Challenges To Look Out For As An Inventor
Before you venture down the path of seeking a patent or commercializing your idea, it's a good idea to know what pitfalls may lie ahead.
The invention process is a deep ocean. You may occasionally encounter sharks. New inventors often don't know where the safe swim lanes are.
Stay In The Safe Lane
One of the biggest challenges inventors face are scams.
In fact, inventors face quite a bit of adversity when trying to bring an idea or a product to market. It comes in all forms (and yes, inventor scams are unfortunately one of those), and the best favor I can do is give you one single piece of advice - the golden nugget for inventors:
Arm yourself with the most knowledge. Know as much or more than everyone you talk to during your patent and invention process. Never enter a conversation without some semblance of answers already in your head, and never leave the conversation with more unanswered questions.
Always be on the lookout for cunning individuals or entities, and be sure to arm yourself with as much knowledge you can about the process before jumping into the deep end.
The USPTO has public forum for the publication of complaints concerning invention promoters/promotion firms should you think you've fallen victim.
An Example Of An Inventor Who Was Scammed
The following is a conversation I found in a public forum and it really rubbed me the wrong way. This is just one example of where you need to exercise caution in every step you take as an inventor.
If you've got an invention idea, the bottom line is you have to be careful and mindful of the many challenges you may face.
Your priority should be to protect your idea, protect your assets, and protect any intellectual property related to it.
Intellectual property is defined as any product, creation or output of your mind.
Laws for trademarks, copyright, patents, industrial design rights, and trade secrets will protect your intellectual property.
But don't doubt that there are people - and even entities and companies out there - who will capitalize on your idea in the blink of an eye.
As you can see in the inventor's rant I screen capped above, there can be loopholes and pitfalls when dealing with invention companies or even attorneys who claim they have your best interest at heart.
You need to talk to someone you can trust and who will explain these intricacies to you so you don't end up like poor James (or Chris).
Imagine you were the inventor who first ideated the touchscreen laptop and you got no credit -- or money -- for it? GASP! UGH! OUCH!
How Inventors Can Keep Ideas And Products Safe
Fortunately, not every avenue to success is a scam for inventors . If it were, the world would completely lack innovation.
Not only that, but, as Adrian Pelkus, San Diego Inventors Forum founder, says in the following video about mistakes inventors make, "New inventors are the cutting edge...the greatest asset this country has...bringing new ideas and new jobs forth into this world."
The world needs you, inventors - we need what you bring to the table.
And at some point, that means you'll have to put trust into a partner. No inventors do it completely alone.
Please take a few minutes to browse and skip around this video before you continue to the list of challenges inventors face below - this is solid information from a bonafide expert in the field of invention and entrepreneurship.
Other Challenges Inventors Should Be On The Lookout For
The more you ideate, the more you create, the more you invent...the more you realize how easily one can fall victim to a mistake.
Those mistakes can range from "bread box" to "empire state building" in size.
We'll talk about some of the common ones, both big and small.
A Prevailing Challenge Inventors Face: Having The Wherewithal To Properly Evaluate The Commercial Potential Of The Invention Idea
The most frustrating thing a new inventor could possibly imagine is to start down the path to market and then realize they hadn't fully fleshed out the financial potential of their idea.
Usually this happens because the idea wasn't evaluated early enough in the process.
Newer inventors tend to think of an idea and presume its marketable, sellable, and just plain good. The vision is there, of course - so that's a positive.
But when you think about your invention, think about these questions:
This is barely the skin of the surface of research inventors need to do in the short period of time following ideation.
If you can't answer these questions (and a whole bunch more), then slow down, take your time, and make sure you have a proper (read: realistic) evaluation of exactly how your product will take the market by storm.
Oh, and remember this:
Even the greatest invention idea will sink if it tries to surface prematurely.
One Of The Challenges Or Problems Inventors Bump Up Against Is The General Lack Of Understanding Of The Invention Process
It takes grit and patience for an inventor to bring an idea to market and ultimately sell it for a profit.
One thing that inventors may fail to realize is that a bulk of the research and work is done very early on in the invention process - not far removed from that initial spark of an invention idea.
Luckily, we've put together a number of articles already to help you navigate the invention process.
As a recommendation, before you take too many steps as a solo rider on the storm, it may be wise to tap some professional resources to help you understand patents, planning, research, etc.
As far as understanding the process of taking an invention idea to market, these links and articles, which will open in new tabs, will help you navigate your way safely to success:
All-in-all, invention ideas help change, modernize and revolutionize the world we know today.
It's unfortunate that there are likely millions of truly amazing ideas which never see the light of day.
Often times that is because inventors don't know or understand the process of taking ideas to market, they're not sure who they can trust, or they just don't have the determination to follow fully through and believe in themselves enough to make a difference and live up to their potential.
We can't really help you with the last one, but as far as understanding what to do with invention ideas and how to stay safe, well, that's what we're here for.
The challenge of Patent Trolling. Yes, It's A Real Thing - And It's Eating Away At Society's Innovation
Patent trolls are individuals, companies or entities that purchase a patent, often from a bankrupt firm, and then sue another individual inventor (or company) claiming that one of its products infringes on the purchased patent.
The challenge is that the owner of these patents has no intention of using it for the betterment of society; the only intent is to fatten their own pockets at your expense.
Trolls are really a stick in the spokes of the fast-moving invention wheel.
General Challenges Inventors Face During The Invention & Patent Process
For those who have an idea for a new invention, the times have certainly changed when it comes to promoting and profiting from your efforts.
While the basics of inventing a new product or device have remained the same, the presence of the internet has created many new opportunities and concerns when it comes to your new invention.
Here are a few tips that will help guide you towards making the best informed decision about what to do with your new invention.
Inventing Is The Easy Part; The Rest Of The Invention Process Can Be A Challenge If You Don't Possess Knowledge
If there is one thing that arguably has not changed over the past few centuries is that the actual invention is the easiest part of the process.
After all, you came up with the idea, created prototypes and tested it until it worked.
No matter how much time, energy, and effort you put into the process it will pale in comparison to actually promoting, marketing, and protecting what you have created.
So keep that in mind when you start the real work of making your invention a successful one.
Loose Lips Sink Ships
This may sound rather harsh, but it is important that you do not tell anyone about your invention until it is fully protected.
This means that you will need to get a patent and arguably meet with a patent attorney who can guide you through the process.
Otherwise, you run the risk of someone finding out what you are doing and beating you to the market with a copy of your work.
Even if they don’t see what you are doing, it can spark an idea that has them creating, perfecting, and taking advantage of the profit potential that should be yours. So don’t say anything until after your invention is fully protected.
You Patent An Invention, Not An Idea
Basically, this means that once you have created something it can be protected by a patent.
This means that drawings can be made, photographs taken, and the patent application can be fully filled out.
You may need to meet with an attorney who specializes in patents.
This is a person you can trust as it is in their interest to keep a clean reputation by serving your needs.
If you have an idea, you don't immediately spend time and resources getting the patent - slow it down, take a few professional steps first, elaborate on your idea, create something tangible, and then investigate getting a patent for a well-thought-out and planned invention idea.
While you cannot patent an idea, you can protect any conversations you have with another company by signing a confidentiality agreement.
That means whatever you tell them is covered by the agreement which they cannot use to their benefit.
This falls under contract law and the threat of a legitimate lawsuit by you usually provides good protection.
In the end, you should always act to protect your invention first before shopping it around to other companies. That way, you’ll maximize the potential for success.
Invention Info publishes free information to help inventors safely navigate the process of commercializing ideas. By arming you with knowledge, we believe your journey to "successful inventor" status will be less cluttered with obstacles and ill-informed questions. We wish you the best!
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