In the course of innovating for your business, your company might come up with ideas that could have commercial potential but don’t necessarily fit into your overall business plan. But does that mean you should give up on these ideas? Or that you need to develop an entire spinoff business around them? Not at all.
It’s still possible to profit from ideas that don’t fit into your current business. How? By matching your commercially viable ideas with companies that are seeking new ideas to develop into products, or new products to take to market. Here are some websites that can help you do just that.
I mentioned InventorSpot’s many resources last week, but one of the most useful features of this site is the Invention Gallery, where you can submit inventions that are available for sale or licensing. There is no cost for the listing, and you can submit inventions in a wide range of categories, from apparel to toys. There’s also a Forum on the site where you can connect and network with inventors and others in the industry.
Calling itself an “invention and innovation marketplace,” InventSpark has listings of inventions for sale or license. You can connect with companies seeking inventions, as well as with service providers and other inventors who can help you improve or develop your product. The fee for listing your invention varies with several payment plans, which range from $96 to about $150 annually. Don’t want to pay to be listed? Try out the InventSpark forum first; you can network with other members of the inventing community here and possibly develop some leads. Membership in InventSpark is free.
This website, which focuses on educating inventors and protecting them from fraud, has a list of companies seeking new products in a range of industries, from automotive to medical technologies to toys and games. Keep in mind that most companies listed here prefer to only look at products that have been patented or, at the very least, are patent pending.
Invention Convention is the biggest and best-known inventors’ trade show in North America. Now the company has entered the 21st century with an online tradeshow, InventionConvention.com, that lets you spotlight your product online. Inventors have the chance to connect with investors, manufacturers, distributors, licensees and others. Unlike the offline Invention Convention tradeshow, the online version runs 365 days a year. The newest products are spotlighted once a month as New Invention Debuts. Be aware you should have a patent or patent pending to exhibit here.
Before you submit your idea or product to any company for consideration, it’s a good idea to make sure they are on the up and up. If your listing on one of the above sites leads to interest from invention promotion firms or other companies that want to buy or license your idea or say they can help you bring it to market, visit The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website before you enter into any agreements.
The USPTO site has a section devoted to scam prevention that provides guidance on how to check a firm’s background, what to look for when doing business with a firm, and how to file a complaint. You can also access published complaints against firms. When it comes to the world of inventing, forewarned is forearmed.