By Linda Lewis:
The Myth: A great idea is an invention.
The Reality: A great idea is…..an idea. An invention is the tool, technique, composition, method or device that makes that idea a reality. My six year old son told me, “Mom, I have an invention!” “Great!” I replied, “What is it?” “A car that gets 100 miles per gallon.” I told him, “That’s an idea, not an invention. When you build that car, I’ll patent it for you.”
A great idea is a great start. Now get to work. First do some searching to see if your idea is new. We recommend Google Scholar, because it has a very helpful format for searching patents. It’s important to know that you not only must have a new idea, it must be non-obvious. Several patents can be combined to make an idea obvious. Once you have determined that your idea is new and non-obvious, you need to work on a prototype. It doesn’t have to be the best embodiment, it just needs to demonstrate the concept. I’ve been impressed with what can be demonstrated with cardboard and duct tape. The new 3-D printers are making prototyping easier than ever. Then, when you’ve made that idea a reality, contact your patent attorney.