There are several books written for inventors. "From Concept to Market" by
Gary S. Lynn will help you decide whether to pursue your idea. Portions of
the book are in the form of a story about a novice who is getting advice
from an experienced inventor and manufacturer. If you are considering venturing
into the invention business for the first time, you will relate to the novice's
reaction to the difficulties he encounters. The book also gives basic
instructions and advice on getting started with an invention.
If you've decided to take your chances in the invention business, get a copy
of Entrepreneur Magazine's "Bringing Your Product to Market" by Don Debelak.
It has some of the best, down-to-earth advice I've seen in any book. There
is information on several methods to make your own prototypes with sources
for learning more. But, most importantly, the book is full of examples from
real world product development that illustrate the cost and work involved.
Practical estimating guides are included along with ballpark costs for various
manufacturing methods. This book is very thorough, but it is still easy to
Though you should use a patent attorney, this you can learn a lot about the
process from the book "Patent it Yourself" by David Pressman.
Inventor's Digest and Entrepreneur magazines are both good sources of information. Inventor's Digest, as the name implies, concentrates on inventing, while Entrepreneur has more information about starting a business. However, it has many excellent articles by Don Debelak and by Tomima Edmark.
You can begin patent research on your own using online patent servers. These
sites have the full text of patents starting around the 1970's as well as
images of each page. You can search by classification or use keywords that
describe your invention. The patent office site also includes images of older
patents, but these can not be searched by keyword.
And, if you still think having a patent is an indication of the value of
an invention, check out the "Wacky Patent of the Month" archives.
Authur D. Little Enterprises is the company we mentioned in our "Overview of Inventing." They accept and evaluate ideas for new products. If yours makes the cut with their very stringent requirements, they will develop and promote your idea for you.
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