From the article "How to Protect Your Idea or Intellectual Property" http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol81/protectidea.htm
here are some steps you need to take:
1. Consult a patent lawyer and check if your idea can be patented.
2. Keep extensive records tracking the development of your idea.
3. Conduct an extensive research to find out if there are similar patents.
4. Document where, how and to whom you showed your idea.
5. Do your own market research if your idea is marketable
6. Explore the possibility of developing the product yourself, or licensing someone else to make the product for you.
To bring your idea to market, here are some tips from the article "How to Get Your Consumer Invention to Market" http://www.powerhomebiz.com/012006/invention.htm
- The Ideabook = Keep a bound ideabook of your invention idea. Date your entries.
- Get it Notarized = get it officially confirmed that you conceived your invention idea on a particular date, and have your notes notarized.
- Seek and Search = Do your own patent search to ascertain if your invention is original and prospectively patentable.
- Create the Initial Prototype = Use simple materials to rig it up, to see if it works.
- Get Educated = Educate yourself on the inventing process. Go to a bookstore or inventorhelp.com and review the plethora of books written on the subject.
- The Non-Disclosure Form = Agreement signed between you and anyone you reveal your invention to.
- Analyze Costs to Produce = Ascertain what the costs will be.
- The Evaluation Process = Analyze the benefits and features, strengths and weaknesses of your invention.
- Get a Professional Prototype = Have professional prototypes made, the quality of which can be shown to potential retail buyers.
- Protect Your Idea = Apply for a provisional patent yourself.
- The Non-Provisional Patent = Your patent attorney files your non-provisional patent application.
Options for Marketing
- Licensing = The inventor has the choice to license the invention to a manufacturer in exchange for a royalty percentage in sales.
- Manufacturing = Manufacturing and distributing your invention entails higher financial risk but can reap greater profits.
Here are some books that can help you:
From Patent to Profit by Bob De Matteis
Protecting Your #1 Asset : Creating Fortunes from Your Ideas : An Intellectual Property Handbook
Patents and How to Get One : A Practical Handbook
How to Register Your Own Trademark : With Forms
Patent It Yourself
Protecting Your Ideas : The Inventor's Guide to Patents