Many inventors just sit on their idea because they don’t know where to start, or they’re worried someone will rip them off. This introductory course is designed to get the inventor “un-stuck,” teaching you a 4-step plan to get your idea off and running.
Learn the First 4 Critical Steps to Launching an Invention or New Product Idea
Find Out What Gets Inventors Stuck and How to Keep Your Idea Moving Forward
We've all heard stories about inventors getting ripped off, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk. The first step is to get started on proper documentation, the start of a provisional patent application. Once filed, this will give you a year of “Patent Pending” status. You will also learn about the two key agreements you can use to protect your rights before your application is filed.
We’ll show you free Internet resources you can use to scan the market and the patent literature to see if your idea is novel. If you don’t know how to make a prototype, this course will point you towards local and internet resources that can help you get started on building a working model.
Finally, you need to know if they’re going to make and sell this product yourself, or if you’re going to license it to a company that’s already selling products in this market. At the end of this course you will have a basic road map to turn your invention into a revenue stream.
Since March 2013, the best option for American inventors for documenting their inventions has been filing a patent application, either a provisional patent application or a full patent application. This is good because there is less room for misinterpretation or disputes about who should get a patent. The patent now always goes to the person who filed the patent application first. However it does mean that you’re going to have to get into the habit of filing a provisional patent applications with greater frequency.
Provisional patent applications only cost to $65 for micro-entities, so you should consider it just a cost of doing business.
The provisional patent application is a fairly straightforward mechanism for documenting your invention with the US Patent & Trademark Office. However, there are a few important things you should know about how the PPA works so that you don't make a mistake that could risk your invention’s patentability.
This may come as a shock. Your invention may not be original. We know, there’s nothing like it on the market, therefore it must be original and a definite winner. Unfortunately, there are often unknowns out there in the market or in the patents that you need to go out and find out about. Although you will probably have to hire professionals at some point to do additional research, you should get things started on your own with a little quick and dirty market research and patent research.
In doing your market research, you’ll find out not only if there are similar products like your invention, you’ll also find out who is interested, who might become your customers.
Gaining an understanding of your invention’s patentability will do more than just help you decide if you want to move forward with your invention; you may also learn about problems that various other inventors have faced. It is very often the case that there are not just one or two patents that look like your invention. There will be five or six. But if nothing is on the market, it may be because previous attempts fell short of solving all of the necessary problems. It may be that in analyzing patents discovered in a search, you will be able to make revisions that will improve your invention’s patentability and marketability.
Spreadsheets are invaluable for keeping track of search results. If you don't have MS Office Excel, you can get free a free office suite at either OpenOffice or LibreOffice
Reduction to practice is the process of turning your idea into an “embodiment.” What’s an embodiment? An embodiment is either a working prototype or a complete specification, like what you would put into a patent application. Either way your invention is in a form where it can then be reproduced.
Although you can reduce your invention to practice just through your patent application, taking your invention through the prototyping process is a great way to refine and develop it to a point where it has greater potential for commercial success.
You may build a better mousetrap, but it’s far smarter to meet the world halfway than wait for them to beat a path to your door. In this section will learn about to pass people take for getting to the market.
There’s nothing more all American and building your own company! Building and selling your invention is tremendously challenging and risky, but you do have the potential upside of greater profitability and greater control.
Licensing is essentially “renting” your idea to someone else who will then commercialize it. Your profitability may be lower, but so is your workload.
Registered practitioners are people, usually with a science or engineering background, who are credentialed by the US patent and trademark office to practice patent law. They come in two forms: patent attorneys and patent agents. Patent agents possess the single credential from the patent office, while patent attorneys are also licensed to practice law. Foremost patent work, you should consider them as equals.
Unfortunately, even in this day and age there are plenty of scam companies out there who prey on the naïveté of new inventors. We give you a few quick pointers for spotting and avoiding invention submission companies.
Two agreements that you will see a lot in your life as an inventor or nondisclosure agreements and work for hire agreements.
Inventors Learning Center is a cooperative effort between registered patent practitioners and professional researchers. Over the years, through our interactions with inventors, we've learned where inventors need the most help. Our goal is to help the independent inventor and small business person quickly get "up the curve" on those topics that are most important to a successful invention.
Registered Patent Agent Kevin Prince teaches courses having to do with patent application writing, patents in general, and patent drawings. Kevin has over 15 years of experience working with inventors to obtain patents, now numbering over 1,400 granted patents in the United States. He's the author of the book The Art of the Patent, featuring some of the best patent drawings created in the last 200 years of patent history in the US.
Professional patent researchers Stewart and Pat Walsh have conducted over 5,500 professional patent searches for attorneys and product developers. Together the two brothers have developed a patent research system that is used by multiple practitioners and an attorney docketing system that keeps track of thousands of patent applications working their way through the US Patent & Trademark Office.