While searching for a positive way to break her son of thumbsucking, Andrea Van Ness remembered thumbpuppets her grandmother made and used instead of nasty tasting ointments to break her of thumbsucking when she was a child. So Van Ness created and introduced the Thumbuddy to Love — thumb puppets which use positive encouragement to break children of thumbsucking. In addition to the playful puppet characters, Ballerina Sue and Fireman Fred, there is an educational book and an award certificate.
Dr. Howard Wrignt rekindled his interest in a whistle he invented when he was a boy while he was practicing dentistry. His boyhood invention became All-Weather Safety Whistles and they are the loudest whistles on the market. Wright sells though retail outlets as well as to the Department of Defense, Police Departments, and Women’s Groups on college campuses.
After being told he would never walk again because of a broken back he suffered in a car accident, Terry Pullaro refused to accept his plight. He worked hard to rebuild his body and eventually was strong enough to focus his energy on improving his golf swing. He invented the Mojo to put magic back in the golf swing.
Are you one of these individuals who has a great idea just waiting to get out? If you are, you are probably wondering how to do it — how to get your product from the idea stage to the market stage just as the successful inventors I just mentioned.
Let’s face it. Lots of good ideas never get off the ground because the inventor lacks the knowledge to take the concept from the mind to the marketplace. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Is it Original? First, start by making sure someone else hasn’t already thought of the idea. Simply because you haven’t seen it on the market, doesn’t mean it isn’t already out there. Because it takes time and money to bring a new product to market, you don’t want to go too far down the road only to learn your great idea is yesterday’s news. By the way, for every idea you have – 200 people have already thought of it before you. So do a Google search by using as many different terms as you can to describe your new invention to discover whether there is already something similar in the market.
Also, if you think your idea might be patentable conduct a patent search on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website. There is a free database that includes the names and front pages (description) of all patents since 1971.
What is patentable? Mere ideas are not patentable. Only useful products and processes can be patented, and you have to be able to describe it with such completeness as to enable others to make or practice and use it. Basically there are three types of patents: Utility patents which may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof; Design patents which may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and Plant patents which may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.