The Victorian branch of the Inventors Association of Australia (IAA) has been in action for many years to assist new inventors by providing practical, legal and engineering advice in a friendly and informational environment.

I have been making presentations there for over a decade, to help inventors understand how to protect their valuable intellectual property. At the November meeting I presented on the need for strategy when undertaking a project to bring an invention to market.

The key point is that there is no one approach to making a project work.

The right strategy for your project will depend on which aspect of the project is leading your approach. Initially you need to analyse the invention, the technology and the market.

  • If the invention is the most important aspect you may you need to progress further with the inventive concept in order to make the project work.
  • Is prototyping and developing the technology to make the invention work the key to success? If so, you may need to focus on ensuring the practical issues are readily resolved and that the costings can be made reasonable.
  • Is the marketing the most important pillar of the project? If so, having a marketing partner, such as a company already in the field, may be essential for the project to proceed.

Another important aspect to consider is where your skills lie, and in which areas you might need help – for example:

  • Inventive concept
  • Proof of concept
  • Prototyping
  • Mass Production
  • Marketing
  • Costing
  • Proof of marketability
  • Supply chain

Generally, to minimise risk, you should begin by filing a provisional patent application. This means that you will be able to proceed with the other elements of your project knowing that no one can make a claim to your invention.

To obtain a patent you need to pass certain threshold patentability requirements including:

  1. Whether your invention is allowable subject matter under the rules of ‘manner of manufacture’
  2. Whether your new apparatus is ‘novel’ compared with any published disclosure of similar inventions anywhere in the world
  3. Whether the difference between your invention and any existing apparatus is ‘inventive’, or merely an obvious variation.