For those of you just joining us, I'm spending this month sharing my journey of bringing an idea to fruition, and then a product to market. It's still early in the story, so curl up with your computer and get motivated to know if I can do it, so can you!
So, I have this great idea, I know it will work, it seems at this point there's nothing else like it, but what do I do with it? I need a book. There has to be a book written by a mom, for a mom. There is, it's called The Mom Inventor's Handbook written by mom Tamara Monosoff.
The Mom Inventors Handbook: How to Turn Your Great Idea into the Next Big Thing
Frankly, I couldn't find any other books like this one and even as I searched again today, there are very few. If you have an idea, BUY THIS BOOK!
In any case, I needed a book and this was a good one. I read it from cover to cover and one of the great pieces of advice I got was to start and inventors log. This is basically a notebook, with pages that are bound, not loose leaf (very important), that is a journal of how you thought of your idea, when, where, why, how, and every step you took afterward. The reason this is so important is that this book could potentially be a legal document. If someone were to try to steal your idea and get it to market before you, you would likely take them to court. In a court of law, an inventors notebook could prove to be the one piece of evidence that wins your case. Some people advise to have your book notarized, but that's one of those things you have to decide to do or not to do. I didn't. My book starts going back to 2006 when Dave and I first realized Mason wanted gloves, not mittens. Gloves were extremely hard to come by in small sizes, and when we did find them, they didn't fit. I told the whole story, in long hand. Here is why I didn't have my book notarized; as I enter new information, I'm using different pens, my penmanship varies based on where I am (in the car, at a restaurant, in my bed, etc), and it's very clear that I did not sit down and create this log in haste to prove something. I also document who I speak with about it and why I was speaking with them. This is also proof that they took this idea from me.
The other thing I got from the book was to search the Internet extensively. Search it for an hour a day to make sure what you think you've created doesn't exist. Go online and search the USPTO website to see if you can find any patents or applications for what you want to do. If you can't find it, it may not exist. I searched and searched, and my friend Alice found a glove that seemed to be similar. I immediately bought it and found that though it was created to address my problem, it wasn't doing it. I poked all the holes in it I could and moved on with creating a better prototype. I enlisted my Aunt Jeannette to sew zippers in several pair of kids gloves I bought at thrift stores.
My next question was, do I need a patent?