A client came in last week holding a brilliant idea. The patent was in his hand, which took four years to accomplish, and wanted to know the next step in gaining money. So the research has begun and underway.
As with help for entrepreneurs, Googling patents can bring up an entire sum of information. From lawyers to idea scammers, you need to know what is legitimate and what is not. Four years of hard work can be thrown down the drain if you pick the wrong resource.
If you have a patented idea, there are a couple options for the next step. One, you can search for a manufacturer, create the product, and head out to sell. We did some research through some marketing channels and found that QVC will be happy to sell your product but only with $35,000 worth of inventory already in their warehouse.
Secondly, you can license out your idea to one or several companies to do the manufacturing, marketing, and sales for you. You get a cut of the profit. Easy enough right? Well, finding a company to license your idea can be very difficult in this economy. We researched several areas and found a few ideas.
http://www.inventorspot.com/ is a site dedicated to getting your idea out there to the public and also has some valuable information along the way. There is also a forum on the site to talk with other inventors and share your experience with others.
The Idea Trade Network is another avenue for the inventor. This is a great place for inventors to sell their intellectual property. The site is well recognized and has legitimate resources available for the inventor. The cost is one fee of $99.95 and allows you to post as many ideas or patents as you want after that at no more costs.
The last resource I wanted to share was www.thomas.net which is a site that lists manufacturers in different industries. This will give you an idea of where to begin submitting letters for licensing or calling companies to see what they actually manufacture.
What we can see is that just because you have a great idea does not mean that you will make millions tomorrow. Only about 10% of patents ever get sold and only a few after that get manufactured. It is much like the music industry. Some ideas are bought just to get rid of the competition.
It takes a long time and investment to take your idea to the next step. It is very important to talk to a patent lawyer before you begin the process. They know the proper wording to use and how to get everything submitted for you. They can also tell you if you have a unique idea that is worth pursuing.
After you gain your patent or copyright, it is time to sell, sell, sell. Start with your local industries and work your way forward. From your network, you might find someone that has sold a similar product or owns a manufacturing plant. These people know each other and can get you to the right person to take this product forward.
Marketing will be the key to your success. Whether you are selling your product to the general public, a manufacturer, or As Seen On TV, you must learn how to market your idea. Believe in what you are doing and you might actually make some money for your idea. Just remember, you only have 20 years to try!
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