Fourth Grade Inventor Success
Inventors Trade Shows Produce Results
Can attending the right trade shows mean the difference between success and failure? It can. Let’s look at a good example of what a trade show can do for you. [Read more…]
Can attending the right trade shows mean the difference between success and failure? It can. Let’s look at a good example of what a trade show can do for you. [Read more…]
Searching provisional patents is not possible because first they are not published and second they are not even opened and evaluated until a utility patent claiming priority on that provisional patent is applied for. Standard non-provisional utility patents also aren’t published for 18 months so you also run the risk of a utility patent being filed that you won’t know about in a typical patent search. What are the consequences for inventors as they evaluate what other patents have priority under the United States and most International countries first to file rules. The consequence is that there is always some uncertainty as to what other patent applications might be in place with the Patent Office which could affect your ability to patent your idea.
Inventors’ Game Plan in Response
Crowdfunding is changing inventors approach from licensing to starting their own company
First-time entrepreneurs get million-dollar boost from Shark Tank, QVC and T2 Design. Here’s how…
Inventors are evolving into savvy entrepreneurs, risking capital and sweat equity to take their products directly to the marketplace, often with the help of crowdfunding and TV shows.
With hard work and determination first-time inventors are generating millions of dollars in retail sales. “Inventors are no longer content to invent and seek licensing deals; they want to become inventor entrepreneurs. This new entrepreneurship trend for inventors has been made possible by the new economies created by crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo as well as the massive benefits to small businesses of ecommerce sites like Amazon, Ebay, Etsy and even Instagram.
Add that to the popularity of television shows like ‘Shark Tank’ and ‘The Profit’, and there definitely has been a tipping point promoting startups and home businesses,” states Paul Berman, president of T2 Design, an invention and prototyping company in Santa Monica, California.
QVC celebrity Lori Greiner and her “Shark Tank” inventors featured on the “Queen Latifah Show”
T2 Design clients Marc Newburger and Jeffrey Simon invented the “Drop Stop”, a patented device that prevents cellphones, make-up, keys and food from falling into the gap between the car seats and the console.
These two inventors worked with T2 Design to launch their new product. With modest but respectable sales, this smart tenacious team presented their product on the ABC hit TV series “Shark Tank” and Lori Greiner, known as “the Warm Hearted Shark,” made a deal to invest in their company and take “Drop Stop” to the masses. The two inventors now regularly appear on QVC TV selling thousands of “Drop Stop” car accessories each time they appear and Greiner made it possible for their product to be sold on the shelves in over a thousand Wal-Mart stores across the country.
Attorney Ken Spencer became an inventor when he solved a persistent problem for lawyers, judges and jury consultants across the country, by developing a unique, patented jury selection organizer kit.
The “aha moment” came to him when he watched a high-powered litigator fumble with his notes during the critical period of jury selection known as “Voir Dire”.
Spencer went to T2 Design and Prototype to develop his invention “The Jury Case.” Within months of manufacturing the product, an employee of the Emmy Award winning television show, “The Good Wife,” starring Julianna Margulies, contacted Spencer requesting to use “The Jury Case” product in a pivotal opening scene of an episode.
This product placement showcasing his invention to millions of viewers has increased the visibility and credibility of the product and now lawyers across the country are going to his website http://www.JuryCase.com to purchase his invention.
Pat McLemore, a devoted father of three, born in St. Louis, Missouri, invented the Treemate Tree Toppers, a product line of universal and improved Christmas tree toppers, that eliminates the tilting and falling over of tree toppers.
Inventor launches “Treemate Tree Topper Stabilizer Kits” for Christmas trees.
There are Treeemate Tree Topper Stabilizer Kits for real or artificial Christmas trees. McLemore developed his prototype and set up manufacturing through T2 Design Corporation and with his wife of 24 years launched a website http://www.amerrierchristmas.com to sell his invention and other inspirational holiday products.
Professional fitness trainer, Kappel LeRoy Clarke, who set an amazing record throwing a 106 pound kettlebell continuously on the 2.7 mile sand stretch between the Venice Pier to the Santa Monica Pier, has invented the new fitness product “Stumps”, so that amateur and professional athletes can train on a multi-level set of platforms to improve their strength, speed, agility and balance, all while “Stumpin”.
Crowdfunding helps develop “Stumpin” a new sports & fitness equipment invention.
In addition, Clarke used his record kettlebell throw to raise awareness and money through an Indiegogo crowdfunding seed money campaign in order to develop his first prototypes for his unique sports and fitness invention.
Clarke worked with T2 Design to develop and perfect his workout invention and soon Clarke will launch his website http://www.GetStumpin.com and start another crowdfunding Indiegogo campaign to manufacture his product. “Ive learned that transforming someone’s physique is simple…Creating unique, empowering experiences can liberate a person from themselves,” Clark stated. “Stumpin” can assist people in their quest for positive change…real change that starts in the mind. An action-oriented mind. A performance mind.”
Paul Berman, president of T2 Design, who holds a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Michigan, stated, “I’ve developed hundreds of prototypes for inventors and there is a definite trend now for inventors to pursue crowdfunding or equity investment to start-up their own companies to launch their new products.”
“Five years ago approximately 75% of my clients pursued licensing deals, now over 75% of my inventor clients aspire to start their own companies to manufacture and distribute their unique products.” The ultimate goal for some inventors may still be licensing the invention or selling their start-up business, but entrepreneurship seems to be a critical step in the process.”
Another as-seen-on-TV “Shark Tank” success is the new clothes freshening product line called the Reviver, invented by Ben Kusin. Ben, a Texas born inventor, was determined to solve the annoying problem that many professional encounter, which is the lingering odors such as smoke or pet smells that cling onto clothing during the work day.
“Shark Tank” Lori Greiner invests in “Reviver” a clothes freshener invention.
T2 Design worked with Ben to develop the prototype for his invention, as well as a line of applicators for the product. Ben brought in his brother, Eric to manufacture and distribute this patent-pending product line Reviver odor swipes. The disposable product line includes the Sparks Clothing Swipe, the Smoke Swipe, the Reviver Swipe for Dogs and Cats, and the Spark Clothing Swipe infused with pheromones for him and her by Reviver.
Quickly, the Kusin brothers sold over a million dollars worth of product, online and at convenience stores, pet stores and casinos. On ABC’s TV show “Shark Tank”, the brothers pitched to Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, but it was the “Queen of QVC” celebrity, Lori Greiner who invested $150,000 for 15% of the company, and now Kusin’s invention, the clothes freshening product line, is being sold at thousands of stores across the country including Walgreens, 7-Eleven and Petco.
“Stores and consumers are constantly looking for innovative new products that solve day-to-day problems, but you need to work out the kinks before you go to market,” Drop Stop inventor Marc Newburger exclaims. “Early on in the inventing process, we went to Paul Berman at T2 Design with our prototype after seeing his amazing work with other inventors on the TV show “American Inventor.” Newburger’s business partner, inventor entrepreneur Jeffrey Simon adds, “Paul worked extensively with us to make our product retail ready.”
“Many of my inventor clients tell me that TV shows like ‘Shark Tank’ inspire them to pursue their dreams and become inventor entrepreneurs. It’s an exciting new trend for inventors that the internet, television and crowd-funding has made possible.”
T2 Design has been designing and prototyping inventions for over twenty years and works with inventors from idea, to design and prototyping to manufacturing. “Consultations are done over the phone or in person,” stated President Paul Berman, “Inventors find us from all over the world at http://www.T2design.com“.
Finding sales reps is the first step in setting up a sales rep network. A sales network is one of the most cost effective ways to start selling regionally, nationally or internationally. Expect sales reps to take a 5-12% commission, but for inventors starting out selling their product, this is much cheaper and more effective than trying to hire, train and motivate his or her own sales employees.
Sales reps bring with them expertise, experience, industry knowledge and many contacts within the industry–all things that you need to succeed. Additionally, while stores will buy from anyone, they prefer fewer vendors, so sometimes being an inventor with one product makes it difficult to get into retailers. But having sales reps that already sell to your target market means that many of your target stores already buy from your rep and can add a new product without much hassle. Also when adding new stores, your reps won’t face the same resistance that a one product inventor faces since they carry other products.
There are lots of reps, but you need to know how to find them. Follow the below steps and you should be able to locate plenty of reps.
Trade Magazines and Trade Shows
Locate the leading trade magazines and trade shows for the industry. If possible attend the trade show, go to booths with complementary products and see if they have reps or maybe the booth is even run by reps.
Subscribe to the industry trade magazines and in the new product sections, send away for information on complementary products and when you receive the sales literature, see if there are local reps names included. Talk to the rep and see if he or she knows additional reps.
Trade Association Websites
Sometimes industry trade association websites have lists of reps. Gales’ Book of Associations, found at most larger libraries, and Internet searches should be enough for you to find industry trade associates.
Also check out manufactures sales representatives directories such as MANA, Manufacturers Agents National Association.
Buy a List If Necessary
If you are having a hard time finding reps, or if you don’t have time to find them, you can buy a sales rep list of certain industries from onestopinventionshop.net (available here: http://onestopinventionshop.net/books/sales-reps/) or they can compile a custom list for you. More info here: http://onestopinventionshop.net/services/finding-sales-representatives/
Talk to Other Inventors
When attending trade shows or other industry events, network with other inventors and ask them if they know any good reps.
Preparing a manufactures’ rep agreement
Before you start contacting sales reps, you want to have a manufactures’ rep agreement ready in case they are interested. You can find a sample manufactures representative agreement on the Internet, have one done by an attorney, or you can get a sample agreement from us, customized for your situation for $75.00. Contact [email protected] to request an agreement.
There are many particulars in the agreement that you will see in samples that you find in libraries or on the Internet. The main thing for you to be prepared for is to expect to pay a commission of 10 to 12%.
Prepare rep materials for a mailing
Having great materials for your rep mailing is key to success. You need to let reps that you have a hot new product, that you are running a professional and serious business and that you are ready to do all it takes for your product and your reps to succeed.
The literature should include sales flyers, price lists, stories and testimonials. You should offer samples, list your web page, and include info on manufacturing capabilities. Discuss marketing support, i.e. ads being run, trade shows you will attend, PR efforts, and other support. Offer information on sample policies, consignment or guaranteed sales for new customers, and co-op advertising programs. Also include what reps will receive for promotional materials, sales materials and samples.
You need professional looking materials so the reps know you mean business. If your mailing looks like it was put together by a fly-by-night company, it is unlikely you will attract talented and experienced reps.
Sending out the mailing
Send your mailing only to 10 to 15 reps to start. Then call them up and see if any of them are interested in your line. If not, check to see why they are not interested. You may need to make some changes in your package.
If your first mailing didn’t go well, make changes to your package and send it to another 10 to 15 sales reps and again call them up and if they are not interested, find out why. Keep on doing this until you know you’ve got the right mailing materials. Then make a larger scale mailing to all of the reps on your list.
When sending out your mailing, don’t send the contract, but have it ready if someone is interested.
Interviewing the reps
If a rep is interested, make sure you ask him or her a few questions to make sure that he or she is really the right rep for you. Here is what should you look for:
Reps should have complementary lines. For example, if you have a new style of backpack for camping, you want the rep to have other outdoor product lines for the same market.
Driven to Succeed
You want a hungry rep. Selling new products can be hard, so you want a rep that is ready to go out and give it his or her all. The best reps are ones that worked for another rep agency and then started his or her own agency and is anxious to build up sales.
Successful Track Record
Check that the rep has taken on other new lines successfully over the last two years.
Impact of Your Product
The rep needs to believe he or she can make at least $10,000 or $15,000 with your product. If they can’t make that much, it is unlikely they will support it for long.
The rep has to have the technical knowledge to properly represent your product. This doesn’t apply to all products, just ones that have a technical or scientific nature. For instance, if you have a chemical product, you need reps that can intelligently and understandably talk about how your product works and answer questions possibly of a technical nature. They don’t need to be chemists, but at least have a basic understanding.
Buy lists of Sales Reps
Industry Insiders Can Give Your Product a Quick Start
Inventors will have a far easier time striking a deal with a marketer or distributor when they have a strong supporter inside the potential partner company. You want to find the supporter early before you make any formal sales calls. The contact can then help you fine tune your presentations to the company’s needs. They will also advocate for your project inside the company, urging management to move ahead with your offer. Typically you want to find either a regional manager or a marketing manager to help you.
You don’t need to go with your hat in your hand when working on an inside contact, they actually gain as much as you do when they present the project, in fact it is a win-win situation for them. If they bring the project to the company and the company successfully introduces the concept, the inside contact looks like a real go-getter that is helping the company advance. If the project doesn’t go through, they still look like a go-getter, an image that will help them at some point in their career. The following steps will usually get you an inside contact with a potential partner company.
Show Consumers Want Your Product
You should always start by showing that you have researched your product and that it has broad consumer appeal. You should start ideally by showing how you are a user of the product. You show other people want your product with observational research which shows why they want the product, and comparative product research which shows they prefer your product to others on the market.
One type of observational research consists of just watching end users use the product, noting each step the user takes and then asking the user why they do every step. This is the type of research that many consumer giants such as Procter and Gamble use regularly. If you observe four or five users in action you will notice that they experience, and compensate for, different drawbacks to products or services, drawbacks they may not even realize exists. If you ask people about how they are compensating, they will either affirm that is a problem, or explain it is not a problem. You want to be able to say that a high percentage of the people you observe have experienced the problem your product solves.
This process simply asks buyers or end users to evaluate your product against three to seven other products and then asks them to rank the products or concepts both by value and by likelihood of buying. It is useful to do comparative research for both directly competing products or services that achieve the same purpose as yours and for other products or services of a similar type that a company or consumer might buy.
For example, with t he Garlic Twist, a new more effective way to prepare garlic for cooking, you would buy every other product that also prepares garlic for cooking. Then, if the Garlic Twist cost $8.00, you would also obtain four or five other kitchen items, with a cost of $4.00 to $12.00. Make sure that some of the products are strong sellers, or your research won’t matter much since no one wants any of the products you are comparing yours to. For effective comparative research, don’t tell the participants what product is yours.
To start research, just find 10 to 20 people to review all the products. Ask them to rank the products on how likely they are to buy it, with “one” being the most likely to purchase. Also ask them to rank the products by value, with “one” being the most valuable product. You should be able to determine if people are likely to buy your product, and what is the price point they would buy it at. If people place your product’s value by products that are $4.00, then that means its value is about $4.00. Prepare a graph report on your findings to show potential contacts.
Finding Industry Salespeople
Every market and industry has sales people who are usually knowledgeable and very helpful. The best way to contact sales people is either to meet them at trade shows or trade associations or to simply request product information. When you read trade magazines, you’ll notice that they have extensive new product sections, or in the case of service businesses, new services that companies want to promote or sell. Request information for any product or service that is listed in the new product/service section. You are not necessarily interested in the information about the product or service but in the name of the company contact that will typically come on a letter that will arrive with the literature. You can then call up that contact and ask questions such as how their product or service is sold, who are the most important companies in the market, what are the new market trends, and which companies have had the most successful new introductions. You might also ask a contact that is especially helpful if you can contact him or her again in the future.
Other Potential Helpers – Trade Associations and Chambers of Commerce
Many industries or markets have trade associations which are groups of people, including retailers, distributors, marketers, and purchasing agents. Trade associations work for the betterment of companies in the industry. They have volunteer committees of members who do most of the work of the association. You can learn about an industry by joining an association and volunteering to be on committees. Marketing committees can be especially helpful for a new entrepreneur since they typically have volunteers that are in marketing for their own companies. You can find trade associations in Gale’s Book of Associations, which can be found at most large libraries.
Local Chambers of Commerce have monthly meetings and you should try attending at least one meeting in your town as there may be contacts that can help you. Chambers of Commerce frequently have people who like to help new businesses and some Chambers have active mentoring programs that can give you a sounding board for your project.
Everybody always talk about the importance, and as a patent agent I agree that patents can be crucial for inventors in order to cash in on their inventions. But patents have their drawbacks and inventors should know what they are.
Here are some of the facts you should know before moving forward
Despite these negative facts, the pros of a patent are powerful and usually dictate an inventor should strongly consider a patent
If you are low on cash, considering getting a provisional patent first. America’s patent system is now a first to file system. A provisional patent can get you an early priority date in the event someone else files a similar patent. Then you have time to go out into the market place and see if your idea can sell.
Look at the home page of www.onestopinventionshop.net and notice the search box. Put market research into the search box and you will get several articles about how to do market research.
While you are there also check out our patent page http://patentsbydondebelak.com/
How are you planning on selling your product? In retail stores? Through the internet? Licensing? On TV? These are some of the options that most inventors consider, but there are many more options that you probably haven’t even thought of.
There are so many different ways you can sell a product that the list would be without end. In this article we will explore just one of those options: building a non-traditional sales force.
A traditional sales force would involve either independent sales representatives, who often represent your products and other related products from other companies, or an on-staff sales force, ranging from one person to a whole marketing department. While these are the most standard types of sales forces, you may be more successful using something a little different.
Let’s look at a couple of examples:
Greg Gharst’s father, Tom, got tired of holding up an umbrella to keep out of the sun at his son’s soccer games. So while Gharst was still a teenager, he started developing an umbrella stand that could be fixed into the turf and wouldn’t blow over.
Gharst worked at the fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. for three years to earn enough money to pay for a patent, and starting learning how to set up manufacturing overseas. When everything was ready, he decided to go for a different approach for sales.
Gharst’s mom actually suggested the idea. Most sports clubs are short of money and don’t have a real good way to raise money. Gharst’s mom suggested that he offer them a no-investment, no-risk proposition to sell the umbrella stands. Gharst now offers sports clubs the opportunity to sell stands, umbrellas and bags and keep $5 from every item sold. He provides all the inventory and anything they don’t sell they can return.
So how is it working? In 2008, they sold about 20,000 stands. The umbrella stand sells well because once people see the stand in action they understand it, and often they want one too. Once a team starts selling the stands, all the parents on the team are exposed to it, plus all the parents on all the teams they play against! This gives the umbrella stand great exposure all while helping sports teams earn a little extra money at no-risk to them. It is a win-win situation for everyone!
Although you can also buy the stands (plus umbrellas and bags) from his website, http://umbrellastands.com, most of the sales come from his alternative sales force.
Here’s another great example:
While Andy Goetting and Tyler Price where in college, they came up with an idea to turn a bed into a couch with an inflatable cushion. Their idea became the Slouchback, http://www.slouchback.com. The idea was, with limited space like in a dorm room, you could quickly inflate the Slouchback (which acts as the back of a couch, complete with arm rests and cup holders) and when you were done you could quickly deflate it and put it away.
Goetting and Price realized that setting up marketing deals with colleges and universities would be a great way to reach college students, and they have already set up such deals with Stanford and Roger Williams Universities, but they have also decided to pursue a less traditional sales force: college students.
Goetting and Price are setting up a network of college students who will sell the product. These students would of course have a product in their room, be able to demonstrate it to all their friends, and seeing the product in action, many of the friends will probably want one of their own.
As you can see, there are many more ways to reach customers than through stores, TV and the internet. Any organization or person that comes in touch with your potential customers can be a sales channel. Or, in cases like the Slouchback, your customers can also be your salespeople.
If you are considering using a less-than-traditional approach in sales, ask yourself a few questions:
What is common to all of my target customers? For instance, with Gharst’s umbrella stands, his main customers are parents or grandparents of athletes who perform in outdoor events. What do they have in common? They are all in contact with a sports team due to their child or grandchild’s involvement in that team.
This doesn’t have to be an organization. It can be an event, a publication, a website or a geographical location. For instance, Goetting and Price’s main customers are college students. What is their common factor? They all attend college.
While a non-traditional sales force isn’t a good fit for every product, for some products it is the key to success. Other times it is a great addition to your marketing arsenal. Who can sell your product?
Best Provisional Patents clearly outline what your invention is, provide drawings and covers as much ground as possible, even listing disclosures and specifications that will lead to multiple patents later on.
The Internet seems to be full of provisional patents for $149.00 or some other very low price. These prices work because no one looks at a provisional patent until they evaluate a utility patent application that looks at a provisional patent for priority. So if your provisional patent is not done correctly you won’t get a priority date. Which means if someone else files for a patent on a product with similar claims to yours, they may be first to file and you won’t be the first inventor to file and probably will lose ability to patent your idea.
Your provisional patent needs to have a detailed description and in most cases drawings to clearly show your invention so the patent examiner will feel you have possession of your invention. If you fail to show you have possession of your patent your provisional will be worthless. This detailed description should be written very similar to a standard non-provisional application.
Getting a provisional patent application number is of no assistance unless your patent is done right. That is why you are better off using a patent attorney or a patent agent on a provisional patent. http://onestopinventionshop.net/services/patents/ No matter how much information you supply the patent agent or attorney, they will need to rewrite the Detail Description and the Summary of the Invention for the provisional patent, and probably have patent drawings completed. Be sure to ask for a copy to review before the provisional patent is sent off.
Drawings in a Provisional Patent Application
Your disclosure in a provisional patent need to explain the invention. Drawings don’t have to be to the same standard as a non-provisional patent, but they should include numbers for each component that goes with detailed description. I also like to include a Summary section on how the invention works.
You need to be sure you don’t limit your potential patents deriving from a provisional patents by using any closed ended language. Phrases like “consisting of these features” are limiting in that only that combination of features can be patented. Since often you are getting a provisional patent first in order to do some market testing leave your options open. Instead of consisting use phrases like comprising components similar to, or “comprising in one embodiment of “are much better.
List Many Embodiments
An advantage of the provisional patent is that you can end up with multiple patents using the same provisional patent patent examiner to apply for multiple patents when you file for a utility patent, but your provisional patent can, and should, give you the most flexibility for what final patent you want to apply for.
Get all these steps right and you will have all the best features of a provisional patent, with strong priority you can use in case of any dispute on priority for your invention.
as a priority date. List as many embodiments as you can think of, all with open-ended language in your patent. You will have to be more specific in your final patent, but listing as many possibilities as you can is permissible in a provisional patent.
Method of Use Description
Patents can be either product based or method based. For a provisional patent it is a good idea to include a method of use description that would qualify for a method of use patent. Again you might eventually be required by an miner to do a separate patent for a method of use, but that won’t matter for a priority date, the provisional patent can cover multiple patents.
By Don Debelak
January 18, 2016
Patent costs for a utility patent can range from the $3,000 range up to $25,000. Before moving forward you want to understand some basic concepts that can cut your patent costs significantly.
The more you do on you on your own to get prepared for your visit to the patent agent or patent attorney will not only cut your costs but your efforts will probably improve your patent.
Patents fees have three categories, normal fees, small entity fees which are 50% of the normal fee, and small entity fees which are 25% of the normal fees.
To qualify as a micro entity, an applicant must meet all of the following criteria:
These are significant savings you can’t afford to pass up.
From the USPTOO web site: http://www.uspto.gov/inventors/independent/eye/201101/advicepracticioner.jsp
A patent attorney has a law degree, can prosecute applications before the USPTO, and can represent you in patent litigation or infringement cases. A patent agent can prosecute applications before the USPTO, but not in a court of law. To be a registered patent attorney or agent, one must pass an exam administered by the USPTO. A roster of all registered patent attorneys and agents that is searchable by name or geographic location is available on the USPTO’s website. Because patent agents are not attorneys and specialize only in applying for patents they they to be considerably less expensive than patent attorneys
Patents are restrictive and use closed ended phrases such as consisting of are patents where only the very specific design of the patent are covered are generally considered not as valuable as people who make small changes to the design may be able to potentially patent their idea and compete with you with a patent, or they will just be able to compete with you without a patent. Limited patents have generated significant licensing. Patents with open ended fees may though still generate significant patent fees.
Open ended patents typically use phrases such as comprising, which in patent terms means it covers not only the items specifically covered, but other similar items. You want to look at the terms in competitive patents to see if they are open ended or closed ended and then discuss with your patent agent or attorney on what that means for your patent opportunity. Also ask your patent provider if he/she feels they will be able to use open ended or close ended language in your patent.
You must then decide if that patent you can get will have coverage that to you justifies its costs. You must be in a position to make this evaluation in order to make an intelligent on whether or not to proceed.
Certain approaches to commercializing, such as licensing, your idea require a patent. For others like a private label approach or a joint venture approach don’t require a patent but a patent can assist the process. Taking a product to the market on your own doesn’t require a patent, but it can help you protect your idea if you are successful.
Look at the approach you are taking and then decide on whether or not you need a patent but by looking at the scope of your patent and your approach to the market.
5. Some Steps You Can Take before Talking to a Patent Agent of Attorney to Cut Patent Costs
By Don Debelak
What exactly is your best patent? From my point it is a patent on a product that is right for the market and it is patent on a product people will buy. Inventors really need to research their product ideas with potential end users before they finalize their patent if they want to end up with the best patent possible.
Before starting your research you can put your product into a patent pending process by obtaining a low cost provisional patent. http://onestopinventionshop.net/services/patents/ , A provisional patent is not a final patent, you have one year to apply for a final patent, but it has several advantages. First it is relatively low cost, patent fees can range from $100 if you do it yourself, to $1000 including attorney fees, But the big advantage is that provisional patents don’t require you to put in just one design, or as the patent office calls them embodiments, in the patent, You can put in as many variations of the product as you can think of, That allows you then to go out and do some low cost market research to determine just what product will be the right one to patent,
Market Research Steps
Black took three inexpensive research steps before he decided to launch his product:
See http://onestopinventionshop.net/?s=Bob+Black for a story about how th inventor of the Clean Shower used these techniques before introducing his product..
Know the Competition
Just because you can’t find competitive products on the shelves doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You may need to scan trade magazines, attend trade shows, talk to potential distributors, or acquire industry buyers’ directories from trade magazines to find potential competitors.
Once you learn the names of potential competitors, check out each product. After all, your product is innovative only if it’s different and significantly better than existing products. If they’re too expensive for you to buy, attend trade shows where they’ll be displayed.
To find the competition for your product, check trade magazines that target manufacturers in your market. These magazines are listed in the Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media (Gale Research), which is available at larger libraries. Trade magazines will have product directories once a year that list all the types of products that are available to the market. Use that list to see who the competition consists of. Also do a patent search on your product idea to see if any of the patents have been assigned to a manufacturer or marketer. http://onestopinventionshop.net/?s=patent+search
Give People a Choice
Consumers have many choices when they buy a product, including buying a competitive product, buying another type of product or buying nothing at all. You need to be confident people will select your product from all these possibilities before you decide your product is a winner.
One product I evaluated this way was the Dish-Net, a net that could be used in dishwashers to keep plastic cups, bottles and caps from overturning or falling into the dishwasher’s heater core. I called a local women’s group and invited them to participate in a market research group for the new product. The group was happy to participate at their next meeting, which was attended by about 40 women.
Because the product had only one indirect competitor, a dishwasher basket for small items, I displayed them both, along with four household products that were about the same price: a milk-bottle spout, a microwave bacon tray, a set of plastic storage containers and a lint-removing brush.
I asked the people to rank the products by how likely they were to buy them. I’d consider marketing the product if 20 percent of the participants ranked the product as a first or second choice. That may seem like a low percentage, but 20 percent of the people ranking a product first or second is a very strong showing if all the products are already on the market. In the case of the Dish-Net, 30 percent rated it as the first or second product they’d most likely buy.
Will They Buy It?
The ultimate test of whether or not a product is worth launching is to find out whether people will buy it. Some ways you can check if people will buy the product are::
Patents are expensive and most patents don’t produce a profit for the inventor. Take the time to be sure you are patenting a product that will sell, those after all are the best patents.