Research and Development

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Practical or MechanicalScientific or AnalyticSkill Level 4Skill Level 5

What is an Inventor

Although becoming a successful inventor can be tough, it is doable. As a would-be entrepreneur, you have an endless resource to tap: your mind. But the process is a bit more complicated than just coming up with ideas. You have to know how to turn those ideas into a working product and how to Future Growth Static protect your intellectual property.

Study and become a student of logic. Understanding basic logic principles greatly helps with Step 2.
Brainstorm your ideas. Study how things work and note problems and inefficiencies. Then come up with solutions.

Conduct your own research. You need to make sure your idea is original, and you need to know the market for your product.

Decide if you will apply for a patent. A patent protects your idea by preventing others from copying it. However, the process is long and expensive, so make sure your idea is worth the money and effort before you apply.

Write a business plan. This should include information about the product, your company, customers, market, competition, and risks involved. See eHow article, "How to Write a Business Plan" for help.

Market your invention. Get some professional-looking brochures. Consider a website. Send personalized letters to companies who sell products similar to yours.

Realize you have a potential to make money. You have several options here: sell the rights and patent to your idea altogether, "rent" the right to use your idea through a licensing agreement, or create, market and sell your idea yourself.

Beginners should hire a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property law to help apply for a patent and negotiate with companies interested in your product.

In addition to being creative, successful inventors must also be effective businesspeople.

 Developing a useful product is only the first step in the process.

The inventor must also be able to negotiate a favorable licensing contract with an established manufacturer, or have the wherewithal to become an entrepreneur and go into the business of manufacturing her ideas herself.

Designs must be developed which avoid infringing on existing patents, and they must themselves be protected from others who would copy them.

Knowledge of the field in which an invention lies makes an inventor’s life much easier, both in developing new products and assessing the value of inventions as they are developed.

As a full-time career, invention provides an uncertain living for all but the most talented.

Developing new products is time-consuming and often expensive, and income doesn’t start to flow until a marketable prototype is ready.

Many [inventors] work part-time as inventors, spending the rest of their time in jobs as engineers, corporate research scientists, or in academia.

Still, a good idea can be worth pursuing; some of today’s most successful companies were founded in basement workshops.

Did You Know?

All of these everyday items were also invented by Australians!

  • First full-length feature film (1906)

[The Story of the Kelly Gang, which ran for just over an hour screened at the Athenaeum Hall in 1906 was the world's first feature length film. ]

  • Surf lifesaving reels (1906)

Surf Reel

  • Sunshine header harvester (1914)

  • Speedo swimwear (1929)

  • Rotary clothes line (1946)

  • Wine casks (1965)


[The wine cask was invented in 1965 by Thomas Angrove. Described in the patent application as 'improved container and pack' for liquids, the 1 gallon polyethelene bladder in a corrugated cardboard box did not have the tap we enjoy today but was cut open and resealed with a peg.]

  • Staysharp knives (1970)

  • Racecam live television broadcast (1979)

  • Wall-mounted Miniboil machines (1981)

  • Dual-flush toilets (1982)

  • Baby safety capsules (1984)

Baby capsule





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