Category Archives: Inventing Tips Blog

Have a new invention idea? Here are your next steps for licensing

So, you have a new invention idea? We all know the feeling of having a really great idea— but few of us know the feeling of turning our product ideas into reality. That’s because having a great idea is just the first step to seeing it come to fruition. Starting from the idea phase, you […]

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What To Do When You Have Little Money For Your Invention

What To Do When You Have Little to No Money For Your Invention When you’re an inventor, you know just how exciting it is to come up with a new product idea.   You’ve finally found a solution to a problem everyone deals with.  Better yet, you know that once word gets out about your […]

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How To License Your Invention and Earn Royalties

So, you have an idea for a great new invention and you know you can make money with it. You’ve done your preliminary research, you know your idea is original, and you’ve filed at least for a provisional patent to protect your idea. But, like many new inventors, you may have limited funds or be unfamiliar with […]

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Get To Know Inventor Smart

We’re proud to announce that Inventor Smart has launched a national TV campaign!   We’ve helped inventors and entrepreneurs successfully take their product from an idea to a reality.  Now, we want to hear about your inventions! In case you missed our commercial, though, you can check it out below for a quick overview of […]

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What Is a Patent And How Can You Apply For One?

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably an inventor who’s just come up with a great new product idea, but you’re not sure how to protect it.  Nowadays, knockoff products are a dime a dozen, so the sooner you protect your idea, the better off you’ll be. Sure, there’s plenty of information available online, but […]

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New Invention Ideas: The First 5 Steps Towards Creating Your Product

New Invention Ideas: The First 5 Steps Towards Creating Your Product Every inventor has that moment: one minute, you’re struggling with a problem, and the next, you’ve come up with a great new solution for how to fix it.  You can picture your product in your mind’s eye, and you know you need to make […]

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An Inventor Profile

Are you already an inventor or do you want to be an inventor?

What does an inventor act or think like?

When you call yourself an inventor, it can take on a whole new meaning to your life. You can live up to the title by being aware of how things work in deeper detail and this thought process can become second nature to you. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, here is the definition of an inventor, "to create or produce (something useful) for the first time". As any successful inventor will tell you, the research you do before you set out on your journey can help bring you closer to your goals. So let's evaluate "you" as an inventor by answering the questions below.

Do you have an inventive mind?

Do you come up with ideas and solutions to challenges on a daily basis? Inventive minds are always seeing the next logical step that could be taken, while the rest of the world simply shrugs its shoulders and makes do with things as they are.Do you say, "This could be done differently" or "that could be improved", "this could be modified a bit" or "that could be a big winner"? Inventive minds get excited when there is a puzzle to solve. Do you see opportunity everywhere you look? Inventive minds are positive and pro-active. They consistently ask themselves, "Why not?" when other people give up.

Do you have inventive habits? Check out these invention questionnaire 

1. Are you curious?

2. Are you the kind of person who asks questions?

3. Do you find yourself wondering how things work?

4. Do you take things apart and see if they'll go back together in a different, more efficient way?

5. Do you make notes and sketches and conduct experiments?

6. Do you like to keep track of your ideas and use your notes and sketches to fix and tweak them from time to time?

7. Do you brainstorm with others and get them excited by your ideas?

8. Is it as much fun to talk about the process as it is to work on it?

9. Do you find yourself feeling energized when you share your ideas and get input from others?

10. Are working on some idea that you're nearly ready to talk about?

11. Have you done your due diligence?

12. Have you researched the market and compared your concept with others currently on the shelves?

13. Have you registered your patent to protect your concept?

14. Are you at the prototyping stage?

15. Have you created a sample that allows other people to see and touch your idea and believe in its possibilities as you do?

16. Do you have a design engineer who is willing and able to take your prototype and create a professional design?

17. Have you looked for opportunities to partner with a designer and take advantage of his established contacts?

18. Are you ready to go to the marketplace?

19. Have you decided whether you want to manufacture it yourself or license it to someone else and let them pay you royalties?

20. Have you registered your business and surrounded yourself with the best team to help you reach your goals?

Do you have a goal?

1. Do you want to solve problems and overcome challenges?

2. Are you driven by a desire to make the world a better place?

3. Are you searching for opportunities to beat the odds and win?

4. Do you want the personal satisfaction of a job well done?

5. Are you the kind of person who sets high goals and standards and consistently meets and surpasses them?

6. Do you want to be famous?

7. Are you looking for the recognition that comes with success?

8. Do you want to be rich?

9. Are you focused on the tangible rewards that come with high volume sales and repeat business?

Do you have what it takes to achieve success?

To take a great invention idea or concept from brain wave to prototype to marketplace, it takes more than dedication, determination and drive. To do your due diligence, to research and refine, to educate and inform, to overcome setbacks, to protect your work, to form partnerships and leverage your success takes more than perseverance and people skills.

Whether you're inventive and imaginative; whether you brainstorm or work alone; whether you're still thinking about taking that first step or you're already working on your big idea, the one quality you have to have in order to succeed as an inventor is patience.

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Licensing Your Invention

You have a great idea and want to make money with it but perhaps your funds are low, your knowledge of manufacturing is limited and you're not ready to quit your day job to go into business with it. Licensing is an alternative way to bring your idea or invention to market with limited risk using someone else's resources and collecting a royalty payment. A simple definition of licensing is to rent your intellectual property, such as a patent, trademark, trade secret, algorithm or process, and partner with a company that has manufacturing capabilities and distribution to bring that idea to the marketplace with the ultimate goal of all parties making a profit.

 

Be Prepared Before You Present Your Invention Idea

Now take your invention idea and bring it up to a point where you have some intellectual property protection, conducting your own basic search and/or a professional patent search. Reference previous answers.com article for more information on claiming your idea: "Start Here With Your Idea" You may consider starting with a provisional patent or design patent filed. Once you file you have patent-pending status. Sometimes you may not need any formal intellectual property protection and may want to just start with a confidentiality agreement or non-disclosure agreement to present your idea. This way is possible, however you are at your own risk and not every company may want to look or hear about your non-protected idea.

Imagine Your Idea in Retail

While doing your research, think about what type of stores or retail channels you can imagine your product in such as big box brick and mortar retailers, specialty stores, boutiques, catalogs, home shopping channels, online retailers or craft fairs. You can start by walking up and down the aisles of the stores where you imaging your product being sold. Keep an eye on what is already being offered and where your product would be placed. Flip over the packages to find the company name and information to later research the company background online. Browse their product line, read up on their management if available, find out where they are located, what stores they distribute to and if they have a section on their website for new product submissions.

What is a Licensee and Licensor?

The manufacturer with distribution is called the licensee and the inventor presenting their invention is called the licensor. The Licensee can have their own manufacturing facility that they run or they outsource their production to an outside factory. They can have a built in distribution team that presents the products to their current retail accounts or may pitch new accounts for distribution. If they choose not to have an in-house sales platform, they may have sales reps or agents which usually have established accounts in a specific category and industry.

Presenting Your Idea to a Licensee

It's time to start making some calls to the companies you researched and feel may be good candidates for your idea. Call their corporate number and ask if they review outside invention ideas and if so, how you could present yours to them. Be prepared when they ask for what protection you have on the idea. They may ask for an exchange of non-disclosure agreements. It may take some navigating through the receptionist or gate-keeper to find the person or department responsible for licensing, product development or other titles that differ in each company. You may get through to the person directly or be given an email address to send your information to.Be prepared to deliver a quick elevator pitch on what your idea does and what makes it unique. They may ask for photos, a sketch or prototype or whatever you can show. You can also have a very short homemade video ready to email to the potential licensee.

The Verdict

If the company is interested in your invention, you the licensor, would be paid a royalty which is a percentage of sales that is usually received in quarterly payments. There are other provisions that may be included in a licensing agreement could be exclusivity, countries covered, guarantees of minimum sales, advances against your royalties and terms of the agreement. Most of the time the licensee, your new partner, will involve you with certain steps of the design modifications, packaging designs, activity of production, placement into retailers, however your involvement may be limited.If the potential licensee tells you they are not interested, try to get feedback to see what they thought and why they are passing on your idea. Be respectful of their decision and keep an open door to be able to present your next idea to them.

Finding a Licensing Agent

There are also licensing agents within industries that can help you make a match to a potential licensee. You can find them at industry trade shows, industry magazines or direct distributors and manufacturers in the industry can direct you to their contacts. Another resource can be networking through inventor clubs in your area.

Continue on your quest to find the right partner to present and license your invention to. Remember that just because a licensee or potential partner tells you that they are not interested, doesn't mean that you need to abandon your idea or be discouraged. It may be that they were not the right partner and you need to keep looking. Listen to what feedback you are receiving from everyone and keep an open mind on making adjustments along the way to bring you closer to making that deal.

By Brian Fried

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