Every day across America, across the globe, thousands of new inventors have their first aha moment: an idea for a new invention to solve an old problem.
In March, 2002, I dreamed up an idea for a thin, flexible wallet to solve the ‘rump bump' problem. A flood of emotions washed over me from exultation (“this is a great idea”) to doubt (“I don't have much money”) to fear (“someone will just steal my idea”).
For the new inventor, everything converges into a single simple question: Now What? What you choose to do over the next month after your aha idea will have a huge impact on your chances to turn your idea into a successful invention. I wrote an e-Book that lays out a path forward in detail, but let's first look at what not to do, then what you should do.
Here are 3 Things You Definitely Shouldn't Do:
- Take your idea to an invention marketing company
- Immediately apply for a patent
- Tell all your friends about your idea
I have written many blogs about invention marketing firms and why most just bilk you out of limited capital for empty promises. While applying for a patent is a must (in my opinion) if you intend to market your invention for profit, it's not one of the first things to do before you know if your product is new. Lastly, gushing to your friends and colleagues all the details about your invention is a bad idea. By publicly disclosing your invention, you may severely limit your rights to file a patent, so it is best to follow Gandalf's advice: keep it safe, keep it secret.
Here are 3 Things You Should Do:
- Describe your idea clearly and concisely in your inventor's notebook
- Build a proof-of-concept prototype of your product as soon as possible
- Research everywhere to see if your idea is already ‘out there'
An inventor's notebook is a great place to capture the details of a new invention idea. Make sure to sketch out the product with approximate dimensions to clarify it in your head. This will aid you in building your first proof-of-concept prototype of your invention. Thirdly, do extensive research to see whether or not something very much like your invention already exists. The first two links in this blog provide much more detail on how to do this effectively.
Most inventors, especially new inventors absolutely hate doing extensive due diligence and research to see if their product is already in the public domain. The reason for the reluctance is obvious: if you search, you may find. Suddenly, your great flash of inspiration has suddenly flickered into darkness.
One of the most egregious financial mistakes an inventor can make is spending thousands of dollars unnecessarily. Filing a utility patent without first conducting extensive due diligence research may result in wasting $5,000+ attempting to patent an invention that, in reality, is not new. That is a very painful and unnecessary mistake.