Selling Your Invention Idea
OK, here is a situation that comes up often:
You have an idea for a new invention or product. Brilliant.
Now you want to make money off of it. Totally understandable.
Here's The Problem:
The web is full of information about patenting your idea and licensing or selling it to big companies...and a lot of it is flat out untrue.
So what the heck are you supposed to do when you have a great idea and you want to make some cash from it?
Before I answer what you're supposed to do, let's answer another important question:
Why Is There So Much Bad Information About Patenting Ideas & Selling Inventions Out There?
This question can have a really complex answer, but I'm going to make it simple for you.
You know how you have a new product or invention idea right now and you are wondering how you can make money from it?
Well, money is a key driver for a lot of people - not just you.
And money can bring out the ugly side of people.
That said, there is an equation that you should keep in mind as you surf the web and look for patent and money-making information you can trust:
When you couple a market need with a sea of questions and unknowingness, you are going to find people looking to capitalize on the demand that exists.
What Does This Mean & How Does It Affect You Making Money From Your Idea?
The proliferation of technology is one of the many reasons more and more independent inventors are coming up with ideas that they can profit from.
The fact that so many people do have ideas for new products is magnificent, and it fills a real-world market need; that need is new ideas. That need is innovation. That need is for every company to be more competitive and achieve more, and the net effect of that is better value to us, the consumers.
But what about the second part of that equation? What about the unsurety?
That's where you might be right now. You've got the invention idea - you have the solution to the market need.
But you don't know what to do, who to listen to, who to talk to, what to click, where to start, etc.
All you know is that you have an idea that hasn't been done before and you would love it if someone helped you bring the idea to life and you made some money from it along the way.
This is unsurety.
Fishing For Answers About Invention Ideas
You take that unsurety to places like Google, Bing and Yahoo - places where you can search for answers and then hope one of the search engine giants doesn't screw you.
I've been there. And I've seen the articles that come up when you search for answers about making money from your invention idea or how to patent an idea, etc.
The articles seem legit.
They make it seem like profiting is just a hop, skip and a jump away.
A lot of them flaunt testimonials and make promises of getting your invention into stores. I mean, if other people use it and it works, its got to be good, right?
Many of these high ranking articles are even written by lawyers or patent agents - so of course the information is true, right?
Not so fast.
Remember, everyone is driven by the almighty dollar.
Have you ever been in an argument with someone who studied law? Bet that no matter how right you were, it was hard to disprove them.
These articles aren't all gospel. Think about it:
Invention Promotion Companies & Scams Are Real
Some of the worst offenders happen to be pretty good at internet marketing.
Short story: Don't trust everything you read. Talk to real people first. Here's something interesting:
A snazzy logo and some sounding-like-we-know-what-were-talking-about-when-all-we-want-is-your-money-or-your-idea articles isn't necessarily a good thing.
The Right Way For Inventors To Make Money From Invention Ideas
If you really want to make money from your invention, you'll need to do a little recon first.
Top of the list is simple: Make sure your invention idea is patentable.
You do this because if you do want to make money, the invention will have to be your proprietary intellectual property - meaning you need to have the legal rights to bar any other party from making, selling, or using your invention without your consent.
Without owning the legal patent for your idea, no company is going to do business with you.
If you don't have a patent yet, you should consider a patent pending status first - its a great way to buy some time. You get one by filing a provisional patent application.
The ultimate protection and ownership of your invention idea is what a patent offers.
If you want to make money, you need one.
But don't listen to everything you read online or see on TV - try to talk to someone who cares, who knows the industry your product is in, etc.
That's what we do - we find you the right people to connect with to talk about your next steps on a personal basis.
Figuring Out If Your Idea Is Patentable
There are a number of requirements your idea needs to meet to be considered a "patentable invention" in the United States. The main criteria are:
Patentability Criteria Explained
Patentable Subject Matter (Legal and then translated to what it really means)
Patentable subject matter refers to statutory requirements that new inventions must meet to be considered for patent protection.
Federal law states that patentable subject matter includes “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter”.
There are several exceptions to this description - things that cannot be patented - such as laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas.
The subject matter you disclose in your patent specification (which is part of the application you file for your non-provisional patent, or "full patent") should fall within the scope of defined "patentable subject matter."
What this really means...
All these terms, in my opinion, are kind of annoying.
To be honest, as much as the USPTO and DOJ, et al, have tried to make the definition of what you can actually patent as concrete as possible, it's still hard to decipher - especially for the independent inventor who is new to all of this.
The best thing to do is talk to a professional - someone who has patented things before, understands what questions will be asked, etc. If you want, we can help you determine whether or not you're actually onto something.
OK, if your idea is patentable, it's time to ensure it also meets a few other criteria:
Is Your Idea Novel (new)
This means your idea needs to be something that hasn't been done before. A new approach to a problem. A new technology. A new something.
The way to figure out if you are the actual pioneer of your idea is to do a patent search. Essentially you need to search databases of existing and pending patents to see if something very close to your idea has been done before. If it has, it could be a non-starter. However, as frequently recommended, talk to a professional to see.
Is Your Invention Idea Non-Obvious?
This is the most complex criteria, so I'll try to make it really simple. Let's say you think your dining room table could be used as a flower pot stand. You go all the way to realizing that you could have an invention that is, at heart, a table, but you call it "four-legged flower pot holder".
If someone such as a carpenter or furniture expert looks at your invention and basically says, "Duh, of course a table can hold a flower pot", then you DO NOT have a non-obvious invention. In fact, it's back to the drawing board for you.
The law will tell you that someone skilled in the art of your niche needs to declare your idea a non-obvious one. This has some gray area, so again, talk to an expert first.
All This Patent Stuff Is Complicated. Can't I Just Sell My Idea To A Company That Could Use It?
You can sell it. But no one with any real money will buy it.
They will just take it because you don't own it.
That's why getting a patent-pending status is encouraged so you at least have some protection for a year while you gather your thoughts and ideas and try to figure out if you should get a patent.
So...How do you know if you should get a patent so you can sell your idea?
You'll need to do some financial forecasting. You might need help to do this, and these are the kinds of things our company is here for.
Summary: Painlessly Selling Your Invention Idea
There is a lot of crap out there on the web. I can only send out a flare and let you know that its a good idea to use more than one source and consult with real people.
Some of the websites that offer to help you profit from your idea send you to another company when you click to get help.
Know this: Where there's smoke, there's fire. Use your instincts. And if you want guidance - if you really want to find someone that can help you make money from your invention idea - let us know. We're a different kind of company.