We are in the age of the Entrepreneur/Inventor. News of your average Joe-turned-millionaire by creating a product or an app is everywhere. Advertisements by companies promising to help launch your product ideas are everywhere, and television shows like Shark Tank are extremely popular – averaging over 6 million viewers. With such constant bombardment of entrepreneurial success, it’s no wonder that so many people have become inspired to create the next big thing.
We LOVE innovators and their success stories, but, the reality is, the odds of launching a lucrative entrepreneurial endeavor are slim. According to leading sources, the average success rate for a new product is only 3%. With statistics like this, innovating is clearly risky business; however, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of success while protecting your cheese.
- Do your research. Is your product or idea unique? Is there already something just like it on the market? Before you invest your time and money, make sure you are not just reinventing the wheel. Conduct a thorough patent search before spending too much time and money on your idea.
- Get a provisional patent. In this industry, imitation is the highest form of flattery. It is also a surefire way to lose out on money. If you have a new promising product, and a patent search gives you the greenlight, start out by filing a provisional patent. The provisional will protect your product for a year, giving you time to acquire funding for and additional information to include in a non-provisional patent application.
- Build a prototype. Do not spend tens of thousands of dollars on inventory. Whether you are planning to manufacture the product yourself, or license your idea, focus on developing a solid prototype that you can put in front of potential investors, distributors or licensees.
- Beware of invention promotion companies. There are multiple companies out there that promise to assist you with your product idea. While some are legitimate, many are not. Be especially leery of companies that require payment upfront.
- Know when to walk away. Sometimes you just need to face the fact that a product is not going to be a slam-dunk. Too many times we have talked to people who are so committed to making it big, they continue to sink money into an idea that will not pay for itself. It’s tough to walk away when you’ve developed emotional ties to a business – we know. So, seek advice from industry experts and even friends and family, and then use your best judgment on how to proceed.
About Digital Law Group: Digital Law Group is available to help guide and advise inventors in protecting their intellectual property and product-related contractual matters. Do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions regarding this article. www.digitallawgroup.com