On the hit reality show American Inventor, contestants compete to wow judges with their ideas, hoping that theirs will become America's next big invention. If you're watching at home and have a great idea of your own, find out how you can you turn your concept into a real product. Jean talks to Peter Jones, the executive producer and co-creator of American Inventor, about his advice for would-be inventors:
Try to register your patent on your own, rather than going through a patent company, Peter says. Registering with a patent company can cost tens of thousands of dollars, he says, whereas registering a patent by yourself costs less than $1,000.
If you find that you can't get a patent on your product, consider trademarking a name or looking at a brand of a name, Peter says. Don't give up on the idea, because "it's not absolutely, fundamentally important that you do have a patent," he says.
Before you make an investment, do your homework. Ask for feedback, beginning with friends and family, and make sure the product doesn't already exist. "Researching your idea in the marketplace is crucial," Peter says.
Consider partnering with a retailer or manufacturer who can license your product rather than actually bringing it to the market yourself. "Hopefully they bring it, mass market it, and you just take [a cut] of the action," Peter says.
Printed from Oprah.com on Tuesday, December 10, 2013