I recently had the pleasure of interviewing “Inventor-Mentor” Jack Lander, one of the most experienced advisors in our community. As President of the United Inventors Association, popular Inventor’s Digest columnist, author, and patent holder, there’s little he hasn’t accomplished and few topics he isn’t versed in. He’s an excellent resource I hope you take advantage of – excerpts of our interview have been compiled here!
It’s a question I’m not sure I’ve written about with enough detail. How DO you get started? What are the first steps to consider? The inventing process often seems monumental, but Jack assures that you’ve just got to jump right in.
“Marketing expert companies will try to convince you that they have access to some new and inaccessible resources. But in truth, all the information you need to get started is at your disposal. I would recommend, after having just come up with an idea, to briefly perform a Google patent search. Analyze what turns up. There are over 7 million patents in existence, and 70 million claims. Checking out the preliminary scene may highlight any immediate issues.”
But don’t assume that because you haven’t found a similar patent or claim in existence, it doesn’t exist.
“You will obviously need to do more thorough work, but you don’t need to immediately hire a lawyer to assist you. Lawyers are the least likely of individuals to discourage an enthusiastic paying inventor.”
There are many other ways to quickly (and cheaply) determine if your product possesses what Jack deems the most important component – marketability.
“Don’t ask your friends for their opinion. Don’t ask your family. You need to know if someone is going to be willing to reach in his or her own pocket and pay for your product. Is your product desirable? And if so, how much would someone be willing to pay for your product? This “market research” can be conducted at the mall – any location in which objectivity will be applied.”
Although there are more professional avenues to pursue, such as paying for a University to conduct an in-depth analysis, Jack shrugs them off.
“If you have the funds – okay. But what the responses miss is the “gut” aspect. They’re conducted from an academic standpoint, which is completely valid, but limited.”
The data is without heart.
Another way to quickly gain a perspective on your idea is again, through Google.
“Try and find other similar products. If fifty or forty turn up, but none are actually on the market, then a huge red flag has been raised. There may be something inherently off about the idea. It might be before its time, but something is clearly wrong if it isn’t being produced.”
To be continued…
Click here to listen to the interview.