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Will It Sell?TM
How to Determine If Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable
(Before Wasting Money on a Patent)

Jim White
Marketing help for inventors and small businesses. James E. White & Assoc.
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The Steps Successful Inventors Take

Step 0–Go Shopping. Look for any existing solutions to the problem your invention solves–they just may be "yours" or better. STOP if proceeding is NOT a sound business decision after any step!

Step 1–Ask People. Create a bound inventors notebook (maintain it and get it witnessed regularly) and start using Non-Disclosure Agreements to get opinions, particularly from prospective buyers or experts in the field of your invention.

Step 2–Get Evaluated. Do a patent search then, if your invention or nearly equal ones are not already patented, pay for a marketability evaluation by a professional that cannot gain by being positive.

Step 3–Manufacturing Costs. Determine approximate manufacturing costs and consumer sale price and do some basic business plan calculations to see if your invention will be reasonably profitable.

Step 4–Design & Prototype. Now the fun part! Design and build one and test it. Refine and redesign as necessary to get it working well and so that it can be easily made and used and looks acceptably attractive.

Step 5–Sell a Few. File a Provisional Application for Patent (PAP). Get a quality prototype or low volume production run done, create sample packaging, instructions, etc., and get your invention on the market.

Step 6–Go. If everything to this point indicates a good chance at success, create the marketing materials and go. File your full patent application before one year from the priority date established by your PAP.

Step 7–Watch Competitors. If you have any success at all you can count on competitors. Be sure they don't infringe any patents you get and keep developing improvements ahead of them. Good Luck!

Common Inventor Pitfalls to Avoid

1. Free invention evaluation services–or most any 800 number or "we'll do it all" or "we'll find a licensee for you" services that then want paid first.

2. Starting with a patent attorney. Yes, it is safest to pay them to write a patent application first–but 98% of all new patents have NO value.

3. Expecting to just license an idea and collect royalties. It happens but far more people win the lottery than get rich this easily from invention ideas.

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