New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.
Common resolutions include: (1) Spending more time with friends and family; (2) Fitting in fitness; (3) Kicking a bad habit; (4) Enjoying life more; (5) Getting out of debt; (6) Learning something new; (7) Helping others; and (8) Getting organized.
What if you could resolve to do one thing that could single-handedly effect a number of these changes. Have you ever considered filing a patent application on that quirky idea you have stashed away in the back of your mind? If thoughtfully considered and properly pursued, patent protection can be a very rewarding asset. In addition to providing you with financial freedom, the process of seeking patent protection affords a sense of entrepreneurialship and allows you, as the inventor, to learn more about something that you are passionate about. Although acquiring a patent marks only the beginning of your road to success, the financial freedom, realized by a successful patent coupled with your internal dedication and perseverance, provides you with the ability to spend more time with friends and family, to enjoy life more, to get out of debt, and to help others.
With the foregoing in mind, always thoroughly consider the following factors before applying for a patent:
- Patent research. Make sure your idea isn't infringing on someone else's patent. To do that, you should consider conducting a "preliminary patent search." This step will help ensure that your idea hasn't already been patented. You can either hire an expert to help you or perform this step yourself.
- You should develop a basic prototype to determine your product's functionality. This ensures you have a close-to-final product when you do file for a patent - changing materials or mechanics is difficult once your patent's been filed.
- Market research. Define your market and determine how large it is. If it's too small, your product may not be commercially viable.
- Cost to manufacture. Determine how much it will cost to manufacture your product. If it costs more to make than the market is willing to pay, your invention is just a money pit.
Always remember, success has never been realized by those who fear to try. So, once you've determined there are no roadblocks to commercial success, put yourself out there and reach for your dreams. Make 2016 the year that will forever change your life in a positive way!