1. Rushing out to get a patent
You may feel like someone may steal your idea. Fight the temptation. A utility patent can easily cost you $8,000. Having a patent only buys you the right to stop someone else from using the idea. If there is no market for the invention, the money is wasted.
2. Publicly disclosing the invention without proper protection
You may be excited and proud of you idea. Maybe you want feedback. Don’t disclose the invention. It could jeopardize the future patentability of the invention. “Public disclosure” is not confined to publications in books and technical journals. Poster sessions, slides, lectures, seminars which are open to the public, letters, even conversations can count as a bar to patentability–depending on the country.
3. Thinking that you idea will be THE million dollar idea
Dream can come true and it could happen to you … could. It’s a numbers game. Increase your odds by striving to be serial inventor. It’s like getting base hits in baseball rather than swinging for the fences and getting a home run. Get a string of successes and keep the ideas flowing.
4. Falling in love with their idea, yes some babies are ugly
If you do get help from a mentor or consultant (with the proper NDA in place of course) don’t get mad if your idea gets criticized. You are not your ideas. Some ideas are better than others. It’s an idea, not “your baby”. Try to be objective.
5. Not doing a product search
I’ve had people tell me about their idea and in a matter of minutes I can find the product for sale on the internet. Learn to master the Google product search., look into Froogle: http://www.google.com/prdhp?hl=en&tab=wf
6. Not doing a patent search
So the product is not on the market. Is there a patent? Use Google patent search. It’s too easy to not do it. http://www.google.com/patents
7. Working with a “Invention Promotion” company that you did not check out with the BBB or FTC
I hear horror stories about people spending tens of thousands of dollars to wind up with nothing. Not all firms are created equal. Do your homework. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro21.shtm
8. Thinking that it’s easy money
If it were easy everybody would do it. You need to work hard and get educated. There will be times when you get down. Find a support network to keep yourself in the game. InventRight (http://www.inventright.com/) is a great resource to learn and find encouragement by listening to Stephen Key and Andrew Krauss on their podcasts http://www.blogtalkradio.com/inventRight
9. Not seeking out a mentor
you can learn the hard way or benefit from someone who’s been there. Try the Inventor’s Mentors Library http://theinventorsmentors.forumo.biz/index.htm
10. Not assessing your strengths and weaknesses
If you are sick, you go to a doctor. If you have no clue about fixing a toilet, you get a plumber. If you need help, get help! Don’t be too independent-stubborn-cheap. I can spend a lot of time and money trying to learn new software to make an animation video. Is it worth my time and money? Probably not. I got a quote for some work that would take a professional 30 hours to do. The quote was for about $15/hour. Time is money!
If you need some feedback or design help, check out my company Inspiration2Innovation.
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