Unfortunately, the story I’m about to describe is pretty typical. A good friend of ours, Tina, came into the office yesterday. She always has an idea she wants to share with us and this time was no different. I never mind giving her some tips, but my first one is almost always the same: study the marketplace. Did she really have an original idea? I could tell that it was going to take some time for her to get around to doing so. So I took it upon myself to show her just how easy it is – because truly, it’s not at all hard to figure out if your idea is indeed a new one!
We used Google to do a search under the ‘Shopping’ tab. Within two minutes, we found an idea that had the same concept as hers. Realizing that sleeping bags often become too hot, she imagined designing a bag with multiple layers of covers. That way, if the user was too hot, they could simply pull back a layer. She’d gone down to a local store to see the product existed; it wasn’t sold there. But within two minutes, we’d confirmed that such a product did exist. I then visited the USPTO website to discover if any intellectual property had been filed on the idea. After typing in “multiple layer sleeping bag” under a prior art search, we discovered there was.
It’s such a simple task, but so many people don’t do it. It baffles me. People are so overcome with excitement about their new idea they’ve already dialed an attorney’s office! Learn how to use these search engines. Check to see if your idea doesn’t already exist every time you come up with a new one! You will save yourself so much time and effort.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 30 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight,
a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas
and the skills needed to succeed. You can listen to the weekly radio show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media outlets find you for news stories.