Want to Patent an Idea? Consider These 3 Tips

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As I sat at the kitchen table excitedly drawing what I thought was the product I was looking for but couldn’t find, I thought about patenting this idea. I hadn’t even finished my sketches when that thought crossed my mind. But I knew that this product would solve my problem of preventing lost hair from moving from my brush to the contents of my bag, while keeping things organized. I also knew that if I solved this problem for myself, it would solve the same problem for many others.

I tested this theory by doing three different surveys among strangers. I received nothing but positive feedback and some advice on colors and patterns. I asked them to give the polls, but a few men joined in, which was very encouraging. At that point, I felt confident preparing to move forward with filing an application to patent my idea. I was so excited that I shared my plans with a partner. She didn’t think she would get a patent for my idea. But the optimist in me did, and I moved on.

Although my partner did not give me any reason to feel like her, through conversations with other people over the years, I am aware that there are people who have reservations about applying for a patent. Reservations vary. Some people believe that their application will not be approved, so they do not try. But according to the latest USPTO statistics, approximately 52% of all U.S. patents are approved. In 2020, 646,244 patent applications were filed and 388,900 were approved. It’s a good approval rating.

There is also the idea of ​​not being able to afford a patent attorney. If they apply without using a lawyer, the process will be difficult for them, and they think that no one will buy their product, they will not be able to sell their product while the application is pending, and so on.

Don’t let your misconceptions and fears stop you from applying for a patent. Follow these three tips:

1. Just do it

As the Nike slogan says, “Just Do It.” Don’t deprive yourself of what could be the next big thing. As long as you doubt, this idea could make such a positive difference in the lives of so many people. Filing a patent application is not difficult, but as with anything else, you need to make sure you have all your “I’s” dotted and all your “T’s” crossed. Before you even get to the point of submitting an application, be sure to do your research using the USPTO website, as well as Google, to make sure your idea doesn’t exist. If applying on your own is too overwhelming for you, hire a lawyer. There are patent attorneys and affordable trademarks. UpCounsel has great patent and trademark attorneys and they are affordable.

Related: 5 things every entrepreneur should consider before filing a patent

2. Ask for other people’s opinions

Don’t sell yourself short. To raise your concern about “will anyone buy my product?” to rest, let your family, friends, and colleagues know about your idea, and let them know. Have them sign a confidentiality agreement first. SurveyMonkey is one of the resources I used to do my surveys. You can also use SurveySparrow. If you share your ideas with others, they can give you the confidence you need to move forward with applying for a patent. Another benefit is that you can also receive tips that can help you improve your idea and make it even more marketable.

Related: 3 Basics to Presenting a Patent That Really Has Value

3. Sell your product

Another misconception is that you can’t sell your product while your patent application is pending. This is absolutely false. It is not a requirement to patent a product or service related to an invention before you can sell it. U.S. law provides for a 12-month “grace period” to apply for patent protection after public use or sale.

Nothing happens overnight. Don’t be disappointed when you don’t get as many sales as you want. You have a new product that no one, or not many people, know about. Personally, I find marketing to be the hardest part of the journey, but don’t let that put you off. Try to be creative with your marketing plan, and if that doesn’t work, keep trying different things until you find the one that works best for your product.

There’s this meme I found on Instagram years ago and it was labeled “Where It All Began”. It showed how Apple, Google and Amazon started in a garage. Harley and Disney started in small shacks, and Mattel also started in a very small building. The thing is, they all started small and slow, and it took years to start what we now know as big brands. Don’t rush it. I have learned more patience and appreciate trial and error. Enjoy the trip and learn as much as you can.

Related: Protect your critical inventions with a tight budget

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