Who will buy my invention?

You've invented something. Great! Now, who is going to buy it?

“Who will buy my invention?” It’s a question I am asked often and my answer is somewhat unorthodox.

I tell them to get to know supermarkets and how they work. Manufacturers of existing products are always looking for modifications and improvements to their product lines, worrying that someone will develop a better product that will take the place of theirs on the shelves.

I advise anxious would-be inventors to begin visiting large supermarkets for ideas of products to invent and to start thinking about how to improve existing products before they start the process. This is how new ideas develop into products, and this is where a brainstorm might develop into an invention to be patented and, most important, be sold.

Manufacturers are, therefore, very good prospects for new and creative products. They are anxious to learn about new products, especially one that would improve theirs and be less expensive and available without large development costs.

The Internet is a good resource to find manufacturers looking for products. Search for manufacturers in the product areas of your interest. They usually supply information about product submission requirements on their sites. Or visit sites like www.inventionconvention.com, or www.uspto.gov, to find resources for new inventors.

Before the Internet, when I lived in Southern California, I visited many nursery retail establishments looking for a planter. Eventually I realized there were no planters at that time that a consumer could buy to take home and put on their balconies or terraces; so I researched companies that might be interested in such a product and eventually found one.

In the middle of my research I moved across the country to Connecticut, but the move didn’t halt my work. I designed a unique planter with plastic bottom and redwood sides, which came apart and could be folded flat for storage. Another nice feature of the planter was that in the spring it could be used as a cold frame in which to get new plants started.

I moved ahead with the design of the planter and patented it. As soon as I could say “patent pending” I telephoned the company in California and spoke to the president.

After I described my new product he said, “When can I see it? ” I replied, “Tomorrow,” and then called for airline reservations.

I made a presentation the next day at noon. The president was very impressed and asked what I wanted as a purchase price. I said 7.5 percent of the retail price. After negotiations we had an agreement and he wrote me a check for $10,000! I flew home the next day.

I had had no prior contact with that company when I first called; it was simply getting to talk to the right person and the person on the switchboard can usually help you with that. Then make sure you make your presentation to a decision-maker with the power to purchase your product or license it.

That planter made lots of money for me over the 17 years of the patent and beyond.

Article – Copyright 2000 Stanley I. Mason. Syndicated by ParadigmTSA

Like this? Share it with your network:

I need help with:

Got a Question?

Get personalized expert answers to your business questions – free.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to purchase something using one of our links at no extra cost to you.