One Minute Guide to Invention Success:
1. Confirm. Prove that your idea is as good as you think it is. Build a prototype. Survey family and friends. Talk to potential distributors. Meet with manufacturers and find out if it can be made at the right price. Learn about competitive products. Research prior art. Find out if your invention seems eligible for patent protection and how strong the patent(s) might be. Be honest with yourself. Be prepared to drop the project if strong confirmation isn't forthcoming. Spend the minimum necessary to take the next step (but enough to do it right).
2. Protect. Keep written records with dates. File a provisional Patent Application (PPA). Use Non Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). Keep key information secret - only disclose what you need to disclose. Patents are complicated. Work with a professional advisor (read Patent It Yourself) and be careful to avoid costly mistakes. Save money and don't begin the patent process until you are truly ready.
3. Commercialize. Should you license or launch on your own? Either way, you will want to find partners who will be committed to your product. Structure deals that work for everyone. Edison said, "inventing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." You can get more by developing the idea further and participating in the commercialization process. In short, the more you invest, the more you do, the more you can earn. Good advisors can be worth several times their weight in gold.
Learn much more in Inventing 101
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