At invention contests, like Everyday Edisons and American Inventor, hopeful inventors are asked to bring their product ideas and inventions in to compete for a shot at winning the grand prize — having their idea successfully commercialized with royalties.
Here’s what you need to consider before deciding to enter:
1. Do a simple online search using any one of the search engines to see if the idea is already in the public domain as an announcement, product, or patent.
2. Do a patent search for prior art using the USPTO.gov site.
3. Investigate the company running the contest.
4. Make sure that you understand the legal aspects of entering the contest by having a lawyer review and comment on the contest’s contract.
5. Be prepared to use the presentation time to briefly identify exactly what the idea, invention or product is and what it does – no selling or scenario is necessary.
6. Prepare presentation materials or prototypes.
7. Practice and time your presentation.
8. Practice answering questions about your idea.
9. Be prepared to deal with winning or losing.
10. Contact an inventors’ support group in your area and learn the secrets of successful product development.
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