Many people wonder how they can turn a great idea into a profitable product, service, or business. They need guidance on how to convert this idea into a reality. I found a good book to facilitate the process, The Mom Inventors Handbook: How to Turn Your Great Idea Indo the Next Big Thing (Expanded 2nd edition, McGraw-Hill Education) by Tamara Monosoff.
The book captures relevant resources and timely advice on the issues associated with launching an idea into a money-maker, including chapters on how to:
· conduct market research.
* take the first steps into being an entrepreneur.
* take the first steps into being an entrepreneur.
· protect yourself with patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
· develop a prototype, and design your product.
· get funded from a number of sources.
· sell, promote, and market your product.
· find a business partner.
Monosoff has a lot of experience in these areas and has penned a number of bestselling books, including Secrets of Millionaire Moms and Your Million-Dollar Dream. She’s appeared on Today, Good Morning, America, The View, CNN, NBC Nightly News, and the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
One section I found particularly useful were her 10 tips to make doing patent research easier. She highlighted these five sites as useful resources:
US Patent and Trademark Office:
She also offers a video tutorial on the subject at:
Here are her 10 tips:
1. “When you are using patent search sites, there is usually a search window. In this search window, type in the most descriptive word(s) possible, including the function of your product (that is, what it does) to help you get started.
2. “Once you find patents for items that are similar to yours, you will see that most of the sites offer an image of the patent filing and an option to read the text. Look at the photo first. I click on the images, as I find it easier to determine how closely related this patent is to my idea by first viewing an image.
3. “Look at the patent number and figure out whether it is a utility or a design patent. If the first character in the patent number is a D, it is a design patent.
“A design patent protects only the precise design of the product. A utility patent covers the function, task, or process that the product achieves…
4. “Look at the date issued. If it is a utility patent that was issued more than 20 years ago, you know that this patent has now expired (the term of a design patent is 14 years). This is good news and bad news – good because the idea is not owned by someone else and you can use it, and bad because it is now in the public domain and therefore is not something to which you are likely to be able to claim patent rights.
5. “Note: I have found Google Patents to be the easiest to use, as there is no additional download needed.
6. “When reading a specific patent, read the section called “claims.” This is the most relevant section of a patent document. This is where you will find the “how,” the part of the invention to which other people have been granted the rights. Keep in mind that a utility patent is filed not on a product, but on specific claims about that product.
7. “When you find a patent that is related to your product, you have discovered the first bread crumbs in a trail that you should follow to get closer to the patent(s) that are similar to your product invention. Once you find relevant patents, record the patent numbers, as you will want to use this process in more than one patent search engine, and some may produce different results.
8. “Within each patent filing, you will find a section called “Citations” or “Patent References” (or “Field of Search” in some patents that are less detailed). These sections list the other related patents that the attorney or agent who filed the patent you are reading used to show that this filing was unique. As you review this list, click the link or copy and search the patent numbers for the others that appear most closely related to yours. After doing this for a while, you will gain an incredible amount of understanding of what is out there today and how professionals have written claims.
9. “As you follow step 8, print or note the patents you believe to be closest to your product so that you can save yourself time if you later hire an attorney. You can present your own research, helping to expedite the attorney’s efforts.
10. “There is a temptation to read the summary of the invention and skip the claims, as these often sound legalistic. Read the claims. These are the keys to what may be patentable about your product. Print and highlight those that seem to overlap the most with key aspects of your product idea. From what you learn, you may be able to modify your method to further differentiate your product.”
SPEAKERS TOOLKIT FOR AUTHORS
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014
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