The pet industry is booming, but handicapped pets need your inventions now more than ever! Learn here how to get started inventing for the pet industry.
It isn’t every day that you have the opportunity to turn a life around.
However, you have the power in your hands to give a four-legged friend a brighter future, and it all starts with an idea.
Handicapped pets want to fetch, run and go for walks just like their able-bodied companions. However, when they no longer have full range of their muscles and joints, the fun tends to slow to a screeching halt.
Do you have a vision for a product that would help them reclaim their quality of life? If so, you’re one step into an incredible journey that could turn the pet industry on its head.
Join us today as we share how to turn that idea into a reality, one move at a time.
Do Field Research
Are you interested in this niche because you have a handicapped pet of your own? If so, you might have grown frustrated because there’s nothing on the market that meets your needs.
Silvie Bordeaux can relate. When her 3.5-year-old toy poodle Muffin became blind from cataracts, she noticed that he kept falling down the stairs and bumping into corners. After searching online for a solution, Silvie realized there was no product capable of improving Muffin’s mobility.
So, she invented a detachable blind dog bumper known as “Muffin’s Halo.” Now, it’s recognized as the world’s number one blind dog halo harness.
If you don’t have a pet, you’ll still need to find inspiration and insight to help spark your creativity. Visit your local animal shelter, and spend some time interacting with the animals. As you do so, take note of how they move.
What’s does the puppy’s strut look like? What about the way those big dogs jump up and wag their tail? No detail is too tiny or insignificant.
Write down everything you observe. When you get back, the real work begins.
Document Your Ideas
Before you can capitalize on an invention such as a dog cart or a dog leg brace, you need to establish ownership rights on your idea.
After all, you can’t make money from an idea by thinking about it, no matter how innovative it is! You need to make sure that you can prove that you were the first person to brainstorm the product.
Invest in an inventor’s journal that will hold up in court. Make sure it’s a bound notebook with consecutively numbered pages that you can’t remove or reinsert. Use it to organize your thoughts, jotting down everything you can on your product’s concept, design, and marketability.
Make Sure You’re First
Search the market, do an online search, look for images with key words that may describe your product and make sure someone else isn’t already cashing in on your great idea. For instance, you wouldn’t be the first person to invent a basic dog wheelchair.
Hop online and conduct a quick patent search on the U.S. Patent and Trading Office website. Here, you can find out if anyone else has already secured a patent on your vision.
In addition to searching for a patent, you can also see if any prior artwork or design illustrations related to your idea exist. If so, those could prevent you from moving forward with the patent.
Research Your Market
The next step in the invention process is to make sure there’s a market that’s interested in your product. In this case, your target audience would be owners of handicapped pets.
Most of these owners are seeking a solution that could help make their dog’s life more comfortable. This is where you come in!
Before you start sketching product designs, it helps to know what kind of features they’re looking for in their next investment. What pain points do they have with their current products and how can you improve upon them?
Hold informal focus groups in your community, reaching out to your local animal shelter or pet supply store for advertising help. You can also create online surveys and share them on social media. Find out exactly what pet owners are willing to pay for, and use this insight to guide your prototype.
Create a Prototype
You’ve listened to feedback from your core audience, and you know what you want your design to look like. But, will it work in real life?
To test your idea, you should consider creating a working prototype. This is a working model of your product that can help you find out what works and what doesn’t.
Take your time with this step, and go back to the drawing board multiple times if you need to. If you’re claiming your product will aid a handicap pet, be sure it does just that.
Need a little inspiration? Consider the story of Dr. Lincoln Parkes.
Starting Small, Dreaming Big
Now 91 years old, Dr. Parkes was in his thirties when he first started working as a veterinarian. During that time, he noticed that dogs and other animals that couldn’t walk were euthanized on a regular basis.
Thinking that there must be a better way, he started planning. He took to the streets, gathering any spare supplies he could find, including wooden planks and wheels from children’s wagons.
From those basic supplies, he created a rudimentary design that would go on to improve the lives of millions of furry friends: the first doggy wheelchair.
The takeaway? You don’t have to have angel investors behind you and top-of-the-line tools to make a great pet product. Start with what you have, just start.
File Your Patent
If you decide to move forward to patent your idea; there are three kinds of patents. A design patent covers a new design of an existing product, while a utility patent covers a new process or machine. The last is a plant patent, which is normally reserved for research scientists or agricultural experts.
If you decide to build pet aids that no one has ever created before, you’ll file a utility patent. If you want to improve on an existing concept, such as dog traction booties, you’ll need a design one.
Before you start filling out the paperwork, however, it’s smart to consult with and/or hire a patent lawyer.
Remember The Key Ingredients
Problem. Solution. Three to five benefit statements.
Help Handicapped Pets, One Idea at a Time
Handicapped pets are a unique population. They need more help and attention than others but aren’t able to communicate those needs.
That’s why there’s an entire market of products designed to make their everyday lives as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Want to join it?
If you have a great idea for a design that would help fill an unmet need, we’d love to hear it. We review hundreds of design submissions through a four-step process every week, licensing the best ones to the top companies.
Contact us today to learn more, and let’s dream together.