Starting an inventor course on the 22/10

Inventor course

I will give a course on inventing for inventors. I will NOT attempt to teach you HOW to invent, I will teach how to improve your inventions, protect and monetize them.

This will be a twelve meetings course, each meeting to last two hours, given every other week, in the evening, in the Tel Aviv area. The first four meetings will be lectures on what I think inventors need to know about patents and about monetizing inventions.  The next four meetings will be exercises in creating and writing up inventions. The last four meetings will be brainstorming during which we will create inventions and then work out how they are to be sold.  The course will also provide some experience in selling ideas. I will limit meetings to 10-15 participants.

Course outline

Part I

First four meetings –lectures

  • Patents – what you should know.  What is a patent, inventors and owners, the importance of the body and the claims, provisional patent applications, PCT application, continuations, and continuations in part.  How to work with a patent attorney, (or without one), What does it mean to infringe a patent? Patent examples and common mistakes to be avoided
  • Patent ethics and aesthetics.  Ethics of patents, pros and cons of the patent system (and some silly patents).
  • Value from patents.  A variety of options for making money from ideas – how ideas can be sold, as is, when it makes sense to patent them, how patents can be useful to companies and the reverse direction of generating patents specifically to increase the value of companies. Choosing which route to market makes more sense depending on the idea characteristics.  What to do with ideas in academic settings. How patents can contribute to your career and possibly to your bank account. This may be less relevant to people inventing within a company but very relevant to people who have stakes in companies.
  • Searching and inventing.  Setting up the exercise part – how to get from problem to solution and why good problems are so valuable.  How to find an area to invent in, how to find when, and what to do if an idea is not new, and how to expand ideas.

Part II

Four meetings dedicated to exercises – In this part of the workshop, participants work in groups of three or four and go through a process in which they create a patentable idea, develop, search, enhance, and evaluate it. The main goal of part II is to generate several patentable ideas, and discuss, for each of them, how one would try to get value out of them. The exercises, a meeting each, will demonstrate the importance of communicating the ideas, improving them, and also discarding them.

1. Inventing

Create a patentable idea using brainstorming techniques. The domain will be likely based on a client request.

Discuss how much value it has, how you would go about making money out of it, and the preferred route to market.

One person will move from the original group to another group for Exercise 2.

2. Enhancing

The “immigrant” explains her original (inventing) group’s idea and the new (enhancing) group tries to understand the idea to brainstorm refinements for it.

Look at the value and route to market, try to improve.

Write out the idea and route to market.

Each enhancing group sends the summary to another group—the evaluation group—but does not talk to them.

3. Evaluation

Understand the enhancing group’s idea and try to improve it.

Look at the value and route to market, try to improve.

Decide and explain why the group would buy it (or not) – for example if sold as a patent, would you buy it, idea, start-up…  as group in exercise 2 suggested.

4. Summary

Each evaluating group explains the idea they evaluated, its value and merits

Inventing and enhancing groups comment on any ideas they had the evaluation group did not understand.  Each inventing group explains how they came up with the idea.

Instructor’s evaluation of the idea, the process it went through and comments for the three groups involved in the idea.


The last four meetings (maybe we will start before), will be dedicated to brainstorming, writing ideas and selling them.   There will be homework at this stage where at home you will need to write and provide feedback on invention disclosures written by others.

The brainstorm meeting will be done in 2-5 people groups, and I expect that each session will result in a number of ideas.  The homework will be to search, create disclosures, and submit them to a customer by the next meeting.  This will be achieved by a number of email iterations.

Expected outcome

Participants in the workshop will gain practical knowledge of patents, will be familiar with multiple routes to market for ideas.  Participants will try to sell multiple ideas raised in brainstorming to clients, some of which as main inventor and some as contributors.   The sharing of revenues, if any, will be equal between each inventor of the ideas sold.


I will not be charging money for the course, but to join it, to show seriousness, you will need to donate 1000 shekels or more to a soup kitchen of your choice, or environmental cause of your choice (I donate to, or to Avi-Beshvil Israel (, and show me the receipt.

Dr Shmuel Ur Bio

Dr. Shmuel Ur ( was a research scientist in the IBM research lab in Haifa, Israel for 16 years, where he held the title of IBM Master Inventor. Later, he became an independent inventor (working with Intellectual Ventures and start-ups). Shmuel taught software testing in the Technion and Haifa University. Shmuel taught, both inside and outside IBM, various software engineering disciplines giving day- to week-long courses on the topics of coverage, code review, and testing and developing concurrent software. Shmuel has also consulted with banks and companies as to how to improve their software development process.

Shmuel received his Ph.D. in Algorithms Optimization and Combinatorics in 1994 in Carnegie Mellon University under Michael Trick and Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon. He received his Bs.C. and Ms.C. from the Technion in Israel. Shmuel has published in the fields of hardware testing, artificial intelligence, algorithms, software testing and testing of multi-threaded programs. He founded and chaired PADTAD, a workshop on testing multi-threaded applications and the Haifa Verification Conference and was on program committees of many conferences. Shmuel has more than 60 professional publications, more than 70 granted patents, more than 170 patent applications, has sold more than 50 ideas, invented more than 50 patents for customers, and has given numerous talks and tutorials.

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