Invent a Product

Are you convinced you can create an incredibly popular life-changing product? Then don't wait! Take these simple steps to make your very own invention and get it out on the markets.


Imagining Your Product

  1. Brainstorm ideas. The first step in coming up with a truly unique and useful product is to brainstorm ideas. Consider your area of expertise - what are you most interested in and know the most about? In order to invent something from start to finish, you will need to stay within your realm of knowledge. Otherwise, you may have a great idea but no understanding of how to implement it.
    • Try making a list of all the things that interest you. These could be hobbies, jobs, or products that you use on a regular basis.
    • For each activity or item of interest to you, make a list of possible improvements that could be made in the form of an invention. This could include variations of the product or activity or useful add-ons.
    • Make a hefty list. It is better to have too many ideas than too few, so continue listing until you can think of absolutely nothing else to add.
    • Keep a journal with you at all times, to constantly add new items to your possible-invention list. Keeping your ideas all organized in one place, a journal, will also help you to remain mentally clutter-free and allow you to review your ideas at a later date.
    • Don’t rush the brainstorming process. Inspiration may not hit you like lightning, and could require a few weeks or months of listing ideas before your epiphany strikes.
  2. Decide on an idea. Once you’ve spent some time considering all possible options, choose your best idea for an invention. Now you’ll have to spend time considering the details of the project. Draw a few sketches of what you imagine your invention will look like, and then consider some important questions.
    • What could you add to improve this product? What about your invention is so special that people will feel compelled to bring it into their lives? Why is your invention so great?
    • Think about changes that might need to be made. What parts of your invention are superfluous or unnecessary? Is there any way to make it more efficient or cheaper to produce?
    • Consider all aspects of your invention including all the required parts, and important details about how it works or what it will do. Keep these answers and ideas in your journal so you can refer back to them.[1]
  3. Research your invention. When you feel confident in your invention and have made any useful alterations, research it to make sure your idea is truly unique. If another product like yours has already been patented, then you won’t be able to mass-produce your invention or receive your own patent.
    • Search online for products that match the description of your invention. If you have a name for your product created already, search this too to make sure that it is not already being used.
    • Visit stores that offer products similar to what yours will do. Search their shelves for similar products, and even go as far to ask store workers for items they might sell with a similar purpose.
    • Visit a Patent and Trademark Depository Library near you. Here, you can search all patents and categories for other inventions like yours. You are also free and able to use the help of the librarians to aid in your search.
    • Get a professional patent search done to verify that there are truly no other inventions on the market similar to yours.
    • In the US, patents are granted on a “first to file” basis, rather than a “first to invent” basis. This means that as soon as you are able, file a patent on your invention so that nobody else can copy you. Proof (typically in the form of a journal) that you invented your product first won’t help you get a patent before someone else who filed first.[2]

Patenting Your Invention

  1. Create a thorough record of your invention. Although you don’t have to be the first person to invent your product to get a patent, you will still need to keep a record of your invention including the complete range of specs and uses.
    • Record the process of inventing your product. Write down how you came up with the idea, what inspired you, how long it took, and why you want to make it.
    • List all the things you will need to create it, all the possible parts and materials for your invention.
    • Keep a record of your research showing that you did not encounter any other products on the market that are similar in design to yours and already have a patent. You have to prove that your invention is unique in order to qualify for a patent.
    • Consider the commercial sales value of your invention. There are fees involved in getting a patent even if you don’t use a patent lawyer. Before committing to these fees, make sure you’ve recorded the commercial value and potential income based on sales of your invention. This way, you will know that the earning potential of your product outweighs the amount you will pay in fees.
    • Create an informal drawing of your invention. You don’t need to have anything fancy created, but having an accurate drawing of your invention may be required to file for your patent. If you are not an artist yourself, consider having an artistic friend or family member create the drawing for you.
  2. Consider hiring a patent attorney. Although patent attorneys can be very expensive, their help can be invaluable. The main job of a patent attorney is to help get you a patent and to deal with patent infringement.
    • Patent attorneys can give advice based on the most recent changes in patent law to make sure you are always up-to-date.
    • Should someone infringe on your patent (once you get it), your patent attorney can help you take legal steps to deal with the issue or sue them if necessary.
    • If your invention is classified under the “technology” category, a patent attorney can be especially helpful in making sure similar technological advances are not already underway by other companies or businesses. Technology is one of the fastest growing areas of development, and one of the most difficult areas to be patented in.
  3. Get a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application, also called a PPA, shows your invention as being in the process of getting a patent. This means that you will be safe from others copying your idea while your patent application is still being processed.
    • This step is optional, but can be very helpful in saving you from heartache and frustration should someone get a patent on the same invention as you slightly before you do.
    • You will have to pay a fee ranging from $65-$260 based on the business you work for and the item you wish to patent.
  4. File for a patent. Once you have organized all your information on your invention, you can file for a regular patent application, or RPA. These are filed through the USPTO on their website or an office, if you are located near one. Simply follow the step-by-step directions provided on the form and provide all necessary information before sending it in.[3]

Making Your Invention a Reality

  1. Create a prototype. With your patent in the works, it is a good time to create a working model of your invention. Don’t worry about making it with expensive materials or going through an extensive process, just make a version of your invention yourself.
    • You aren’t required to make your prototype out of the same materials as your invention would be mass-produced in, unless it is absolutely imperative to the creation of your product.
    • If you can’t manage to make the prototype on your own, you can pay a company to make one for you. This can get pretty expensive though, so make sure that you always try doing it yourself first.
  2. Create a presentation. With your patent and prototype in hand, you are on the road to success! The next step is making a presentation that completely covers the bases of your invention. You can use this to show to both potential manufacturers and buyers, although you may create slightly different versions of your presentation for each purpose.
    • Make sure that your presentation is very professional, no matter what way you create it. You can make a powerpoint, video, or physical presentation-board to show.
    • Use lots of useful information, diagrams, and images. Be sure to cover the specs of your product, uses, and long-term results or benefits.
    • Although it is optional, you could opt to hire a graphic designer to put together a spectacular presentation for your invention. Making it as visually appealing as possible will encourage the interest of manufacturers and buyers alike.
    • Be sure to have your speaking worked out for the presentation as well. It’s not enough to have great diagrams and images, you need to be good at public speaking. Don’t memorize notecards, but have an idea (with the aid of notes if necessary) of everything you want to say and answers to common questions that may be asked.
  3. Present your invention to a manufacturer. Find local manufacturers that create products similar to yours and appeal to them to produce your invention for you. You may have to send them an introductory letter to begin with, explaining who you are and what you want from them.
    • After you hear back from your letter (snail mail or email), get your presentation ready. You will probably have to go present your invention to them and explain what you want from their company.
    • Make sure to leave them with a copy of your presentation and information so that they can review it even after you have left.
    • Emphasize why and how your invention will not only help people, but make the manufacturer lots of money. They are business people like you, and want to know what they get on their end of the deal if they partner with you.
  4. Produce your invention. Once you get a manufacturer on board with your invention, start mass-producing it! Although it will probably be best to start in small batches (your manufacturing company will talk to you about this), you can start creating your invention in the hundreds or thousands.
  5. Advertise your invention. You’ve gotten everything down; your patent, your prototype, a manufacturer, and finally your invention has been mass-produced. Find ways to advertise it to get the maximum selling potential.
    • Meet with local business owners and store managers to discuss selling your product with them. You can show your presentation to explain why doing so is a great option for their business in addition to helping a local entrepreneur.
    • Create advertisements for your invention. Invest the help of a local graphic designer to create pictures and videos that have people begging to buy your product!
    • Find ways to show your advertisement in your area. Many newspapers, TV stations, and local radio stations are all able to advertise your product for a small fee.
    • Spread the word among your friends and family. Getting the people you’re closest with onboard with your idea will help to get word of your invention out and about into new communities and populations.
    • Hold local information sessions and booths and entrepreneurial conferences and business fairs. Look into the cost for having a booth to advertise your product at conventions near you.[4]

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Sources and Citations