking to try to come up with such ideas without the need for an engineering degree or a major machinist’s workshop.

One Simple Idea is a well rounded book with sections on how to promote and pitch your idea once you have developed it and obtained some measure of intellectual property protection for it. Stephen Key even goes into what kinds of provisions to include in your licensing agreements and a number of common pitfalls to avoid. The book is clearly one for beginners, but that’s a good thing, as we were all beginners once. What he does not do is talk down to you or makes the contrary mistake of thinking that some things simply need no explanation, an error all too many such introductory books on the subject make.

The book contains a valuable appendix listing some readily available resources which ultimately can be a tremendous time saver. The overall length of 256 pages winds up seeming just about right, as the author does not pad it out with empty fluff, instead getting right down to the heart of the matter with an economical writing style that is easy to glide through.

One Simple Idea is available at Amazon in both a Hardcover and Kindle Edition