Archives for December 2012

Top Three Mediums for Marketing Your Invention

If you have a niche product or service, the potential for profits is great. However, simply obtaining a patent doesn’t guarantee sales. In fact, less than two percent of patents issued ever made real money, according to idearights.com.  How can you effectively market your innovative idea? Consider the following top three mediums for marketing your invention.

  1. Online Marketing. Think beyond just setting up a basic website. Draft a complete Internet marketing strategy that includes search engine optimization, social media and e-mail.  Think strategically about your website. Design content that will attract potential customers, corporate partners and search engines. Have a “conversion” strategy and implement a method to track it. Consider Pay-Per-Click advertising to quickly generate traffic. Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter are popular choices. Target specific social media sites and actively participate. Remember, an abandoned social media page can hurt your reputation. Lastly, integrate your various strategies. Have “like” buttons on your blog pages, so your followers can post links to your website from their social media pages. Post links to YouTube video from your social media page.
  2. Test the Market with a Preexisting Platform.  An effective strategy to get your product noticed is to test its marketability. Doing this will get you noticed and help you determine how “sellable” your product is. Craigslist and eBay are probably the easiest and fastest ways to get your products listed and attract potential customers. You can also set up a “store” through sites like Cafepress that allow more customization in the layout. You’ll still have to drive traffic to your “store,” but the e-commerce infrastructure will already be in place.
  3. Find a Partner. The easiest way to market your invention is to license it to an established company. They will facilitate marketing, production and sales, and you’ll get a percentage of the profits. Licensing deals vary, but generally the inventor gets to keep all the patents and rights. Search online for invention contests. Many companies actively seek new inventions to sell. Work your local network. Join business clubs, Chambers of Commerce or other organizations that will help you make the right connections. Cold-calling is sometimes effective, but having a personal connection can go a long way in getting your foot in the door.

When you do get to pitch your idea, be sure you make a good impression with professional designs. Contact us for your patent drafting needs.

Do you know the difference between a utility patent and design patent?

One of the common questions asked by those looking to patent an idea or invention is: What is the difference between a utility patent and design patent? It is a good question and the answer is an important one to understand for all patent or would be patent holders.

First, it’s helpful to know the definitions of both types of patents. A utility patent is defined as an invention that is useful or that has beneficial or practical utility. In other words, it must have a use or function in the real world. Some examples of this might be machines or tools, whether they are mechanical, hand-operated or electrical. This also includes functional improvements on machines or processes.

So what is a design patent? A design patent is anything that improves the style or fashion of an already existing invention. That is to say anything that doesn’t change or improve the function of an object, but does change the look or style. Some examples of this might be a design that simply changes the shape of an existing object. This also includes non-obvious ornamental designs.

How do you tell the difference when considering which patent is right for you? The following are a set of good questions to ask yourself.

  • Are you trying to patent the way something looks, or the way something is used?
  • Does your invention already exist in the marketplace in some form? If so, is your improvement one of usability?
  • If your improvement is not one of usability, does it improve the design and look of the invention?

Remember, some inventions may qualify for both types of patents. You can always contact us for more information. We can put you in touch with an attorney and help to get you started on the right path. We work closely with some of the best IP law firms in the United States and internationally.

Finally, a good short hand way of remembering the difference between the two types of patents is to think of eye glasses. If you had invented bifocal lenses, your invention would require a utility patent, since these lenses change the way eyeglasses function. However, if you had invented the Coke-bottle style of eyeglass frames, that would require a design patent, as they change the way glasses look but do not affect their usability.

How to protect your idea or invention

How to protect your idea or invention from someone else stealing it?  Oh, sure, you only told a few people about it…(just friends and a couple of co-workers and the mailman?).  You’ve no need to worry.  None of those people would do such a thing.  These are nice upstanding citizens! Besides, you thought of it first. Everyone knows it.

Well, here’s some news big dreamer, there very well could be some people on this earth who have more drive, albeit evil thoughts, than you!  As brilliant as you are, haven’t you heard the old saw, “The early bird takes the worm?”  You certainly would not be the type to steal another person’s idea.  Your mother taught you better!

In the face of greed and opportunity, some people will not think twice about stealing your idea.  If they act nonchalant when you tell them, don’t be surprised what can happen after they get home and get on the phone to their attorney brother in law who knows someone who knows someone.

So just keep talking about your great idea.  Feel around to see what people think.  Make a homemade prototype in your basement and see what the mailman thinks.  Yup…keep talking and doing absolutely nothing about actually seeing your brilliant idea through.

What you don’t know is that the mailman is tired of delivering mail and his feet hurt cause he’s got bunions.  After he patent’s his idea (your idea), maybe he’ll send you a letter from Hawaii complaining about sunburn and weak drinks.  In the meantime you can jump around all you want screaming that someone stole your idea, and get a really good lawyer (not your brother-in-law) who can hopefully prove it.

Contact us instead of spouting off your idea to everyone!  Try to get your invention off the ground and patented properly.  Sure, most of your friends are just like you.  They, too, will think you have a great idea and wish they would have thought of it. Most of these people though, are too busy (like you?) to go off and try to patent your idea before you ever will…..or would they?  Take your rickety patent drawing to us, and we will take your idea, and put it right into your hands. Then, someday soon, you can go right to the mailbox and start picking up checks.