In addition to excellent IP protection, the commercial reality of your ideas will come down to the quality of your innovation strategy. Your business may have a brilliant idea, but that will not be enough. You will require know-how of how to develop and market the idea commercially. This could involve a number of disciplines, including research and development, marketing, financial management and manufacturing.
It will be no surprise to you to learn that developing a new product and service is at the high-risk end of innovation. Very few inventions pay their way. In fact, the vast majority of product development in the marketplace occurs when people see an idea and improve on it. Only a small minority could be classed as truly breaking ground.
When it comes to manufacturing, some inventors or creators try to find a manufacturer to make the product under licence, where they pay royalties. But finding such support can be an overwhelming task. To do this you could consider using the services of an invention promotion firm or, in the case of being an author, a literary agent. Again, one should tread carefully . Some operators who say they are there to help you, start with a series of glowing remarks about the market potential of an idea and then, before you know it, their fees get higher and higher. Before getting excited about the hype, do your research on their track record and the legitimacy of their business. One key question you might ask is how many of their clients have made the grade and generated money? Be wary of any unsubstantiated claims; find out what their clients are saying about them. A ˜tell tale indicator of a poor operator is that they make massive claims about your idea without serious technical assessment and they want an upfront fee. So avoid paying upfront fees.
Often, it is difficult to distinguish between a fraudulent invention promotion firm and a legitimate one, perhaps because unscrupulous and honest firms often use many similar advertising and sales techniques, market evaluations and contract strategies. They often use a toll-free number and mostly target independent inventors.
In consumer protection legislation, businesses are often required to report on the number and percentage of successful clients, that is, where the client has made more money than the fees they have paid. Again, use a reputable attorney or solicitor to safeguard your interests.
To summarize, there are a number of smart things you can do to make the process of innovation a positive and enjoyable one:
Ask for proof of claims, including special relationships with appropriate manufacturers, before signing any contract.
Before having a market evaluation report undertaken, ask what specific information will be included.
At a very early stage enquire about the total cost of services. Avoid paying any upfront fees. The more reputable firms rely more commonly on the royalties that arise from a successful licensing.
Make sure your patent is watertight by making sure that no other party has access to this idea.
Check with Consumer Protection to learn if a business is obligated to disclose success and rejection rates. Rejection rates are a percentage of all ideas or inventions that were found unacceptable. A low rejection rate would indicate that an invention promotion firm is not being tough enough on whose case they are supporting.
Tune right out of high-pressure sales tactics.
Contact Fair Trading or Consumer Affairs to learn whether there are any unresolved consumer complaints about the firm.
Make sure your written contract contains all the agreed terms before you sign. Have the agreement reviewed by a legal adviser.