Have been getting a lot of discussion on this Excerpt from my Ebook “Common Sense Inventing” Thought it would be good to post here and see what you think and get your comments.
There seems to be a myth out there that all you need is a patent for the riches to come pouring in like a river. The next myth is that once your patent issues doors will open and companies will be begging you to let them produce your product. Nothing could be further from the truth. All a patent proves is that no one else has been granted your specific patent claims.
I need to correct myself; once your patent is approved you will be contacted by companies. There will be companies wanting to send you your approved patent on a plaque, coffee mug, mouse pad, t-shirt, etc, for a fee. Then another group of companies will want you to purchase their services to get your patented idea to market. No matter what your idea is some of these companies will claim that it WILL get to market. Have you noticed all of these companies are getting you to do what?…….spend more of your money?
In the real world a patent does not automatically mean you will get a licensing deal or have success manufacturing it yourself and make millions. Less than 3% of patented inventions make it to market, so your chances are high you will be in that 97%. The way to minimize your chance of failure is through proper research prior to attempting to get a patent. You may even determine that you don’t need a patent due to the size of your market or the length of time your product will be on the market.
An example would be if your product dealt with a certain event such as the 2016 Olympics. Once the 2016 Olympics are done for that time period would there still be the same high demand you had prior to or during the event? The answer is…. No. So, why spend thousands on a patent that will only be useful for a year or two? The patent you are ready to spend thousands on may not even be approved before the event is over.
You also have to consider that even though your idea is patentable is it an idea that the general public would purchase in mass. Let’s say you have developed a device that can change the texture of a toilet seat from slick to rough with the touch of a remote. While this is a neat effect how many people are going to remove their current toilet seat to purchase yours? You can’t assume that if there are 100 million toilet seats in the U.S. all 100 million of them will purchase your product. If you make that assumption you will be sorely disappointed and stuck with a huge amount of inventory.
Now, let’s imagine you have a device that will fit any model car, is less than $20 to purchase and allows the consumer to get 100 MPG and they can install it themselves in a couple of minutes with basic tools. This would be worth the time and financial expense to get it patented. You could also assume that the percentage of customers to buy your product would be higher due to the return on their investment for the consumer. You are saving them money on a reoccurring weekly expense which would prompt their purchase.
Many Inventors allow their emotions to get involved when they come up with their potential million ideas and forget that inventing is just like any other business. You need to make sound choices based on fact, not fantasy. Just because you want a product to sell does not make it happen. It has to be something the public wants, solves a problem, saves them time, makes something that is normally labor intensive easy, is enjoyable to the consumer or they have the perceived notion that it is something they have to have because everyone else has one. The more of these requirements you can match up the higher your chances of it being a success.
Stop throwing your hard earned money away. Do as much research as possible first and look at your idea as a consumer, not the Inventor before proceeding. Make sure you understand your target market, know your competitors product and know why yours is better. Because if your product isn’t better you are wasting your money, your time and need to stop before you even get started.