The moment when an entrepreneur first conjures the idea he or she believes can launch or transform a business is an exciting time, but it must be handled with careful discretion. Although many will be eager to get their product or process out to the masses as soon as possible, several key questions must inform invention disclosure strategies.
Realizing the role patent ownership plays in insulating a promising idea from competitive threats is a crucial first step, but applications should not be filed without a clear understanding of the commercial context inventions will exist within. According to Entrepreneur.com contributor Stephen Key, prospective applicants would do well to ask themselves the following questions:
- What similar ideas are already in the marketplace? And how are they being promoted?
- Can customer criticisms be leveraged to create a more refined final product?
- How can the emerging invention be differentiated from existing offerings?
For instance, perhaps a more ergonomic design could help inventors distinguish themselves in a seemingly saturated market segment by honoring customer preferences which have long been overlooked. In any case, applicants will want to be sure they are gaining protection for a specialized invention that has a clear path to market success already identified.
It's also worth noting that potential investors will be asking many of these same questions, according to Forbes. As such, entrepreneurs need to compile applications which pair inventive insights with sound business acumen.