Patenting: Getting Started With An Idea

How do you initiate a patent?

There is not really a follow through process to getting a patent, however you should first know what your market it, and the latest in technology related to the product. You should ask yourself the following questions and research the answers.

  1. How does the process or product work and will it work efficiently enough to replace the currently used ideas or products?
  2. Who will use the product and how much will they be willing to pay for the product?
  3. How dififcult will it be to manufacture the item?
  4. What will the manufacturing cost be?
  5. What will be the marketing plan be? How much of a markup will marketing take?
  6. Will it be copied? Is this product worth patenting?

Answering just one of these questions and assuming that all is well with the rest is not the right thing to do. Its best to answer them generally, but answer them all then go back and get more detailed infromation received from thorough market research later.

All of these questions need to be thoroughly investigated, and assuming you have the answer may cause you some severe future financial loss. Most inventors believe their item is the best and that everyone will want it, but that cannot really be determined unless it is thoroughly investigated. Market research of this nature can be expensive, however not doing the proper research can result in even more expense and an ultimate failure.

Isn’t my invention supposed to be a secret?

There are rarely any ideas that are totally unknown. Most patents are improvements on old ideas, or it is a solution to a well known problem. You can start your market research by asking questions about the product in current use and what are the problems it has and what solutions people have given to it. There are also other steps you can take while keeping the new invention secret. In fact, a totally new invention can bring a whole set of issues you may have never given thought to, and creating a need for such an unknown product may be so difficult that it is impossible, and terribly expensive.

Most inventors believe in their product and believe that everyone will be as enthusiastic about the product as they are, however this may not be enough for a successful invention. If there has never been a similar product, then there has not been a market for it either. This means people dont know they need it and may not be willing to try the product right off the bat. Now, if its a product that everyonewants then there may be another issue– people only want things they know about, so it may not be patentable.

People that invent tools, machinery,or an industrial product usually can do a market research project easier. They knowwhat the new invention is going to do and whatit is going to do for people. They also have a better idea of manufacturing cost and benefits.

Do your research

You really need to know what other similar products are and how much a patent will help you. You especially need to know if your patent significantly differs from other products currently being used.
Do your research on the web. Look for companies in the industry and see what they have done.
Research any other pending patents for similar products. Talk to a specialized attorney or patent agent.
Visit your local library and ask to see trade magazines that deal with similar products, and look through industry directories.

Create the prototype

You should have an actual product that works. Most inventions take two or three tries to get a working model, however when faced with a working model you leave no room for doubt. Just to get a patent the inventor has to be able to show the invention or describe it well enough that someone else can replicate it. This is probably the best reason a prototype should be made that can be tested. Of course, if the manufacture of the prototype is going to be so expensive that you have to find outside investment then you probably want to see if you can get patent protection before building it.