Last night I was consulting an inventor on Skype that was just starting off with her invention. She had a homemade prototype, quote from a patent attorney of$5,000, a quote from a patent searcher of $1,000 and a quote for engineering of $9,000. She struggled to explain what the products purpose was at first and then once I understood it’s purpose and function, I put up a red flag. Out of all the inventions in the world, she presents one so similar to one I’ve already worked on with another inventor that is fully patented and out in retail already. I showed it to her on a website and she agreed that it was just about the same thing.
What a gift..or was it a heart-breaker? We discussed what her options were which is to modify it so it would be unique in its function, but most likely will be a far road taking that direction. Then a second wind of possibilities came out which went in a big circle back to reality of that brick wall. It hurts at first and for a while after, but I told her to take a look at those quotes from the patent attorney, engineer, and think about all the time and effort she passionately would have put in to hit that brick wall- money saved, lesson learned. Whether it’s going to the store, online, doing your own patent search, finding out from a professional search, finding out if it’s out there to start, will help you either find a better way to make it work(utility patent) or look (design patent),) find out if it’s in the public domain(if the patent expired) and come up with a great trademarkable name and start to manufacture it on your own OR move on to your next idea. Once you came up with that first idea, the next one just happens and the next.. Clear your path for your next idea which could be the one!.