Extra cash is welcome in any season, anywhere, and any time. If you’ve got brain power and creativity, it’s easier to start getting money for your ideas when you have the right tools at your disposal. Whether you have your own idea that you want to sell or you are just a creative person that wants to leverage that brain power for income, there are lots of ways to get paid. We’ve gathered the intel on a list of quality, tried-and-true techniques to get money for ideas based on cost, execution time, quality control, and amount of energy required.
Search the web to see if your idea exists.
Eureka! Congratulations on your lightbulb moment! So you have an idea that you think might be good enough to earn you some money, but the first question that you’re probably asking yourself (and if not, you should) is whether or not your idea already exists. Before you can profit from that movement in your gray matter, you have got to determine if your idea exists anywhere out there in the world yet.
Below are a few options when it comes to conducting your initial search:
- The LOCI Platform provides a free search tool, LOCI Search, that provides a simple yet comprehensive search by scraping millions of patents worldwide, but it does so in the most intuitive and easy-to-understand interface that exists. When users input their search words, results come back in seconds displayed in an interactive Venn diagram. The diagram provides a visual display of areas of saturation as well as areas that contain fewer relevant patents, thus providing intel on what exists, but also intel on what ‘could’ exist. Search results conducted in the LOCI Platform can be saved, exported, and shared for free once a profile is created.
- SumoBrain is another free tool that allows users to conduct patent searches to determine whether or not an idea already exists. This platform allows for saved searches and collaboration with others through sharing and annotating. The one major hangup you might encounter is a cluttered dashboard, which creates a bit of noise when initially getting acquainted with the platform.
- Another option to determine whether or not your idea exists, would be to use Google and more specifically, the Google patent search tool, Google Patents. Using this platform opens complete and free access to millions of patents in the database (the same database that LOCI uses). The user-interface is certainly friendlier than SumoBrain, especially if you are accustomed to conducting regular Google searches for other purposes, but the results will be displayed in a long list, not a beautiful Venn diagram like LOCI uses.
Analyze your idea to discover prior art and understand the novelty of your idea.
Our message at Hong Kong’s BIP Forum was well received for good reason. It’s not just the inventors who appreciate our products. Early adopters across the spectrum stand to benefit from joining us and helping us to build this new economic model.
Once you’ve identified that your idea does not already exist, the next step is to test its rigor and determine exactly how novel it is. It’s one thing to have a new idea, but it’s quite another to determine if it’s novel enough to make it worth spending your resources any further to bring to life. In order to make an informed decision, you should consider refining and understanding your idea, and the following resources are options that can help in this process:
- One option along the traditional route of analyzing your idea is to pay a patent attorney to conduct a prior art search. This is typically what people do when they want to understand the landscape of intellectual property in relation to their idea or innovation. A prior art search will hopefully return similar patents or documents that may be used to help an inventor better understand competitors, the field, refine the existing idea, or may serve as the grounds to prove your idea’s novelty. Working with a patent attorney can be rewarding, but the downsides are that the costs may be inhibitive, and you will spend a lot of your own time educating the attorney on your idea before they can fully implement your search. If your idea is a complex one, you can expect to spend more time (generally 4 weeks or more), and in the legal world, that means more money out of your pocket. It’s not uncommon for a single patent search to cost well over $2,000.00, and even you might simply learn that your idea is not novel enough to patent, so if you choose this route, be prepared to pay up.
- Another option along the quest to analyze one’s idea is one of the products in the LOCI Platform, called Invention Analysis. Invention Analysis helps new inventors determine the novelty and demand for their ideas in a matter of minutes before they spend money trying to patent. This is a huge cost savings of about 95% compared to traditional patent attorney searches. This tool provides a LOCI Score indicating novelty, a list of top related patents, keywords, and top CPC codes. All of this data comes back within minutes and provides the user with an immediate understanding of just how novel his or her idea is. The system is designed to allow inventors to submit multiple iterations to help refine their idea and identify alternative applications of their invention. Though this tool is not free, it is very inexpensive (one analysis costs about $50) and is more comprehensive than a single patent attorney search, providing a savings to inventors of about 95%.
Secure your idea.
Now that you are confident you have an idea that can help you get some money, the next step is making sure that you reserve the rights to that idea.
- A fairly simple and straightforward way to protect your idea is to implement a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). When signed by all parties, this document would allow you to discuss your protected idea or innovation with people while mitigating the risk of them repeating the information to another party. Of course information leaking is always a risk, but with this document in place, you would at least have the legal grounds to protect yourself should anyone decide to spill the beans. A simple boilerplate document can be obtained at Legalzoom for a minimal cost, and should suffice as you are getting started.
- Applying for a provisional patent is a logical step along the traditional route of innovation for inventors and idea generators who wish to establish an earlier filing date and obtain the legal rights of ‘ownership’ over their idea. Obtaining a patent should not ever be confused with the sole rights to produce or monetize an idea; a patent simply gives a person the right to legally defend their stake to it. Once a provisional patent has been filed, it also allows inventors use of the term ‘patent pending’ when describing the product or idea, which carries some weight as inventors position themselves for the next step of monetization. Filing a provisional patent can be done on one’s own directly through the USPTO, using a patent attorney, or through ‘DIY’ third parties such as Legalzoom or LOCI).
- While waiting for the USPTO to confirm a provisional patent application, another path open to inventors is staking an idea on the blockchain, which is a very inexpensive and fast option to help demonstrate that your idea belongs to you. When you stake your idea on the blockchain, a record of “who came up with what idea, when” is made that involves a timestamp that cannot be changed by anyone or anything. This method adds an additional layer of proof, though it cannot currently be considered a substitute for filing a provisional patent or publishing a public disclosure document. Staking on the blockchain creates a public record, but still offers privacy to you and protection over your idea by means of a hash that functions similar to a digital thumbprint. At present, LOCI is the one and only company that offers inventors the option to stake their ideas on the blockchain, and it can be done for a very minimial cost. Visit www.loci.io to learn about staking your idea on the blockchain.
Monetize your ideas.
Show yourself the money. Now that you’ve vetted your grand idea, it’s time to finally get some money for it. Monetization can be any form of turning your idea into hard-earned money, such as funding, licensing, royalties, or outright selling.
- Now that you have completed your research and analysis and better understand the other companies in your field, you should identify the ones that seem most likely to benefit from your idea. Once you have that shortlist, you can reach out to those companies directly to talk with them about licensing your product. Before you make contact, be sure that you have protected your idea by filing for a provisional patent and staking it on the blockchain, and also consider employing an NDA to facilitate the conversation you have with the target company. Also, you will want to make sure that you have a presentation or pitch that is powerful, along with other metrics or product information that your potential licensee would want to know. Make sure to be prepared since every opportunity could be your big break on getting paid.
- Depending on where you are with your idea and or product, you may consider trying to raise funds to produce more or market more effectively. Locating angel investors or venture capital can be a challenge, so many innovators today are relying on larger crowdfunding sites to raise capital for an idea. Some of the most common names in this area are Kickstarter, Crowdfunder, and Fundable.
- In the near future, another option for selling your idea will be made possible by the LOCI Platform on its Marketplace (currently in beta). The Marketplace will be integrated into the existing Platform where users already search and stake ideas on the blockchain. Investors, corporations, and even government entities and organizations who spend trillions of dollars on R&D will be a part of this Marketplace, making it simple for inventors to share and sell their ideas to the highest bidder. Imagine a system akin to eBay, but instead of just selling products, the LOCI Marketplace seeks to become the “eBay of Intellectual Property (IP)”. For users that conduct their initial search and analysis through the LOCI Platform, they will be able to entice investors with their comprehensive LOCI Score.
Get it all in one place.
If you’ve made it to the conclusion of this article, first off, you are clearly a dedicated innovator who is doing the research to get money as quickly as you can for your ideas. Secondly, you may have also come to identify one common thread among all the steps along the way to monetization: The LOCI Platform. LOCI is the one-stop-shop to bring innovators from the inception of an idea all the way to monetization, and all of this is done way faster and at about 95% less cost than the traditional means. Let LOCI guide your success story today, from start to finish here.
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More about LOCI
LOCI’s mission is to disrupt the global patent industry, and to change the way the world invents and values ideas. We specialize in simplifying the patent search process by utilizing unique visualizations and providing comprehensive analysis to help determine the novelty and demand of an idea. To further understand the landscape of IP and learn more about LOCI, sign up for the latest updates above or visit our website here.
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