Diary Of A Young Entrepreneur – innovation or bust?

In the first of her monthly guest blogging spots, Rowena Mead provides some practical advice based on her own recent experiences as an entrepreneur attempting to take an innovative product to …

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15th May 2007 at 7:30 am

In the first of her monthly guest blogging spots, Rowena Mead provides some practical advice based on her own recent experiences as an entrepreneur attempting to take an innovative product to market.

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My idea is nothing complex. It is a very simple answer to a simple problem. In fact, I was so convinced that someone else must have invented it, I went on the internet to see if I could purchase it. After initially being annoyed that I couldn’t find a solution, I realised that I was sitting on a great idea.

But what do you do? I kept it in the back of my mind as one of those ‘yes I must look at this’ lists. Fortunately at a large business event called Venturefest Yorkshire, I stumbled across some people that could help. The company was called Smart Innovation (SI).

SI helps inventors with ideas to get their products to market. It seems there are a lot of bogus companies advertising services like this, so be very wary before you approach them. Some are in it to fleece bewildered inventors and make a lot of money. I knew due to the nature of Venturefest Yorkshire that this company was genuine.

I was told to email the director of SI. Now, you have to be very careful when contacting people – don’t disclose any details until a non-disclosure agreement is signed. This is protection for you to ensure that whoever you are telling does not steal your idea.

And so I met up with a chap called Steve, a non-disclosure agreement was signed and he gave me advice on what to do next – a patent search to check if anyone else has already had the idea. This is the most important part, and most depressing if your bubble bursts.

www.espacenet.com is a website detailing all patent applications around the world, which can be readily viewed by the general public. The site took a bit of getting used to, but I trawled through over 2,500 applications to see if my idea was there, crossing my fingers that every mouse click would not reveal my design.

I then had to go to Leeds library and pay them to do a patent search – they have access to databases which the public can’t view (I think it cost around £70 and most city libraries can do this for you). It is very sensible to do this thorough search before you invest more time and money on a concept which someone else may have already had, however oppressive it seems.

After all the searching I only found one design which had an element which was vaguely similar to mine. Sod’s law that the patent was only applied for in September 2006.

It is at this point that I needed to seek the advice of a proper intellectual property agent, and that’s another chapter altogether!

Rowena Mead

Rowena Mead is a freelance copywriter and entrepreneur with ambitious plans to bring a new type of children's toothbrush to market. Married with a 20 month old mischievous daughter named Saskia who was the inspiration behind her invention, Rowena shares her business trials, tribulations and successes with SmallBizPod readers. http://www.subservientcopy.com

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  1. […] Previous entries in the series: 1. Diary Of A Young Entrepreneur – innovation or bust? […]

  2. […] entries in the series: 1. Diary Of A Young Entrepreneur – innovation or bust? 2. Diary Of A Young Entrepreneur – protection and […]

  3. dave says:

    Hi Rowena

    I can give you loads of free advice of how to get your product to the market

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