Expired patents may have great innovative potential combined with newer techniques of today.
Not many people are aware of the fact that the Klondike Gold Rush in Northern Canada and Alaska in 1896 resulted in only some 4000 people finding gold. The other 96,000 went away empty handed, and many poor souls died of exposure in the biting cold. So, it is not without significance that10 years before that in 1886, South Africa that became the scene of the greatest gold find of all, which continues to this very day. The early mining excavations started from the surface. However, as mining progressed, they found that not far down, the gold was embedded in the rock and could not be recovered by simple panning. The work came to a grinding halt. Men were put off work, and the situation became desperate.
This was also the coldest winter in living memory, which devastated the ranchers of the American West. Deep snow drifts kill hundreds of thousands of cattle, causing farmers to leave the land and seek their fortunes elsewhere. It was in this social climate that gold fever found its frenzied roots.
But ONE MAJOR thing changed the history of World mining practice:
It was an American mining engineer who discovered a good use for a seriously dangerous poison, in that cyanide could be used to extract the precious metal from the sedimentary rocks that it had been clinging to for millions of years; and what he discovered, caused the situation to change almost overnight. (He took out a patent for the process, and became fabulously wealthy.) In fact, the whole nature of gold mining changed, in that its mining could not easily be pursued by individuals, because mining now had to be carried out by large corporations. The great mining houses of modern times were born. That pioneering, innovative spirit is what sets the world alight, and it still lurks in the US Psyche today, just to be rekindled. Still, the dream of Eldorado persists and is still pursued by individual men and women.
What lesson should lie in this for us in our own lives TODAY?
Well, in just that – in the PATENT Offices! It was in the late 1800’s that the individual in Charge of the US Patent Office declared that: “We might as well close down this office, as it is not likely that any new ideas will present themselves in the future!!!!
Your BATTLE Plan.....
I must URGE you – TODAY if possible – to rush down to your local Patent Office – I am not sure what it is like in YOUR Country, and it is very likely that it is all on computer files. Here is SA, it is all STILL on ledger files. You just pay a SMALL fee – about $5 and this is an Open Sesame - the cornucopia of ideas waiting there is opened for your fertile imagination to work on.
You MUST have some sort of plan though, because there is SO MUCH available, that it can be very confusing. On my first visit I felt like an single male in a nubile den of gorgeous ladies, and not able to choose where to start.
The Secret in a Coke Can!
Right at the start, I found it interesting that Coca Cola has a Patent on its Coke Cans here, but with a BIG difference: There is a vertical tube running through the can, and when you crack the can open, the contents immediately become cold. Think of the benefits of THAT one! No Fridges, cold drinks in the middle of the desert……Can’t understand why they took it no further. Coke has some 15,000 patents worldwide.
Look for EXPIRED Patents in a field where YOU have some knowledge
But what we are ACTUALLY looking for, are the REDUNDANT Patents. This is usually after 20 years, or they may have neglected to renew. I was lucky--because I am experienced and qualified in the Mining Industry, I was able to hit PAY DIRT very quickly. The first one involved using a Chemical called Calcium Lignin Sulphonate (Sulfonate in the US) and did some research as to where it could be found in this country.
I was astonished to find that a company on our South Coast – called Saiccor –was throwing it away - disposing of it by running it into the sea! At that time we quickly contacted them, and they were more than happy to sell it to us for 14 cents a litre (about $0.01) – we found a market, and made a substantial amount of money out of it before the BIG corporations cottoned on.
There is a BIG LESSON to learn from MY Mistake
We made a costly mistake in our enthusiasm because we demonstrated the use of this chemical in dust control in PUBLIC, before taking out our OWN Patent. Not taking something from this stupid error of judgement, we did the SAME thing AGAIN – we found an old patent for making glass-fibre cement, and demonstrated it in an open day. Needless to say, a FEW WEEKS LATER, somebody else was making a fortune! So, my advice? SHUT UP until you have a plan!
What should the overall lesson be if we want to make money this way?
Well, the lesson lies again in history: There was an old Australian prospector, named George Harrison – his name was legend pre 1900 in SA – to this day one of Johannesburg’s City streets still bears his name! He looked all over the place for his fortune. His tools were a pick, shovel and wheelbarrow (this may stir memories of the bags used by the legendary US Carpetbaggers – who, after the Civil War, the carpetbaggers from the north tried to take over the south)
He dug a DEEP hole in the veldt west of Johannesburg, did find some gold, and had some success. But then he moved on. Can you just imagine him trundling off into the sunset with his old wheelbarrow clattering over the rocks he had excavated?
Similarly, this theme continued with others in life – (what FEW of US do in our life quest is to dig just ONE FOOT down mentally) to where the MAIN MOTHER LODE was then found…..the richest Gold Strike the world has EVER KNOWN! That is called PERSISTENCE – it is there in life for ALL of us….take that ONE step further – in the Patent Office lies YOUR NIRVANA my friend – a place of complete bliss and delight and peace. Go for it!
Rudyard Kipling said it all, very succinctly, in his famous poem at about that time – “If” :
“If you can make one heap of all your winnings,
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss……”