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Have you ever had a great idea and wondered what to do with it?

Posted on: 25 August 2011

How do inventors get rich?

Unfortunately not many of them do. Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and the Wright Brothers – they were all world famous inventors, but none of them made any money. They didn't take the right steps.

Only a small percentage of inventions are successful - 9 out of 10 never reach the market. You can learn how to pick winners...

Here's how to get started:

1. Keep a notebook about your invention from the time you had the idea.

You should start a diary from the first moment you think of an idea.  Then you have proof of the date of the invention, just in case someone else is also working on the same idea.  Keep rough notes of the design, research you did, test results, and other background information.

2. Build a prototype

It’s not easy to sell an idea – People like to see things and touch them. Build a prototype or working model if you can – no matter how basic it is. Even better if you can test it out or demonstrate it.

3. Get the right help at the right time.

It is unlikely you will find anyone to build, test, patent, manufacture, and sell your invention and then send you a big fat check for a million pounds. Your idea needs to be developed through several stages of the invention process.  It’s helpful if you can get an independent and objective opinion about your invention before you spend too much time and money on it. We can provide this service at Consultants Online

4. Estimate your invention’s chances of success

You have to be positive and determined about how great your invention is, but keep your grip on reality. We have a simple Idea Tester at Consultants Online to help you decide if the invention has a chance of success << Click Here >>. Don’t remortgage your house to generate cash for your invention until you’ve done a simple return on investment calculation.  What is the size of the market? How many can you sell and at what price?

5. Keep your invention secret

Do not disclose your idea to anyone if you want to take out a patent otherwise it cannot be patented. Your invention must not have been: Made public, demonstrated, sold, talked about with friends or tested where someone has seen it.
When you show or talk about your invention, it is important that you make sure the person you are dealing with treats it with confidentiality. It might be worth drawing up a confidentiality agreement with the people you are planning to talk to.

6. It’s already been done!

You don't want to end up infringing somebody else's patent. Your invention must be "novel" over the "prior art" to be protected by a patent. "Novel" means "new" and "prior art" means other patents, published research or white papers, articles, or other publications. If something similar to your invention has previously been described by someone else, anywhere in the world, you might have problems patenting it. You can do a search << Here >>

7. Do I need a patent?

There are arguments for and against getting a patent. Some experts suggest not spending the time or money on a patent, but instead taking your invention straight to the marketplace. Only a fraction of patents make money. If your invention is a very simple item you might want to consider that approach. Keep in mind that it is not easy to enforce your patent once you do it get it. There are no patent police, so it's up to you to find out if anyone has copied your invention. You may have a legal battle to prove that you really were the first with such an idea and that someone is infringing on it. Unless you have plenty of cash to spare, this is often not practical. See Protecting Your Idea

8. You don't have to exploit the invention yourself

You could make money by licensing somebody else to commercialise your invention. This gives them the legal right to manufacture, use, sell or import your patented invention. Licensing a patent could be the easiest way to generate extra income for your business.
Some products can be protected and then licensed with a combination of a patent, a trade mark and a registered design.

9. Who is interested in your invention?

Create a list of potential manufacturers or customers who may be interested in your product. Aim for a list of at least 50 or more. If you want to license your invention find manufacturers by looking trade journals for similar products used in similar applications. Visit product related exhibitions. Use Google and online manufacturer databases to search for companies that make products that do the same thing as yours.

10. Start Marketing

Once you have decided you can protect your invention, send a marketing letter to each company on your target list. Say that you are willing to consider selling or licensing the patent rights to your invention. Try to include a professional looking brochure and a website address connected to your product. A short one-page promotional data sheet with photos, that describes your invention and its benefits, should be included with the letter.

Mike Warren


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