I know there are more were all smart at halfbakery so lets make money ideas on HB than you can poke a stick at, but bear with me.
The question is: How do you match up the people who invent stuff with the people who make stuff? Essentially the people who invent stuff want to sell their invention
to the people who make stuff i.e. a market.
Like any marketplace the buyers want as many sellers as possible (bigger range of products) and the sellers want as many buyers as possible (more buyers means more chance of selling product at higher prices). The obvious solution for this is an open marketplace.
Now Halfbakery is about as open an ideas forum as youll find, but theres no market. There is no (obvious) mechanism for potential buyers to secure the rights to the inventions of the inventors.
Whats that you say? We dont own the rights to our inventions; we forego those rights the moment we post on Halfbakery.
Actually, a peculiarity of US patent law says its first to *invent* not first to file; the inventor then has 1 year to file a patent application^.
So this is how the ideas marketplace works:
-We encourage the businesses to keep an eye on halfbakery.
-When they see an idea they like, they contact the halfbaker and offer them a negotiable amount (say a few hundred dollars) for the opportunity to file a patent application with the halfbaker as one of the inventors.
-The business, then goes off and spends the next year developing the seed of an idea into a full (US) patent application.
-Then business profits!
Why wouldnt the business just take your idea and patent it without payment/permission?
Because of the potential of the invention being found not novel in light of your halfbakery idea. This might seem fanciful, but I assure you *any* published document (even websites like halfbakery) which discloses an invention can be used to reject a patent (although it can be argued that the publication is not an enabling disclosure i.e. light on detail).
To show that we mean business, we might need to get a bit pro-active, by advising patent examiners when patent applications appears to claim over material already disclosed on halfbakery (patent examiners usually only check patent databases even though theoretically they can check all published documents). If enough patent applications get rejected on the basis of halfbakery ideas, companies will get the message.
Anyway, the good thing about this idea is halfbakery can keep on doing exactly what its doing now, with the (admittedly small) potential of making a bit of money. It might even encourage more quality ideas to get posted.
Ok, now you all can tell me what a crazy idealist I am.
^A variation on this idea, (for non US citizens) is to file a provisional application at the national patent office before posting on halfbakery (usually pretty cheap; a mere $80 in Australia).