An invention assessment, also called an invention evaluation, marketability research, or product evaluation means looking at your new invention to find out what its market worthiness is. Would anyone buy your invention? Can it be made at the right price?
Purpose of an Invention AssessmentGetting an invention assessment serves two main purposes: one, you find out if it is worthwhile to put more money into a certain idea and two, when you are trying to raise venture capital, sell or license your ideas, you will be ready with the hard facts that can impress a potential investor or buyer.
Only a tiny percentage of patents ever make a profit and it is better for the independent inventor to understand that fact and act upon it. You are a very creative person by nature, maybe one idea does will not work out but another one might. In a very competitive market, you need to be able to objectively decide if your new invention will be able to do all of the following:
- Can fulfill a consumer's needs or desires.
- Can be manufactured and sold at the right price, sold at no more than five times what it costs to make.
- Can be delivered to market, a way to distribute your product is in place and the market opportunity is established.
- Can pass safety, legal, environmental and performance expectations or standards.
Use Caution Before Hiring the Wrong People for an Invention AssessmentMany invention promotion firms offer invention or market evaluations, but they cannot give you an objective opinion since they have a stake in the fees they are going to charge you for their services. If you have not done so already please read Invention Promotion Firms & Avoiding Scams and How To Avoid An Invention Company Scam. These companies fail to tell you that only a small percentage of new inventions make money. They charge you an arm and a leg to patent and market your invention and they do not want you to think your invention could possible fail.
Use a Confidentiality AgreementBefore hiring anyone to make an invention assessment for you, you must first sign a non-disclosure agreement if you have no patent protection. A non-disclosure agreement (also known as a Confidentiality Agreement) is used when someone with an unpatented idea shows it to another party, and wants that party to maintain as confidential any information.
What an Objective Invention Assessment Professional Can Do For YouA few reputable companies do provide honest assessment services for an up-front fee. Fees for these services range about $175 to $500 and up, some will include a preliminary patent search, some will market your product if they think it is superior.
The forementioned directory lists companies that come with good recommendations from successful independent inventors and inventor groups, for example, the Innovation Assessment Program at Washington State University. They will evaluate your new invention and provide you with a report that covers: environmental impact, potential market, usage learning, service, new competition, production feasibility, investment costs, product line potential, promotion, price, payback period, marketing research, stability of demand, consumer/user compatibility, perceived function, potential sales, safety, societal impact, product life cycle, product viability, durability, functional feasibility, development status, trend of demand, need, appearance, protection, profitability, research and development, distribution, product interdependence and existing competition.
Other companies in the directory will provide similar materials and all of them will let you know what you buying for your money upfront.
That brings us back to point two of why you should conduct an invention assessment, "when you are trying to raise venture capital, sell or license your ideas, you will be ready with the hard facts that can impress a potential investor or buyer." Can you answer all of the questions by yourself that a professional report answers? Do you want to be left speechless at a business meeting? Do you want to appear naive? You can also use an invention evaluation report as a starting place to improve your new invention's marketability. You will have your invention's weaknesses listed and you can try to change them.
A professional invention assessment is invaluable, however, you can do a preliminary self-assessment by yourself.