Origin of the RennStand – Part 2
A Leap of Faith
After coming up with the original concept for the RennStand, I thought it might be a good idea to submit a patent application. I reasoned that if I needed a stand like that, then there had to be others that needed one too, and just maybe the stand would also be useful under other makes and models other than just Porsche 911s. Little did I know. However, at the time I didn’t know any patent attorneys, but I knew I wanted one based in the US for sure. I was on the other side of the Atlantic though, so meeting with various attorneys before I could make a decision on which one to go with was not going to be an easy task. Zoom wasn’t a thing back then, at least not to my knowledge, and I wasn’t exactly what you’d call tech-savvy either, so I didn’t know what to do at first.
Well, I was talking to a friend of mine back in the US and just happened to mention to her that I needed a patent attorney for a new idea I had come up with, and she told me she knew of one through a mutual friend. Hey, that was as good a reference as I was going to get, given my situation at the time, so I reached out to him and started the process. It’s been about a decade since, and I still remember the retainer being $8k, and I also remember holding the envelope with the check inside of it while standing outside of our local DHL office wondering whether this was a good idea. I mean that was a lot of money for us at the time, and twins on the way made it even scarier. I knew that no matter what happened, that retainer was going to get eaten up quick and that it would be only the first of many payments during the patenting process… if I would even be granted a patent, which was an uncertainty at the time. It was November 1st, “All Soul’s Day” as I hesitated outside that DHL. I finally said a prayer that things would work out, and that if it didn’t work out, that our family would still be ok, and I walked into that DHL and mailed that check off. I knew, at that moment, I had stepped into the abyss.
As I had predicted, the money kept going out, and things got tighter and tighter for us financially. We weren’t making that much in Macedonia, as it’s one of the poorest countries in Europe, but I had saved enough before leaving Austin that I was able to keep pursuing the project, but those funds wouldn’t last forever. Plus, I knew the design had the potential of evolving and that I would be, hopefully, filing more applications to cover those enhancements. I can tell you, after having been granted 4 patents, that it’s not for the financially faint of heart, but I’m moving too far ahead here. I still hadn’t received even a hint from the USPTO that I might be granted a patent, and there were many nights that I lied awake wondering whether I had made the right decision. Even if, by some chance, I received a patent, how would I go about building, and then marketing the RennStand… and would anyone even want to buy one?