Common Sense Inventing - Educational articles to help Inventors make informed decisions

Finding an Inventor group near you is a great resource to have at your disposal. Some groups have members that are lawyers, designers, engineers and other skills that can help you find success. I try and keep this listing of Inventor Groups as accurate as possible. If you see any that are wrong or missing please email me at rbrown@commonsenseinventing.com so I can correct it. Also looking to expand the International Inventor groups/clubs listing. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

National

United Inventors Association of the USA
1025 Connecticut Ave Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036
www.uiausa.org

National Congress of Inventor Organizations (NCIO)
8306 Wilshire Blvd., Ste 391
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
1-866-466-0253 FREE
ncio@inventionconvention.com
http://www.inventionconvention.com/ncio/
________________________________________
Alabama
Auburn Student Inventors and Entrepreneurs Club
Auburn University Campus
Samuel Ginn College of Engineering
1210 Shelby Center
Auburn, AL 36849
Grant Moore
hgm0001@gmail.com

Invent Alabama
Bruce Koppenhoefer
137 Mission Circle
Montevallo, AL 35115
205-222-7585
bkoppy@hiwaay.net
________________________________________
Arizona
Inventors Association of Arizona, Inc.
Tim Crawley, President
PO Box 6436
Glendale, AZ 85302
(623) 680-5192
www.azinventors.org

Carefree Innovators
34522 N Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale AZ 85266
ideascouts@gmail.com
www.ideascout.org
________________________________________
Arkansas
Arkansas Inventors’ Network
Chad Collins
PO Box 56523
Little Rock, AR 72215
Phone: (501) 247-6125
www.arkansasinvents.org
________________________________________
California
American Inventor Network
Jeff McGrew II
1320 High School Rd.
Sebastopol, CA 95472
(707) 829-2391

Inventors Forum
George White, President
PO Box 1008
Huntington Beach, CA 92647-1008
Phone (714) 540-2491
inventorsforum.org

Invention Accelerator Workshop
11292 Poblado Rd.
San Diego, CA 92127
(858) 451-1028
Enovex@aol.com

San Diego Inventors Forum
Adrian Pelkus, President
1195 Linda Vista, Suite C
San Marcos, CA 92069
(760) 591-9608
www.sdinventors.org
________________________________________
Colorado
Rocky Mountain Inventors’ Association
Roger Jackson, President
1805 So. Bellaire St., St. 480
Denver, CO 80222
(303) 271-9468
info@rminventor.org
www.RMInventor.org
________________________________________
Connecticut
Christian Inventors
Association, Inc.
Pal Asija
7 Woonsocket Ave.
Shelton, CT 06484
(203) 924-9538
pal@ourpal.com
www.ourpal.com

CT Invention Convention
PO Box 230311
Hartford CT. 06123-0311
860-793-5299

Danbury Inventors Group
Robin Faulkner
2 Worden Avenue
Danbury, CT 06811
(203) 790-8235

Inventors Association of Connecticut
Doug Lyon
521 Popes Island Road
Milford, CT 06461
(203) 924-9538
www.inventus.org

Aspiring Inventors Club
Peter D’Aguanno
773 A Heritage Village
Hilltop west
Southbury, CT 06488
petedag@att.net
________________________________________
District of Columbia
Inventors Network of the Capital area
P.O. Box 18052
Baltimore, MD 21220
Ph: 443 794 7350
www.dcinventors.org
________________________________________
Florida
Inventors Council of Central Florida
Dr. David Flinchbaugh
5635 Commerce Drive
Orlando, FL 32839
407-760-7200
http://www.inventcf.com/
drdavidflinchbaugh@bellsouth.net

Edison Inventors Association, Inc.
PO Box 60972
Ft. Myers, FL 33906
(239) 275-4332
www.edisoninventors.org
grossrdlab@yahoo.com

Inventors Society of South Florida
Leo Mazur, President
P.O. Box 6008
Delray Beach, FL 33482
561-676-5677
www.inventorssociety.net
mazurelectric@earthlink.net

Space Coast Inventors Guild
Angel Pacheco
4346 Mount Carmel Lane
Melbourne, FL 329 01-8666
321-768-1234

Tampa Bay Inventors’ Council
Wayne Rasanen, President
7752 Royal Hart Drive
New Port Richey, FL 34653
(727) 565-2085
www.tbic.us

North Florida Inventors Group
Bob Hawkinson
NFIIG.com
904-699-0046

North Florida Inventors/Innovators Group

Jacksonville, FL
993 New Product Developers

WE ARE INVENTORS/INNOVATORS AND THOSE INTERESTED IN NEW PRODUCT CONCEPTS AND DEVELOPMENT. WE MEET TYPICALLY MONTHLY ON THE LAST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH. WE OFTEN HAVE A SPEAKER…

Check out this Meetup Group →

________________________________________
Georgia
The Columbus Phoenix City Inventors Association
PO Box 8132,
Columbus GA 31908
Mike Turner
cpcinventorsassociation@yahoo.com
www. cpcinventorsassociation.org

Inventor Association of Georgia
Dave Savage,
Point of contact
1407 Bunky Lane
Dunwoody, GA 30338
404-323-8686
www.GaInventors.org
dave@davesavage.com

________________________________________
Hawaii
Hawaii Inventors Club
95-488 Awiki st
Mililani, HI 96789
www.HawaiiInventorsClub.com
GaryF@ClayInnovations.com
________________________________________
Idaho
Inventors Association of Idaho
P.O. Box 817
Sandpoint, Idaho 83854
www.inventorsassociationofidaho.webs.com
inventone@hotmail.com

Creative Juices Inventors Society
7175 W. Ring Perch Drive
Boise, Idaho 83709
www.inventorssociety.org
reme@inventorssociety.org
________________________________________
Illinois
Chicago Inventors Organization
Calvin Flowers – President
Maurice Moore – Office Manager
1647 S. Blue Island,
Chicago, Illinois 60608
312-850-4710
www.chicago-inventors.org
calvin@chicago-inventors.org
maurice@chicago-inventors.org

Black Hawk Hills Entrepreneur & Inventor Club
PO Box 173
Lanark, IL 61046
(815) 541-0577
www.bheic.com
info@bheic.com

Illinois Innovators & Inventors
Don O’Brien, President
P.O. Box 623
Edwardsville, IL 62025
www.ilinventor.tripod.com
________________________________________
Indiana
Indiana Inventors Association
David Zedonis
10699 Evergreen Point
Fishers, IN 46037
(317) 842-8438
www.indianainventorsassociation.blogspot.com

________________________________________
Iowa
Iowa Inventors Group
Frank Morosky-President
PO Box 10342
Cedar Rapids, IA 52410
(206) 350-6035
info@iowainventorsgroup.org
www.iowainventorsgroup.org

________________________________________
Kansas
Inventors Assoc. of S. Central Kansas
Richard Freidenberger
2302 N. Amarado St.
Wichita KS, 67205
(316) 721-1866
inventor@inventkansas.com
www.inventkansas.com

Inventor’s Club of Kansas City
Carrie Jeske, President
15701 Howe Street
Overland Park, KS 66224
(913) 322-1895
www.inventorsclubofkc.org
Carrie@theickc.org

MidAmerica Inventors
Association, Inc.
David F. Herron II
PO Box 12457
Overland Park, KS 66282
(913) 495-9465
www.midamerica-inventors.com

________________________________________
Kentucky
Central Kentucky Inventors Council, Inc.
Don Skaggs
699 Perimeter Drive
Lexington, KY 40517
dlwest3@yahoo.com
www.ckic.org

Louisville Metro Inventors Council
PO 17541
Louisville, KY 40217
Alex Frommeyer
lmic.membership@gmail.com

________________________________________
Louisiana
International Society of Product Design Engineers/Entrepreneurs
Roderick Whitfield
PO Box 1114
Oberlin, LA 70655
(337) 802-9737
www. international-society-of-productdesign-engineers.ws

________________________________________
Maryland
Inventors Network of the Capital Area
C/O Glen Kotapish
PO Box 18052
Baltimore, MD 21220
(443) 794-7350
ipatent@aol.com
www.dcinventors.org

________________________________________
Massachusetts
Cape Cod Inventors Association
PO Box 143
Wellfleet, MA 02667
(508) 349-1628
www.inventne.org

Innovators Resource Network
P.O. Box 6695
Holyoke, MA 01041
(Meets in Springfield, MA)
413-367-3668 (367-MEET)
info@IRNetwork.org
www.irnetwork.org

Inventors Association of New England
Robert Hausslein
PO Box 335
Lexington, MA 02420
(781) 862-9102
rhausslein@rcn.com
www.Inventne.com

________________________________________
Michigan
Jackson Inventors Network
John D. Hopkins, Chairman
2755 E. Berry Rd.
Rives Junction, Mich. 49277
jhopkins@jacksoninventors.org
www.jacksoninventors.org

Grand Rapids Inventors Group
Bonnie Knopf, President
2100 Nelson SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
(616) 293-1676
www.grinventors.org
info@grinventors.org

Inventors Council of Mid-Michigan
Martin Sovis
PO Box 232
Lennon, MI 48449-0232
(810) 659-6416
msovis@comcast.net
www.inventorscouncil.org

Muskegon Inventors Network
Orville Crain
530 East Giles Road
Muskegon, MI 49445
(866) 719-1290 FREE
www.muskegoninventorsnetwork.org

________________________________________
Minnesota
Inventors’ Network Minneapolis/St.Paul
Todd Wandersee
4028 Tonkawood Rd
Mannetonka, MN 55345
(612) 353-9669
www.inventorsnetwork.org

Minnesota Inventors Congress
Deb Hess, Executive Director
235 S Mill Street, PO Box 71
Redwood Falls MN 56283
507.627.2344
800.468.3681 FREE
info@minnesotainventorscongress.org
www.minnesotainventorscongress.org

Society of Minnesota Inventors
20231 Basalt street
Anoka Mi 55303
(763) 753-2766
www.inventorsnetwork.org

________________________________________
Missouri
Southwest Missouri Inventors Network
Springfield, Missouri
Jan & Gaylen Healzer
PO Box 357
Nixa, Mo 65714
(417) 827-4498
janhealzer@yahoo.com

Inventors Association of St. Louis
Robert Scheinkman
PO Box 410111
St. Louis, MO 63141
(314) 432-1291
president@inventorsinventorsconnection.org
www.connection.org

_______________________________________
Mississippi
Mississippi SBDC Inventor Assistance
122 Jeanette Phillips Dr.
University, Mississippi 38677
(662) 915-5001
(800) 725-7232 FREE
msbdc@olemiss.edu
www.mssbdc.org

________________________________________
Nevada
Inventors Society of Southern Nevada
3627 Huerta Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89121
(702) 435-7741
InventSSN@aol.com

Nevada Inventors Association
C4Cube Location
300 east 2nd st #1405
Reno, NV 89501
775-636-2822
info@nevadainventors.org
www.nevadainventors.org

________________________________________
New Jersey
National Society of Inventors
Stephen Shaw
8 Eiker Road
Cranbury, NJ 08512
Phone: (609) 799-4574
Monthly meetings Held in Roselle Park, NJ
www.nsinventors.com

Jersey Shore Inventors Group
Bill Hincher, President
24 E 3rd Street
Howell, NJ 07731
(732) 407-8885
ideasbiz@aol.com

________________________________________
New Mexico
The Next Big Idea: Festival of Discovery, Invention and Innovation
Los Alamos MainStreet
109 Central Park Square
Los Alamos, NM 87544
Phone: (505) 661-4844
www.nextbigideaLA.com

________________________________________
New York
The Inventors Association of Manhattan (IAM)
Ananda Singh – Membership Manager
Location TBD every 2nd
Monday of the month
New York, NY
www.manhattan-inventors.org
manhattan.inventors@gmail.com

Inventors Society of Western New York
Alan Reinnagel
174 High Stone Circle
Pitsford, NY 14534
585-943-7320
www.inventny.org

Inventors & Entrepreneurs of Suffolk County, Inc.
Brian Fried
PO Box 672
Melville, NY 11747
(631) 415-5013
www.iesuffolk.com

Long Island Forum for Technology, Inc.
111 West main Street
Bay Shore, NY 11706
(631) 969-3700
LCarter@lift.org

NY Society of Professional Inventors
Daniel Weiss
(516) 798-1490 (9AM – 8PM)
dan.weiss.PE@juno.com

________________________________________
North Carolina
Inventors’ Network of the Carolinas
Tom Getts, President
520 Elliot Street, Suite 300
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 369-7331
www.inotc.org
tgetts@ezclaw.com

________________________________________
North Dakota
North Dakota Inventors Congress
2534 South University Drive, Suite 4
Fargo, ND 58103
(701) 281-8822
(800) 281-7009 FREE
neustel@patent-ideas.com
www.ndinventors.com

________________________________________
Ohio
Inventors Council of Cincinnati
Jackie Diaz
PO Box 42103
Cincinnati, Ohio 45242
(513) 898-2110 x4
Inventorscouncil@inventcinci.org
www.inventcincy.org

Canton Inventors Association
DeHoff Realty
Frank C. Fleischer
821 South Main St. North Canton
330-499-1262
www.cantoninventorsassociation.org

Inventors Connection of Greater Cleveland
Don Bergquist
Secretary 440-941-6567
P.O.. Box 360804
Strongsville, OH 44136
icgc@aol.com
Sal Mancuso- VP
(330) 273-5381
salmancuso@roadrunner.com

Inventors Council of Dayton
Stephen W. Frey
Wright Brothers Station
PO Box 611
Dayton, OH 45409-0611
(937) 256-9698
geopierce@earthlink.net
www.daytoninventors.com
groups.yahoo.com/group/inventors_council

Inventors Network (Columbus)
1275 Kinnear Road
Columbus, OH 43212-1155
(614) 470-0144
www.inventorscolumbus.com

Youngstown-Warren Inv. Assn.
100 Federal Plaza east
Suite 600
Youngstown, OH 44503
(330) 744-4481
rherberger@roth-blair.com

________________________________________
Oklahoma
Oklahoma Inventors Congress
Dan Hoffman
PO Box 204
Edmond, OK 73083-0204
(405) 348-7794
inventor@telepath.com
www.oklahomainventors.com

________________________________________
Oregon
MicroEnterprise Inventors
Program of Oregon (MIPO)
Kedma Ough
5257 NE MLK, Suite 201
Portland,OR 97202
(503) 998-9560
www.mipooregon.org

South Coast Inventors Group
c/o Southwestern Business Development Center
2110 Newmark
Coos Bay, OR 97420
541-756-6866
lcapps@southwestern.cc.or.us

Inventors North West
Attn: John Herrick
#11 Pioneer Lane
Sunriver, OR 97707
Jhunterh2001@yahoo.com
www.inventorsnorthwest.com
________________________________________
Pennsylvania
American Society of Inventors
Henry Skillman
PO Box 58426
Philadelphia PA 19102-5426
(215) 563-4100, Ext. 235
hskillman@ddhs.com
asoi.org

Central Pennsylvania Inventors Association
9 First Avenue
Lemoyne, PA 17043
(717) 763-5742
S1Pickford@aol.com

Pennsylvania Inventors Assn.
2317 East 43rd St.
Erie, PA 16510
(814) 825-5820
www.pa-invent.org

Williamsport Inventor’s Club
One College Ave., DIF 32
Williamsport, PA 17701
www.wlkiz.com/resources/inventors-club
info@wlkiz.com

________________________________________
Puerto Rico
Associacion de Inventores de Puerto Rico
Dr. Omar R. Fontanez
Canuelas
Cond. Segovia Apt. 1005
San Juan, PR 00918
(787) 518-8570
www.inventorespr.com

Puerto Rico Inventors Association
PO Box 1081
Saint Just, PR 00978
(787) 760-5074
acuhost@novacomm-inc.com

________________________________________

South Carolina
Charleston Inventor Association
847 Coleman Blvd, Mt Pleasant, SC
Mark Reyland
mark@markreyland.com
Charleston South Carolina

Midlands Inventors Association
USC Technology Incubator
1225 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC
Lew Wayburn
Lew@ISBConcepts.com

Tennessee
Music City Inventors
James Stevens
3813 Dobbin Rd
Springfield, TN 37172
(615) 681-6462
inventorsassociation@hotmail.com

musiccityinventors.com
www.iamt.us
Mid South Inventors Association
Deborah Murdock
1115 Halle Park circle
Collierville, TN 38017
(meets in Memphis)
(901) 850-7324
murdock@legacytransfers.com

Tennessee Inventors Association
Igor Alexeff
PO Box 11225
Knoxville, TN 37930-1225
(865) 483-0151
ialexeff@comcast.net
www.tninventors.org
________________________________________
Texas
Amarillo Inventors Association
J. T. Haynes, President
2200 W. 7th Avenue
Amarillo, TX 79106
(806) 367-8610
info@amarilloinventors.org
www.amarilloinventors.org

Houston Inventors Association
Ken Roddy
2916 West TC Jester #100
Houston, TX 77018
(713) 686-7676
kenroddy@nol.net
www.inventors.org

Alamo Inventors
3463 Magic Drive
Suite T-14
San Antonio, Texas 78229
210-582-5835
www.Alamoinventors.org

Austin Inventors and Entrepreneurs Association
Lill O’neall Gentry
12500 Amhearst
Austin, TX
lillgentry@gmail.com
________________________________________
Utah
UtahInventors.org
David Osborne
8180 s 700 E, Suite 350
Sandy, UT 84070
(801) 748-1939
utahinventor.org

________________________________________
Virginia
Virginia Inventors Forum
Bambi Walters
PO Box 5743
Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 253-5729
www.virginiainventors.org

Virginia Innovators Network
Suzie Smithson
Enterprise Meeting Center
Richmond VA
info@vainnovators.org

________________________________________
Wisconsin
Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club of Juneau County
Economic Development Corp.
Terry Whipple/Sandra Morris
PO Box 322, 122 Main Street
Camp Douglas, WI 54618
(608) 427-2070
www.iandeclub.com
jcedc@mwt.net

Inventors Network of Wisconsin
Jeff Hitzler
1749 Chateau Dr.
Green Bay, WI 54304
(920) 429-0331
www.inventors-network.org
inventorgb@sbcglobal.net

INTERNATIONAL LISTING

Australia

Inventors Association of Australia (SA)
http://inventors.asn.au/
Where? When? What?
7:30pm – South West Community Centre, 171 Sturt Street, Adelaide
3rd Thursday each month
President – Mr Paul Barnden
president@inventors.asn.au

United Kingdom

Black Country Inventors Club
website: http://www.blackcountryinventors.co.uk/
31 Ambrose Cresent, Kingswinford
West Midlands DY6 7RE
Email – invent@blackcountryinventorsclub,co.uk

East London Inventors Club
http://www.eastlondoninventorsclub.com/club-meetings.html
The clubs meetings take place on the last Thursday of each month (except in August & December) as the University is closed during these times. The meetings normally start around 18:30, with a presentation starting at 19:00. We aim to finish around 21:00.
Meeting location
The University of East London,
Knowledge Dock Centre,
Docklands Campus,
4 University Way,
London E16 2RD

Ideas North West. Blackburn
website: http://www.ideasnorthwest.co.uk/
Ideas North West LTD
Stockclough Lane
Blackburn Lancashire BB2 5JR
Tel: 01254 208419
info@ideasnorthwest.co.uk

Malvern Inventors Club
website: http://www.malvern-inventors.co.uk/
Tel: 07913 578555
Email: info@malvern-inventors.co.uk
Where do we meet?
Malvern Hills Science Park
Geraldine Road
Malvern
WR14 3SZ

Manchester Inventors Group
website: http://www.manchesterinventors.com/
Central Library, St Peters Square, City Centre M2 5PD (Next to Manchester Town hall)
enquiries@manchesterinventors.com

Being a serial Inventor and Product Licensing Agent I am in an interesting position. I contact a wide variety of companies, do negotiating, get contacted by companies wanting me to submit ideas, get Inventor emails asking for help, review/evaluate ideas, sell sheets, etc. I have friends that do product reviews within various companies so I get to see and hear all sides of the inventing process. So I see what we are doing right and wrong on both sides of the industry.
Below is a list to try and give everyone a leg up on where they can increase their odds of success. Look over the list and see if you are DOING or NOT doing any of these items. They can be keeping you from success.

1. Stop sending in submissions to companies handwritten.

2. You are not putting your contact info on each piece of paper you send. That includes samples/prototypes.

3. Don’t waste the reviewer’s time reading how you came up with the idea. Focus on the benefits and why it will make them money.

4. Never use the phrase “My idea is worth millions.” Let the company decide if it is worth millions.

5. Don’t use the phrase “There is nothing else out there like my idea.” most of the time you will be proven wrong.

6. Don’t say you have researched your idea thoroughly when all you did was walk into Wal-Mart and didn’t see it.

7. Do not send a prototype to a company unless they have asked you to and are expecting it. They do not want to keep up or be responsible for items they did not ask for in the first place.

8. Be realistic in your expectations.

9. READ everything a company sends you more than once and make sure you understand everything you have read. Don’t assume everything is fine and sign it. Even the person with the best intentions can make a mistake. I send people my two page NDA to read and sign prior to sending me anything for review/evaluation. I have to include in my email an explanation to make sure they fill in their address on the top of the first page where the blank lines are for that information, because so many people don’t do it. This is in the first two paragraphs of the first page. So, if they are missing that what else are they missing in a longer document?

10. Don’t write a novel to explain your invention. Be concise and factual. No one wants to read 22 pages to get your idea. Look at the short blurb on the back of a novel. It needs to be that short and to the point.

11. Know your product. You should be the expert on your product, do not assume they will just “GET IT” because you want them too.

12. Be able to explain your invention over the phone or in person in 30 seconds or less. Practice your pitch until you can say it in your sleep. It does not look good if you are constantly losing your train of thought or having to start over multiple times when explaining your product.

13. Don’t say the phrase “Everyone will buy one. Or Everyone will have to have one.” Because even if you came up with the next new phase in TV’s can you HONESTLY say everyone with a working TV will toss their current TV out tomorrow so they can buy yours?

14. Don’t send your submission to a company on Monday and call them Tuesday to ask when they will be sending you a contract.

15. When entering any invention contest make sure your submission actually fits the contest criteria. You don’t submit a lawnmower idea to a soap company.

16. Don’t send your invention submission in care of the general bulk mail of the company. Get a specific persons name in charge of that department. Normally new product development, marketing, inventor submissions, etc. Don’t send it to “To Whom it concern”

17. If you call a company asking for the person in charge of invention submissions, be ready to speak to them if they put you through. Once they answer is not the time to remember you need a pen and paper, ask them if they can hold on for a minute while you get something, forget what your pitch is, or if you get their voice mail be prepared to leave a short intelligent message with your call back number.

18. Know the time difference of where you are calling.

19. Do not send a company any material they did not ask for expecting them to pay the shipping charges.

20. Don’t send a company anything you can’t afford to lose. Accidents happen and things can get misplaced. If it is a one of a kind item you may want to video it in use and send a CD or link to a video. If your product is not covered by and NDA, PPA or patent don’t put it on Youtube, Facebook or any other site for public disclosure.

21. When sending attachments to companies make sure it is in a program they have installed on their computer. Everyone does not have Filemaker Pro or the latest version of Microsoft Office. So, if they have Office 2003 some things will not show up in your submission. You also need to ask them if their company has a size limit on attachments. You don’t send a 12 meg attachment to a company whose servers only allow 5meg or below attachments. Plus, some company’s software will automatically kick out any email with an attachment that is not on a safe email list.

22. Stop sending your same idea to the same company under your relatives name once they have rejected it under your name.

23. Stop sending emails saying they have attachments, when they don’t. Also, minimize the amount of attachments you send in one emails. The largest I have received so far had 17 attachments

24. Don’t send your sell sheets to a company in a locked file and tell them to contact you for instructions on how to open it when they didn’t ask you to send them any material in the first place.

25. Don’t make demands on what you want as compensation for your idea before they have even reviewed your idea and shown interest in it.

Inventors are curious, love challenges, want to create something unique, make millions, see their product on stores shelves, but at what cost? I get contacted by Inventors all the time that are severely in debt because they spent thousands of dollars they couldn’t afford to lose. They jump head first into an industry they know nothing about and want to start at a higher level than really necessary to get some of the same answers.
Such as going to manufacturers to have a run of 5,000 units made in China before they even know if it will work properly. Then paying more to have the design modified to work the bugs out. This is being done before they even know if their idea is marketable. Instead you could make a crude prototype at home to see if you can find any bugs or design flaws. You can have CADs done to see your idea in 3D. You can go to local colleges to see if they would take on your product as a project for them to learn from and you get free work and a finished product to show proof of concept.
Paying for booths at trade shows to show a product that is incomplete hoping someone will see the same vision you have for it. When they could have just gone to the show to walk the floor and see what is there, their competition, make contacts, see how others present their products and what seems to work so when they do go and have a finished product to present they have a better understanding of how the shows work and how they might be able to draw more attention to their booth area. Because paying for a booth you have to man and have someone else free to wander the show can get expense.

Paying to have a full advertising campaign done, paying for trademarks, paying for local ads in the newspaper and radio promoting your product when you have no inventory and taking orders from people without knowing how you are going to fill those orders.
Starting KickStarters campaigns and severely under estimating what it will cost to fulfill the contributor rewards and not having a manufacture selected to handle your product.

These are just a few of the issues Inventors have come to me with that they learned a hard lesson that could have been handled better. Granted no one is perfect and mistakes will be made. You just want to lessen them as much as possible. One way to do that is looking at real life experiences of people here in the forums, the mistakes they have made, the lessons they have learned and are still learning, the information available to help you avoid pitfalls and make informed decisions.

Talking with Inventors I am surprised by the lack of information they have on their idea/product so I thought I would start a listing of things every Inventor needs to know about their product and their market. Here are some questions to get you started.

1. What problem does your idea/product solve?

2. List the benefits of your idea/product over what is currently on the market.

3. Who is your target market? (adults, only males, only females, teens, age group, etc)

4. What is your “HOOK”?

5. What price range do your competitors fall into and where do you think yours would fall?

6. Have you proven if your idea/product works?

7. Are you already selling them or under a contract with anyone? ( Many Inventors that are selling online or at craft shows are doing it without having any patent protection and don’t realize the public disclosure)

8. If you have a issued patent when are the next fees due and are you current with those payments? ( This may seem obvious but you would not believe how many Inventors have patents that are lapsed due to non-payment and they don’t seem to know it. Or they want you to pay the fees to get the patent back in good graces.)

9. What would make a consumer pick your idea/product over the others on the shelf?

10. Can your idea/product be used in more than one industry? ( example It can work in the toy and pet industry. Some Inventors don’t look outside their initial focus and realize it has multiple applications)

11. Do you see this selling sitting on a shelf or would it sell better hanging off the shelf on J-Hooks?

12. Is there a learning curve to your idea/product that will need to be addressed before the consumer will understand its benefits?

13. Is your idea/product more of an impulse item, recreational item or a need item?

14. Will your product only sell during a specific season?

15. Is it market ready or do you see a lot more design work needed to make it user friendly?

16. Is this a solution to a problem or a solution looking for a problem?

17. If you filed for a patent did you also file for any international rights? (The reason I ask this is you have a limited window in order to file or lose it. I believe it is a year but not certain. Those with more patent background or a patent attorney can provide that info)

18. Do you have a listing of all the companies you have sent information on your idea/product? (This helps anyone you ask for help to see who has seen it and not duplicate efforts.

19. Do you have any of the feedback a company may have given you? (this can be very helpful if they referenced other products similar or gave you design/engineering advice)

What do I mean by “A Product Does Not Have to Match the Patent”? I have noticed that several Inventors I have dealt with lately had a misconception that I thought would make good information for other Inventors. When you see a company’s product with a Patent number embossed on it that does not mean every aspect of the product is using everything allowed in the patent claims. And every part of the product may not be patented.

The company can have 18 Claims listed in their patent and decide that the product only needs to use 11 of them to be a viable marketable product. So if you see a product and decide your unique difference from the competitors is yours can be used by right and left handed people, or your knife sharpener will do regular blades and serrated blades because you only see regular blade sharpeners on their product it does not mean their patent doesn’t already cover it.

The patent is there to protect the product so anything not included in the product but covered by the patent just gives the company a broader scope of protection if another company decides to compete against them in the market.
So, if you see a product on the market and you plan on competing against them with your own idea/product what do you think would be your path forward?