Are you confident that your product is unique? That a similar one doesn’t exist?
Brian Gates of DesignMyIdea.com confirms what might seem obvious, but isn’t often put into practice: the more research you conduct at the beginning of your adventure, the better off you will be in the long run. It might be disappointing or disheartening to learn that your idea isn’t as original as you imagined. But it’s a much less painful lesson than others.
“The good news is, you shouldn’t give up hope if you discover a similar product already in existence. A lot of products these days are based around the same idea, but use different technology. What is the other product doing and what is its intended use? After answering these questions, you can assess your options,” Gates explains.
But you need not immediately give up. Gates is the founder of Design My Idea – another design firm that offers extensive services to the inventing community. It’s safe to say he’s done and seen it all. So what does he believe – when showing your idea to a company, is it generally more successful to use a prototype or will a sales sheet suffice?
“The frank answer is, it depends. It depends on the complexity of your product, largely. I’ve found that a sales sheet generally works for getting your foot in the door, for garnering interest. But most companies will want to see a working prototype before committing to the idea in the final stages of negotiation. They want something tangible, especially with complex prototypes.”
What Gates does want you to do is use the Internet.
“It’s the best place to start, absolutely. If later on you believe that your product is unique, then I recommend hiring a reputable patent attorney to conduct an even more thorough patent search. But before that, use your own skills, however basic you think they may be. It’s not worth it to invest before!”
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