The first step to developing an idea is to do some research to determine its marketability. Marketability refers to the anticipated reception of your invention in the market.The Internet and your local public library are great starting points for finding relevant market information. Likewise, a visit to a health sciences library at a major medical school can provide additional resources to begin researching medical specialties and procedures.
In this section, you will find information adapted from The Inventor's Bible by Ron Docie, Sr. that can help you evaluate and further develop your idea.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself when analyzing marketability:• Improvement: Is there a gold standard? How is your invention better than what is on the market now? Is it less expensive; does it have more options; is it safer, more efficient, faster, easier to use, longer lasting?
Valuing an Idea
When developing an idea, you need to feel confident that it will provide an adequate return on investment (ROI) for you and the purchasing or licensing company. Understanding how your invention will be valued will help you make crucial decisions about funding and licensing or selling your idea. The value of an idea will be determined by several criteria. You may want to consider the questions listed here to discover if there are any factors that will prohibit producing, licensing, or pursuing a patent for your invention.
Legal and Safety Criteria
Considering the legal restrictions surrounding your idea will help you determine if you will encounter any regulatory hurdles.
• Legality: Are there rules, regulations, or standards that prohibit the development or use of your invention?
Business Risk Criteria
Evaluating the business risk criteria may help you determine if pursuing development is financially possible.• Functional Feasibility: Will your invention do what it is intended? Is it both safe and effective?
• Production Feasibility: Does the company have the necessary equipment and resources to manufacture and market your invention?
Answering these questions to assess demand is crucial to valuing the need of your idea in the market.
• Potential Market: What is the potential market for a product of this type?
Market Acceptance Criteria
Market acceptance criteria may be good indicators for determining if the market is primed to support and promote your invention.
• Compatibility: How well will your invention fit into accepted protocols?
The value of your invention can be significantly affected by competitive products or services. Recognizing where your invention fits into the current marketplace may help you strategize the best way to bring your idea to market.• Appearance: Is your invention visibly different from related products?
If you did not uncover significant barriers to developing your idea during this evaluation, you may be ready to move on to formulating your development strategy.
Adapted with permission from Docie, Ron Louis Sr. The Inventor's Bible: How to Market and License Your Brilliant Ideas. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. 2001.
Licensing Versus Selling an Idea
If you decide against developing your idea alone, you have two options—licensing or assigning. Licensing is in essence leasing an idea. Assigning is the sale of a patented idea.Assigning or selling rights to your invention requires that both parties agree to a projected worth of the product. This is particularly difficult to predict in the rapidly changing healthcare market. When you sell your invention, you assign your rights to a company in exchange for a cash sum, usually paid up front or at agreed upon milestones in the development process.
When you license an invention, you offer a company the right to produce and sell your invention for a designated period of time for an agreed upon compensation.
Advantages to Licensing:
• Improved Odds: In some circumstances, licensing may be better than selling. Companies often prefer to engage in licensing contracts with inventors because licensing reduces the uncertainty and risk of estimating the value of an invention without its worth being quantitatively proven in the marketplace.
DePuy Mitek's Criteria
If DePuy Mitek decides to pursue the invention you submit, you will have a discussion with your invention champion so that DePuy Mitek may better understand your invention. The following PDF includes questions that the DePuy Mitek invention champion may ask during a discussion about your idea. While you may not have all the answers, asking yourself these questions about utility, novelty, nonobviousness, and enablement will help you prepare for the interview and ensure that you have evaluated your invention comprehensively. Please note that a high score does not necessarily guarantee DePuy Mitek will pursue your invention, nor does a low score necessarily mean we will decline your invention.