Selling an idea and waiting for lottery-like winnings to arrive at your doorstep seems to be the American dream. It is certainly the dream of every inventor, and it is a dream fanned by late night television commercials that suggest all you need is an idea companies will be falling over themselves to pay you for the rest of your natural life for the right to use it.
It all sounds too good to be true! Well, that’s because—in its most simple terms—it is. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a kernel of truth to the story. There’s just a little more to it than suggested by those late night commercials.
Let’s begin with a simple question: Can you sell your idea for profit? The short answer is yes, absolutely. And, if you come up with the right idea, you can make a very handsome profit. But there is a bit of a catch (or problem really). The problem (or catch) has to do with the definition of what qualifies as an idea worth paying for and what qualifies as something too vague to be worth anything.
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