Granville’s nonfiction debut provides advice and extensive resources for innovators of all stripes.
The author, an accomplished inventor, begins this very specialized business book by discussing the ramifications and controversies of the America Invents Act. After it was signed into law in September 2011, the act revamped the nation’s patent system. The law was intended to expedite a backlog of approximately 1.2 million inventions and change the process from a “first to invent” to a “first to file” system, similar to other industrialized nations. This change denies private inventors a grace period which previously allowed them to sell their product before applying for an expensive patent. Many inventors feel the new law favors large corporations who have the resources (and legal departments) to take advantage of the revised patent process. With this in mind, Granville spells out the obstacles and requirements for private inventors, including various ways to take legal action. The author looks at the six common legal structures available to small businesses and sheds light on entities such as low-profit limited liability companies (L3Cs)—socially beneficial for-profit businesses. Although the author’s references to government agencies, websites and software applications are invaluable (as well as her chart listing what can and can't be patented), she seems to rely a bit too much on the Internet for her information. The book also sometimes states the obvious, as when it advises readers to “visit your local library for resources.” That said, the book does highlight an important fact: to start a small business, one has to be willing to take risks. Not only does it cost a lot of money, it’s “the equivalent of a full time job,” and according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “half of all small businesses fail in the first five years.” However, Granville also provides readers with advice on how to craft an exit strategy.
A handy, encouraging step-by-step guide to getting a product, idea or business up and running.