I often get emails and messages that look something like this:
“Hi Natalie! My name is ____. I’d really like to ask you some questions. I have this idea for an invention…and I’m not sure what to do next…”
If you have an idea for an invention, don’t let it just become a passing thought. See what you can do. I know I didn’t want to look back one day and think, “I should have pursued that idea. Why didn’t I?”
Here are 3 important steps you can take to get started with an idea:
1) Do some studying
No seriously, get ready to hit the books. 🙂 Try to learn as much as you can about developing a new product. It is extremely helpful to have a base of knowledge about things like patent law and licensing before you approach potential partners. I went to the Columbus library and took out every book they had on inventing. I recommend one book in particular that became my “go-to-guide” – and that was From Patent to Profit.
2) Start with doing a product/patent search
Search online and in stores for anything like your product idea. Many people think that if they can’t find their idea in the market, nothing like it exists, and no one has ever thought of it. Wrong. Eventually, when I did a patent search with my patent attorney, there were dozens of patents that came up in the search as possible conflicts. After reviewing the search results, your patent attorney can advise – but not guarantee – if it’s worth it to apply for a patent and if he/she thinks your idea may be patentable. The final decision will be with the patent examiner assigned to your case at the USPTO. (I could go on and on about the patenting process, but I’ll stop there!)
3) Learn about other inventors and study “how they did it”
Research other products and the people who invented them. When I started, I’ll admit, I became somewhat obsessed with researching every innovative product I saw (on TV, in stores, wherever). I would google each one to try and found out who was behind it and what they did to get it to production. While every product has a different path to get to market, you can learn bits and pieces from every story and implement strategies that make sense for you and your idea. Not only was it inspiring to read about other inventors, it was extremely helpful in figuring out what steps to attempt next.
I thought this blog would be a great way to share my experiences and tips about inventing. More to come on similar topics.
I love to hear your thoughts and comments…