Taking inventions from concept to reality can be difficult. In fact, it’s quite confusing. I’ve been down that path several times myself, and without help simple matters become daunting. Twenty years ago I attempted to go it alone and spent tens of thousands with a prototyping house, an engineer and more. Outside of finances, I also faced challenges when deciding who to talk to, how to patent and the path I should take when pursuing my inventions.
Thinking of these subjects, I compiled a list of five things to consider about your inventions.
1. Know the problems your invention will solve
Every invention or great idea aims to solve a problem. Everyday people recognize problems on a regular basis. Inventors choose to solve them.
Before pursuing your idea, clearly understand the problem your invention will solve. Does your solution work? Does your invention need a little help? Is it too complicated? Working with a trusted company that understands design and engineering helps clarify problems and reveal solutions.
2. Your invention’s market
Once you know the problem your idea will solve begin thinking of the market in which you invention would sell. Is it a home product? Maybe it’s an automotive invention? Will it stand alone in its own category.
Understanding your invention’s market, will help you in every step you take. You can now compare it to other products in that category and the companies that make those products. This will help you later when identifying a company you’d like to see license your invention.
3. Invention security
If you choose to disclose your invention idea with someone, whether it be family, an attorney or a company you hope to work with, security should always be on your mind. An inventor’s greatest fear is losing their invention idea to someone else.
The most dangerous times can be when you deal with an outside company to help you with your invention. Always ensure they have security precautions in place to protect you and your invention. Don’t sign anything unless it explicitly states it’s there for your protection.
At Inventionland we protect client inventions with a confidentiality agreement that every employee must sign. As well we make sure our clients sign an Idea Security Agreement with us. This is an extra layer of protection for their invention.
When dealing online, you should ensure it’s a legitimate company. Always look to see if they have established security systems. Some invention companies exist solely on the Web, lacking roots in a community. Before sending your invention information out, make sure you know they use a trusted secure server or security system like VeriSign.
4. Product sales sample – A working invention
I believe that a product sample is vital to the success of an invention. Without a product sample, you won’t truly be able to understand the invention’s function, manufacturability and you’ll have difficulty holding a business conversation.
Building the product sample takes good design work, engineering and prototyping, each of which can become quite expensive on their own. As well, jumping between these entities causes confusion that could damage the value of your invention. It’s much like the telephone game we played in elementary school with our peers. With each additional person speaking for you, your invention’s message gets lost. Keeping all these necessary processes together, keeps your vision aligned.new invention idea
5. How to patent
Often the first thing on an inventor’s mind when they finish their creation is how to patent. Perhaps a more pertinent question should be “When should I patent?” or “Am I really done inventing?”new invention idea
There are a lot of companies that push inventors to patent their invention idea immediately. Unfortunately, patenting is a costly and time-consuming process that far too often results in frustration when an inventor discovers they have to change their invention to either interest a buyer or make it manufacturable.
One of the reasons I encourage fellow inventors to prepare a product sample is to identify unique areas of the invention that further protect it in a patent. This also keeps competitors and those who may seek to knock off your invention at bay.