January – 2019 – Newsletter

The newsletter of the Institute of Inventors and Innovators

The next III Gauteng branch public meeting will be WEDNESDAY 16th January  2019, 19:00 for 19:30.

We will visit the “Made in Workshop” Our speaker will be Henry Levine – CEO. He will show us around the facility and tell us about the services available to you.


Richard Johnstone is a Behavioral Economist and he posed the question Why do most inventions fail? (In South Africa). At first glance this may seem a simple question, but it would be difficult to provide an answer. We would all like to know the magic formula for success, or perhaps simply, which ideas are likely to fail.

Richard began by discussing why it is important to study this question, he considered three factors, firstly identification of the problem. He presented data published in 2018 showing numbers for who lodges our patents. Individuals are top with 1820; Companies 1606; Universities 246; Closed Corporations 233; Trusts 96 and Research Organizations 63. Regarding gender, 91% are lodged by males. The overseas success rate for SA inventions is Research Organizations76%; Universities 60.6%; Companies 30.9%; Individuals 28.4%. This clearly illustrates the fact that individual inventors do not receive adequate export support from government.

The macro reasons for failure are: –

  1. Legal implications:
  2. SA does not conduct substantive examinations before granting patents. b. False sense of success. c. Quality and value implications?
  3. Data:
  4. Lack of data. despite section 10 of the Patents Act, which appears to require the recording of such information in the register of patents.
  5. How can you identify a problem if you can’t measure it?

There are countless of reasons not presented here that need exploration.

The micro reasons for failure are: –

  1. Lack the platform to test and receive honest feedback from the market:
  2. Result:
  3. Seek information that confirms our inventions validity.
  4. Overly optimistic.
  5. Who keeps Invention companies and prototypers honest?
  6. Incentive to promote “bad” inventions to make easy money.
  7. Planning – implementation gap.
  8. How do you acquire business expertise to get your product to market?

Richard proposed a strategy to improve the success rate for inventions and to improve the way patents are managed. From his research he concluded that there is poor collection of information about our patent process, which in turn makes it difficult to determine where improvements can be made by the Patent Office.

On the makro scale he identified poor patent law and lack of patent data as problems.

On the micro scale he identified the lack of feedback which might link inventors with markets. Similarly, the gap between inventors and funders could be improved if there were a channel in place to share information, and to review the inventions on offer to help develop ideas which the market will want. These he suggests could be served via digital platforms.

Finally, he questioned the recognition given to large industry in the current investment drive but little attention to small emerging businesses with potential for future growth. You can probably relate to much of this yourself.

The venue is  “Made in Workshop”, 65 Maria Street, Fontainebleau,  JHB. 2159. See directions below: – Tel. 083 269 2195. Parking is on the forecourt.

This is a very interesting place to visit. If you are an inventor who likes to build proof of concept models or prototypes you will find modern and useful facilities in an excellent environment which you may utilise as your own.

Members and visitors welcome as usual, we look forward to seeing you at our meetings.


Click here for Google map or the old fashioned directions: – take republic road; Maria Street crosses Republic Road just south of the Rabie Road junction..


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III – The home of inventors. A non-profit organization controlled by inventors, supporting inventors. Telephone: 011 487 1536 Address: 18 St. John Rd. Houghton. Email: info@iii.org.za website: www.iii.org.za Supported by the Industrial Development Corporation.

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