One of the biggest struggles an inventor can face at times is standing out and beating the competition of a crowded market space.
According to the Cambridge Business English Dictionary, the term crowded market can be defined as:
“A situation in which there is a lot of competition between company that are trying to sell similar products or services”
The competition can be defined as:
“An activity done by a number of people or organizations, each of which is trying to do better than all of the others”
When ideas are submitted to Edison Nation, they are evaluated through one of the three process, 8-stage evaluation, 6-stage evaluation and 4-stage evaluation.
Ideas submitted to sponsored searches, consumer healthcare and the open search undergo the 8-stage evaluation process.
Ideas submitted to the ASOTV search go through the 6-stage evaluation process.
And lastly, ideas submitted to the Insider licensing Program go through the 4-stage evaluation process.
Is your product idea patentable?
Before investing time or money pursuing an invention idea, ask yourself: Are there similar products out there? What makes my idea better? Why would a consumer buy this instead of an alternative? AND most importantly is it patentable?
Patentability can be one of the biggest factors to determining if your idea is going to make it in a market with similar products.
Patentability is defined as; A set of substantive requirements for a patent to be granted. An invention satisfying these requirements is said to be patentable.
There are three main terms that the government looks at when determining if your idea is patentable or not. The first factor that is looked at is usefulness, meaning the product has a useful purpose. This also has a requirement that the product idea is operable by the consumer.
The second factor that is reviewed is novelty. Novelty means that an invention cannot be patented if it was already known before the date of filing.
According to patent law an invention cannot be patented if:
- The invention was known or used by others in the United States before the patent applicant invented it.
- The invention was patented or described in any printed publication, before the patent applicant invented it.
- The invention was patented or described in a printed publication in any country more than one year prior to the inventor’s U.S. patent application.
- The invention was in public use or on sale in the United States more than one year prior to the inventor’s U.S. patent application.
The last factor that is reviewed is nonobvious. Nonobvious can be defined as “a sufficient difference from what has been used or described before that a person having ordinary skill in the area of technology related to the invention would not find it obvious to make the change.” To break it down, even if a new invention differs from an existing patented invention in one or more ways, a patent may still be refused if the differences would be obvious.
Example from Vincent Lotempio:
“The invention of a table consisted of a square top, a bottom and four legs.
Someone decided to make an improvement and change the shape of the table top to be oval. The argument by the patent office may be someone skilled in the art (a carpenter) would think it obvious that the top could be made in any shape or dimension and a round top would be rejected as an obvious improvement.
Even though the improvement of the first ever circular top is new, and it is useful it would be arguably not patentable if it was determined that it would be an obvious improvement for a carpenter to make a table top in any shape.” – VINCENT LOTEMPIO
The key to standout in a crowded market can be referred to by Jack Lander as the Goldilocks Zone.
The Goldilocks Zone means your product invention fits into the market in a way that’s not too hot; not too cold, just right. This means maybe your targeting a market where you know there would be some competition but not so much that your idea would get lost in the crowd. Look for the niches within the bigger markets to help your product idea stand out some.
Ultimately you want to be sure to do thorough research! It can’t be said enough, researching the competition and identifying why your product would stand out is very important.
To begin research, follow some of these tips:
- Start with a simple online search – try using Google or Bing to search for similar products
- Don’t just seek out identical concepts, consider how your idea stands up against what’s currently out there or what could potentially break new ground.
- Other methods to explore can include other names, phrases and terms that might apply to your product. For example: a water gun – It can be called a squirt gun, super soaker, aqua blaster and more. Use a thesaurus, look for synonyms and other ways to describe your idea, this will likely bring up more competing products in the same market.
When researching the competition, it’s important to understand that a product does not necessarily need to look physically like your idea in order to be competition. Oftentimes, a competing product solves the same (or similar) problem in a very different way. In these instances, because something already exists to fulfill a similar consumer need, it would be difficult for a potential licensor to gain market share and earn enough revenue to warrant the initial investment.
As you continue to invent, keep these points in mind. If you’ve been an insider member for some time, some of these points may be familiar but we hope that we have expanded on some that even further here so that you can increase your chances for success!