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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

So, you’re looking to invent something or maybe you’ll invent the next iPhone, or is it something more basic like a lock? Look, it’s really not as difficult as you might think.

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Hello, everyone. My name is J.D. Houvener, a USPTO patent attorney, and I’m the managing partner and CEO at Bold Patents Law Firm. Today, I’ll be sharing with you 10 easy steps on how to invent something new. I’ll be sharing each of those 10 steps, and below in the description, I’ve broken out each step with a timestamp in case you want to jump ahead to that section. I’ve also written an in-depth blog article on this topic, so if you want to go deeper, it’s there for you as well.

Step One: Believing in yourself, developing confidence, and getting a growth mindset. Look way out on the horizon, see that vision of what you’re going for, knowing that it just takes baby steps, even if they’re a little bit outside your comfort zone, to make that progress you need. And don’t forget to congratulate yourself on those many wins along the way. You are smarter than you think; you can do more than you believe. So keep building that confidence. You know, in Psychology, they call this self-efficacy.

Step Two: Pay attention, write down the problems you’re having in life. What are the problems that you’re trying to solve? Look around you, what annoys you, what would make your life easier? These are all ways that you can start to solve problems and invent solutions. Now, there are solutions that are just waiting for you. There are things that are just everyday life that you and a better like you can actually create a solution for. It just takes a little bit of extra time. Don’t just go through it the way you always have; look around and find ways to find those solutions.

Step Three: Map out your solution. So, as you start to find these problems, figure out a way that your solution can create and get at the heart of that problem. How is it going to get and solve it for not just you, but for people like you? And as you start to expand that audience, that potential customer base, how can you envision that problem being solved in a universal way? Write those down as you start to iterate your invention and get to a solution that really is all-encompassing.

Step Four: Evaluate the value versus effort in solving your problem, and as I like to call it, ICE – Impact, Confidence, and Ease. So, as you start to develop several ideas, inventions of how to solve this problem you’ve so well articulated, you can start to review them and ask yourself, how much value will this be bringing to you? How much improvement will you see in the greater community and even the world at large versus how much effort it’s going to take you to do it? Is it really worth going through what you’re doing if it’s not going to result in that big of a result? You want to focus on the inventions that take the least amount of effort with the highest value, the biggest leverage. Go the extra mile and ask yourself the impact the project will have on a one to ten scale. What’s the impact, the confidence that you’ll have in your ability to solve the problem on a one to ten scale, and the ease of using it on the same type of relationship? Do you think that’ll be able to solve this problem in a short amount of time or a long amount of time? Is this something that will take five to ten years, or can you actually see this getting off the ground running in the next six to 12 months? That’s how you can start to weigh the pros and cons of each invention solution set.

Step Five: Do basic market research. Sounds easy, but you’ve got to understand what consumers are buying right now. Not only that, but what industry does this solution really take part in, and is it a growing or shrinking industry? This doesn’t take an MBA or a business degree. You can go find out with market research by looking up big players in your industry. How are they reacting or changing as your industry or solutions might change? Do you believe that this invention has a product-market fit and why? Why would your solution be better than what the consumers are currently buying? Is this something that they already have a patent on? Maybe you’ve got some issues where you need to design around someone else. Jump onto Google patents and do a basic search on your own to get familiar with patents and the way they are articulated with regards to their claims and ownership.

Step Six: Do a professional patent search. Please don’t do it on your own. Hire a patent attorney to do a detailed worldwide patent search to save you time and money and to hire a professional to get it done the right way. As you probably don’t know, examiners will look worldwide. They will look at patent documents, non-patent documents to try to prove your invention has already been out there. Let’s do the work upfront before you spend the time and energy even applying for that patent to make sure what you’re going to be applying for is indeed novel before you even submit it.

Step Seven: File a provisional patent application. Once you’ve confirmed what you’re doing isn’t unique and novel, if the patent search comes back positive, let’s move forward with a provisional patent application to get you that elusive patent-pending status. You get to ensure your invention is safe. The United States is the first to file, not first to invent, so don’t wait around if you’ve got something that is a solution, it’s got a big market, you’ve done the research. Let’s get to filing.

Step Eight: Test your idea, test it again, then raise money. Prove the proof of concept. Can’t insist on how much testing is needed. The beauty of having a provisional patent application on file is being able to be flexible in that year of testing, market testing, consumer testing to try to make sure you’ve got the right solution long term. Now, once you do that, you can start to raise money. Once you’ve got some adoption, customers are actually saying, “I want one, I want one,” and start asking you for this. Now, you know the time is right. You’ve proven the concept.

Step Nine: Decide whether you’re going to manufacture or license your idea. This is the decision point. You’ve worked so hard developing this invention. You know it’s novel; you’ve got your filing already secured. The question is, are you going to decide to open up your own business and manufacture and sell your products, or are you going to license your invention to someone else that may already be in the market? Maybe they’ve already done their research, have a supply chain, and you can simply license your invention to them. It’s key to understand those are very separate ideas. You’ve got to sort of draw that line in the sand of which direction you’re going.

Step Ten: Filing your non-provisional patent application or design patent. The work here is to file the big kahuna. This is the work you’ve been leading up to the whole way and getting it filed over the way that the U.S. Patent Office will review it. And that’s it. You’ve made it. You were living to your purpose and protected and brought to market your vision or idea.

Now, if you have any questions at all that remain, please click the link below and get a copy of my book, “Bold Ideas: Inventor’s Guide to Patents.” And if you want to book a free consultation, you can do that today on our website at boldip.com.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at https://boldip.com/contact/