People usually patent things to prevent others from stealing their hard work. The biggest magic names spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on new magic. Their tricks are crucial revenue-generating assets. Each illusion must break even and hopefully continue to generate profits. It makes sense to protect such a significant financial investment.
But there are other equally fascinating reasons to patent a trick. It might simply be a vanity project. Perhaps you want the world to know it’s your original invention. Patents are documented forever in the public domain. Maybe you intend to licence your trick to other industries. Theme parks and top companies will only pay the actual inventor.
I own a magic trick patent. The process was lengthy, expensive and also rather fascinating. For me, it was worthwhile in more ways than one. The patent paid for itself over time. We’ll dive into the details in a future post.
- Patents are expensive and difficult to acquire.
- You need to be able to prove you really are the inventor (not as easy as it sounds).
- There’s lots of legal nonsense, and the rules differ by country.
- You may spend tens of thousands of dollars and never be granted the patent.
- Patents are great deterrents but they don’t always provide the right protection in a legal battle.
- Also, every patent must be publicly listed for the world to see.
The public part is not ideal for magicians, but you can be creative about naming the invention and who you list as its inventor. Patent attorneys might suggest listing someone you trust as the inventor instead of yourself. This makes the patent more challenging for the press, public and magic rivals to search and find.