From the idea to the real world
Idea into Reality - So you have great visions, but more importantly, have come up with a great idea for a product or service. Hard work can turn your idea into a reality. To get your invention from the brainstorming stage to the store shelves, you need to consider:
- Are there other products that offer the same function or use are already on the market.
- How you'll finance research and development.
- Do you have the time and patience for a long process.
- Is there a potential for profitability.
- By attending tradeshows that feature products in the same industry as yours, you should inquire about the manufacturers that produce them.
- Don't go bosting about your great idea or invention and only share it with people you trust completely.
- If you're in the patent process, consider having all of your company employees sign a non-disclosure agreement. That way, if they leave the company, they won't be able to share your idea with their next employer — your competition.
- Documentation of your invention process with detailed dates and entries. If your patent is ever challenged, you'll need the documentation to back it up in court.
- Hold on to your prototype. You'll have to share it with manufacturers and patent attorneys, but make sure you keep possession of it. Prototypes are expensive to create and should be protected.
Research the market - Be sure your product or service is unique before investing a lot of time and money in it. If you're creating an entirely new product or service in the marketplace or simply putting a new spin on an existing item, your invention has to fill a need in the marketplace.
Develop a prototype - Developing a model of your invention streamlines the patent process and simplifies the search for a manufacturer. It's also a good way to work out design kinks and determine how much it will cost to manufacture.
We recommend: Find out why every inventor should develop a prototype before marketing an invention at IPFrontline.com. Create your first prototype and digital renderings of your product at AskTheInventors.com. Get help creating a working prototype, physical prototype or virtual prototype from an online invention services firm, such as InventionHome.com or InventHelp.com.
Patent your invention - Get a patent to protect your invention in the marketplace. Prevent competitors from stealing your idea and protect it for 10 to 20 years depending on the type of patent. Patent processing is very difficult to navigate through, you may want to consider hiring a registered patent attorney or agent to assist you.
Find a manufacturer and distributor - To begin marketing your invention, it has to be transformed from a prototype into a real-world product. An easy way to find manufacturers, is to attend tradeshows and interview potential partners about pricing, quality and service.
We recommend: An easy way to find a manufacturer for almost any type of product, look to the Thomas Register for a list of American manufacturers or the Thomas Global Register for international manufacturers. Learn more about the manufacturing process at InventionCity.com.
Market your invention - To get your invention from the manufacturer's warehouse to the consumer, you need to come up with a sales plan.
License your invention - If getting your invention to market seems like a lot of work, be patient. To lighten the load, consider licensing as an option. You actually hire other companies to produce and sell your product while you collect licensing fees.
We recommend: Find out how licensing works and find companies that are searching for products to license at AskTheInventors.com. Before signing any agreements with an invention marketing firm, learn what to beware of and don't get scammed by certain companies-search BPMLegal.com data base for potential scammers.