Madhu from India writes:
I have ideas about products. I am looking for companies who are willing to listen to my ideas and make the products and pay me in return. I cannot afford to pay for Patenting. Is there any way I can find companies and make them listen to my ideas. I need your help and guidance in this matter. Help me to find a correct path."
RICH - The fact is, brilliant ideas are just that, ideas, until they get turned into salable products.
Whether you want to produce and market your invention yourself or license it to another company, the only way to make money from your invention and to guarantee that no one will steal your idea is to file a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Simply having an "idea" is worthless, you need to have proof of when you came up with the idea for your invention. Write down everything you can think of that relates to your invention, from what it is and how it works to how you'll make and market it.
Write your idea down in an inventor's journal and have it signed by a witness. This journal will become your bible throughout the patent process.
Just because you haven't seen your invention doesn't mean it doesn't already exist. Before you hire a patent attorney or agent, complete a rudimentary search for free at USPTO to make sure no one else has patented your idea.
Before you invest too much time and money into patenting your invention, do some preliminary research of your target market. Is this something people will actually buy? Once you know there's a market, make sure your product can be manufactured and distributed at a low enough cost so that your retail price is reasonable. You can determine these costs by comparing those of similar products currently on the market.
You will then need to make a prototype. A prototype is a model of your invention that puts into practice all of the things you have written in your inventor's journal. This will demonstrate the design of your invention when you present it to potential manufacturers and licensees.
You can write the patent and fill out the application yourself, but do not file it yourself until you have had a skilled patent professional look it over first. You can also file a provisionary patent (Cost $100 USD) that will give you one year to find a manufacturer and market your product. This will also give you 'patent pending' status.
For more detailed information, check out the USPTO web site.
Photo by rubegoldberg.com.