Delay Means Disaster Overcoming Challenges in Inventing

An image showing an inventor avoiding common pitfalls in the invention process. The background features various stages of development like patent filing, prototype creation, and market research. In the foreground, the inventor, wearing work overalls and using a map to navigate through a maze filled with symbols of obstacles like money pits, time traps, and roadblocks. The image highlights the importance of following the correct order of steps to bring an invention to market. The overall tone is educational and cautionary.
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To American inventors, inventing can be seen as an adventure, a dream, and a huge challenge. It’s often all of these. Getting a product into the marketplace is a grand accomplishment and should carry a great sense of pride because there are many obstacles to overcome.

Avoiding Delays

One of the biggest obstacles that will derail the entire process and waste a ton of money is delaying your progress. Life gets in the way for everyone when trying to accomplish a goal. But as an inventor, you need to be self-disciplined enough to get back on track. This could mean making a “to-do” list with a calendar to ensure you hit your milestones on time. Many inventors have lost everything due to delays, whether anticipated or not. These delays can become disasters that kill dreams.

The Importance of Order

Delays can happen for other reasons too, not just because of unexpected life events. A significant contributor to delays in getting to market is making important decisions in the wrong order. For example, skipping ahead to working on prototypes, working with an engineer, or building a business plan/budget before filing a Provisional Patent Application can be disastrous. Too much money gets spent before the product is patent pending, which would help protect your idea. Then, all of that money is lost when the inventor finds out someone else got the idea to market first. It happens all the time.

Steps to Success

To avoid these pitfalls, remember that order matters. Your chances of success improve if you complete the necessary steps in the right order:

  1. Search Thoroughly: Do as much searching as you can first. There are many resources for searching, from Google Patent to basic search engines exploring the public domain.
  2. Build a Rough Prototype: If you can, create a rough prototype using inexpensive materials.
  3. Get a Comprehensive Search: Have a neutral, independent third party complete a comprehensive search. This should cover the USPTO and international databases, as well as a product search. For more information, visit Searchquest Patents.
  4. Contact a Patent Attorney: Only after receiving the search report should you contact a registered patent attorney. If you don’t get the search done on your terms, they will do it anyway and charge you for it.
  5. File a Provisional Patent Application: Get the Provisional Patent Application filed so that you are patent pending as soon as possible.

Only then should you move on to other steps, like working on the proof of concept prototype or establishing a budget plan. Forget the full business plan for now; you don’t have a business yet and won’t for a while. Conduct market research on your industry to understand any barriers to entry. Every industry has something.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

I hear many stories about inventors failing on their quest. They spend too much time and money on research and prototyping, only to lose everything when they discover something similar already exists in the marketplace or a patent was filed while they were working on their prototype. Thousands of dollars can go down the drain for people who can’t ever make up that loss.

Remember, there are many innovative people out there. Don’t be naïve and assume no one else can see the same problem you see and come up with a solution that they can patent as well.

Stay Informed

Want more advice on how to successfully get your product to market? Follow Invent-America on social media, and we will keep you informed about common issues everyday inventors face. Check out the other resources we recommend below:

  1. Invent America Radio: Invent America radio is always looking for inventors to be on the show. It’s free for the American Inventor to join us. Just fill out the form on the website: Invent-America.
  2. Service Providers: Inventors need multiple service providers to get a product to market. One bad service provider can make the difference between success and failure. If you need access to high-quality, vetted service providers, let us know. We have multiples in all categories.
  3. Inventors’ Roundtable: Join us at the monthly Inventors Roundtable meetings. There are two virtual meetings a month where inventors can meet and visit with other inventors from around the country. The meetings are free, and inventors learn a lot from talking to other inventors. Visit Inventors Roundtable for more information
An image depicting an inventor navigating the challenges of bringing a product to market. The background features various stages of product development, including rough prototypes, patent searches, and market research. In the foreground, the inventor, wearing work overalls and surrounded by tools and prototypes, is seen organizing tasks on a calendar and to-do list. Symbols of obstacles like roadblocks and pitfalls are subtly integrated into the background, highlighting the challenges inventors face. The overall tone is motivational and educational.
An image depicting an inventor navigating the challenges of bringing a product to market. The background features various stages of product development, including rough prototypes, patent searches, and market research. In the foreground, the inventor, wearing work overalls and surrounded by tools and prototypes, is seen organizing tasks on a calendar and to-do list. Symbols of obstacles like roadblocks and pitfalls are subtly integrated into the background, highlighting the challenges inventors face. The overall tone is motivational and educational.
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