Mistake #1 Not Taking Fast Action
So you have a great idea, now what? Sitting on a good idea too long is one of the classic mistakes that new inventors make. There are many who have witnessed a product on the shelves, a home shopping network or late night infomercial and thought, “I had that same idea some years ago, what happened?
Not knowing what to do will often lead to doing—nothing. Many have committed the crime of conveniently talking themselves out of a lucrative idea that potentially could change their financial destiny. However, there is always hope and redemption for the diligent entrepreneur!
Remember that all ideas are time-sensitive therefore taking fast (immediate) action is necessary. For example, filing patents are based on a first-to-file basis, so don’t lose an opportunity to receive a patent because you’ve decided to drag your feet.
Mistake #2 Sharing Your Idea Before It’s Protected
You would be surprised at how many people have had their ideas stolen by those whom they trusted. This is one of the biggest mistakes that a new inventor can make because not only does it leave your idea vulnerable to idea snatchers, it also leaves you susceptible to dream stealers. Dream stealers are those play-safe cynics who say “keep your day job” or “here’s why that won’t work?” You also have to be very careful what you say to people in a public forum about your idea because it could also compromise your ability to be issued a patent. Of course it is always best to seek a lawyer for legal advice on protecting your invention. Always request that a confidentiality agreement or non-disclosure agreement be signed, which simply states that they will not share your invention idea with anyone else.
Mistake #3 Researching Thoroughly Before Investing Time and Money
Every idea seems like it is the biggest and best product/service to hit the market, and after spending thousands of dollars on expensive patents and prototypes only to find out that the product already exists can be utterly devastating.
The simplest way to help avoid this is to do some preliminary but crucial online searches. For example, if your idea is for a widget, then search widgets on Google, then Google/images (allowing you to see all available photos of widgets.) If you don’t see your widget displayed, then request a patent search at www.uspto.gov.
Mistake # 4 Failing To Determine What Type of Patent Is Required
There are many different types of patents. Getting the right patent will help you protect your product from infringements. There are design patents, utility patents and provisional patents. The utility patent offers the best protection, however it can be one of the most expensive. The provisional patent offers limited protection for one year and is relatively inexpensive. The provisional gives you one year of protection and holds the date for you until you file for a utility patent. I typically use the provisional patent for a year which gives me time to shop or sell my idea to a manufacturer. After that year, if the product seems to be a market winner then I can invest in a utility patent or strike a deal with a licensee to pay for the patent altogether.
Mistake #5 Spending Thousands on “Invention” Companies
So many people have spent thousands and have been ripped off by some invention companies—only to receive an informational binder that tells them about the market. Be cautious! There are some great invention companies that will service you fully but you must do your research. Bigger companies don’t always mean better. Other options are to seek legal advice, or shop your idea and hire someone to get your product licensed. In many cities, there are local invention associations who offer valuable and credible resources.
Bulb Puzzle Shows Intelligence And Inventions” courtesy of Stuart Miles / www.freedigitalphotos.net
About the Author: Kim Laney is an inventor, speaker and author of “The Hope of Unemployment” and “How to Bring Your Idea to Market.” Visit www.KimLaney.com and get a free download! Follow on Twitter @KimLaney7.