By Ogunrinola Isaiah :
An invention is a unique or novel device, method, composition or process. The invention process is a process within an overall engineering and product development process. It may be an improvement upon a machine or product or a new process for creating an object or a result. An invention that achieves a completely unique function or result may be a radical breakthrough. An invention does not just happen. It comes with different steps and processes and you know what? A lot of things are yet to be invented and everybody can still invent something. Inventions can come in the form of designs, Words, Machines, Telecoms, Engineering, Architecture, Software…..etc.
Who Can Invent?
Inventions do not have limitations about Personality, Health or Background. It’s about the intention and will to do. John Forbes Nash Jr, An acclaimed Mathematician, and a Nobel Laureate Winner have a particular mental disorder known as schizophrenia. This could not stop him from inventing the Nash Equilibrium theory which is still used up to date. How about the Father of Electricity? Thomas Edison. He was diagnosed with Scarlet Fever as a youth. This has left him almost entirely deaf but this could not stop him from inventing Electricity even after trying 1000 times.
Albert Einstein suffered from learning disability when he was young but yet Today He is still regarded as one of the Greatest Scientist the World has ever known.
Michael Faraday came from a poor and impoverish Family and yet He was able to invent Electromagnetic Induction, the same as Alfred Nobel, The Man who funded the Nobel Laureate award had a Poor Family Background and yet was able to invent the Dynamite, the blasting cap, gelignite, and ballistite. In his last will and testament, he bequeathed over ninety percent of the enormous fortune he made from explosives to fund the Nobel Prizes.
Hence, everyone, anywhere, any day and any time can invent anything. The sky is just the starting point for anyone who is willing and has the intention to invent.
STEPS YOU NEED TO TAKE TO TURN YOUR IDEA INTO INVENTION
- DOCUMENT IT
Simply having an “idea” is worthless — you need to have proof of when you came up with the invention ideas. Write down everything you can think of that relates to your invention, from what it is and how it works to how you’ll make and market it. This is the first step to patenting your idea and keeping it from being stolen.
Write your idea down in an inventor’s journal and have it signed by a witness. This journal will become your bible throughout the patent process. An inventor’s journal can by any bound notebook whose pages are numbered consecutively and can’t be removed or reinserted.
2. RESEARCH IT
Just because you’ve never heard of your invention ideas before, doesn’t mean you’re the first person to come up with them. Thus, you should first conduct a patent search. If someone else can lay claim to coming up with your idea before you, they will also lay claim to all the money from any sales.
i. Carry out a preliminary patent search. Visit The Nigerian Law Intellectual Property Trademark website or the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to search if anyone else has already patented your idea. You should be able to do this without a lawyer.
ii. Search for prior art. Even if no patent has been filed, if any artwork or design illustrations related to your invention exists, you will most likely not be able to patent it.
iii. Research to make sure your idea has a Market. It’s easy to fall in love with your invention ideas and simply assume other people are going to fall in love with them too. However, the only way you’ll know this to be true is to do thorough market research.
iv. ASK what your potential customers want and then LISTEN. Knowing exactly what people will be willing to spend money on will give you the confidence to move forward with your idea
3. MAKE A PROTOTYPE
A prototype is a model of your invention that puts into practice all of the things you have written in your inventor’s journal. This will demonstrate the design of your invention when you present it to potential lenders and licensees. Do not file a patent before you have made a prototype. You will almost always discover a flaw in your original design or think of a new feature you would like to add. If you patent your idea before you work out these kinks, it will be too late to include them in the patent and you will risk losing the patent rights of the new design to someone else.
4. FILE A PATENT
There are two main types of patents: a utility patent (for new processes or machines) or a design patent (for manufacturing new, non-obvious ornamental designs). While you can start the patent application yourself, do not file it without the help of a patent lawyer with the proper technical expertise, says Gibbs.
If your invention is truly worth money, others will eventually infringe upon your patent. Hiring the proper patent attorney helps ensure your patent is fully protected and you avoid any costly legal battles.
5. CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN TO MARKET YOUR INVENTION
Start with a business plan. How will you get the money? Where will you manufacture the product? How will you sell it? Now is a good time to decide if you will manufacture and sell the product yourself, or license it for sale through another company. When you license your product you will probably only receive two percent to five percent in royalty fees. This often scares away inventors who feel they deserve more. But consider the upside: you will not have the financial burden associated with maintaining a business. This could end up making you more money in the long run.