Do you have a great idea for an invention and you’re wondering what the next steps are?
Let the experts at Raven IP help you with the best advice as we step you through the 4 steps.
So you’ve got an idea and before you start telling everyone, the first step is making sure your idea is protected.
Whether you’re wanting to market and produce the invention yourself or licence it to another company, the best method of making money from your invention and to assure that someone won’t steal your idea is to file a patent or design with the Australian Patent Office.
While this seems like a daunting task, be assured that the team at Raven IP are here to help and will guide you through the process.
The first step is research, research, research!
Step 1 – Do Your Research
At different times throughout the life of your product or process. You will be required to explore your idea from a business and legal point of view. Forewarned is forearmed!
Complete an initial patent search
You can never do too much research when it comes to identifying if your new idea has already been taken. The last thing you want to do is spend a fortune on protecting an invention for which a patent had already been filed or a similar product produced. This is where an initial patentability search is important.
Research your market
Researching the target market for your inventive product is also important. Just because you personally think the market is ready for your new gizmo doesn’t mean it will be a success. Only a very small percentage of patented inventions ever become a commercial success. Proper research and planning will determine the potential of any product.
So before you invest valuable time and effort into patenting your invention, we highly recommend that you perform the required research to determine if your product will be a success. Types of research could include Google trend searches, surveys and identifying your competitors and their products.
Once you’re confident there is a market for your invention, it’s time to focus on manufacturing the product. The key in the manufacturing process is ensuring that the product can be produced at a reasonable cost in order to keep your retail price competitive.
Step 2: Make a Prototype
The next step in the process is creating a prototype.
What is a prototype? In basic terms, it’s a simple model of your invention that showcases its features. This aims to demonstrate the design of your invention when introducing it to prospective licensees and potential investors.
It’s important to note that we don’t recommend filing a patent before creating a prototype. You never know how or if your invention will work until you build it. Creating a prototype will identify any flaws in your design and may also identify if anything is missing you were to patent the idea before confirming these features, it will likely be too late for a change of mind.
Step 3: File a Patent or Design
The third step in the process is filing a Patent or Design to protect your product.
A patent will protect how an item works or the product or process from which the idea is developed. A design will simply protect the visual features of the product or how the item looks to the eye.
It’s possible to draft and file the patent or design application yourself. However a patent or design can stand or fall by the quality of the drafted specification, so excellence in drafting has always been a key focus for Raven IP. The filed documents are legal documents and we also recommend hiring a patent expert if you want to get it right the first time.
Generally, if an invention is very valuable, there will be someone that will try to infringe your rights. So if your patent application isn’t professionally written, a competitor will be able to find loopholes and exploit them.
So we highly recommended that you get legal help from the start and avoid any headaches in the future.
If you’re shopping around for a patent attorney, follow these steps to help you choose the best patent professional:
- Do your research, you must be happy knowing that you are receiving professional advice and the person sitting on the other side of the desk understands your invention. Handing your baby over to a complete stranger can be difficult, you need to be confident that they will take care of your invention and give it the attention it deserves
- Ensure the person you are dealing with is a registered Australian Patent and Trademark Attorney.
- Check their technical background, especially if your patent is complicated.
- Talk about fees and the process. Generally, a smaller patent firm will be less expensive and can work more closely with you. It’s also ideal to know all of the costs upfront, this will ensure that there are no rude surprises in the mail
Step 4: Market Your Invention
In the last step, it’s time to take your product to market.
We recommend starting with a Business Plan. Which will detail how you’ll make money, manufacturing details, how will it sell and more.
In terms of manufacturing, you will need to decide whether you manufacture and sell the product yourself or licence it to another company. If you do licence the product, you will need to negotiate contracts and a royalty fee. This can be a daunting task and seeking professional assistance is always recommended. Having someone else manufacture and sell your product is likely to be less stress-free without the burden of setting up and running a business structure. It could also potentially make more money in the future or at least provide a steady income stream.
You’re branding and packaging is also very important. A catchy brand name and well-designed packaging can help get you noticed. Always consider protecting your unique brand or logo by filing a trade mark. A registered trade mark adds value to your business – registration is a tangible asset that can be sold, licensed or assigned to other parties. At Raven IP our Trade Mark Attorneys are committed to gaining our clients the best possible protection for their brands.
In the end, it’s important to consider that creating a product from scratch is a long process but if you’re patient, the reward will be well worth the time spent.