by Jon W. Mooney,
1996, 86 pages (8-1/2x11), $17.95, ISBN-0-9653592-9-4.
Order from Rapid Product Development Press, PO Box 655, Amelia, OH 45102.
The author has 17 years of experience as a product development engineer and as a consultant to independent inventors. His experience has led him to the conclusion that a vast number of people completely fail to understand that only one idea of a thousand ever becomes a commercial success and that 90% of the patents granted are pure waste. In the U.S. alone, the money spent each year for securing these wasteful patents amounts to $540 million!
When it comes to inventions, he has found even the best minds are given to wishful thinking. To help inventors overcome this tendency, he has developed a list of 20 questions. The "Product Idea Evaluation" questions deal with marketing, competition, design, manufacturing and assembly, patentability and regulations. (He notes this list may not apply to toy, game or fad items.) You assign a score of one to five to your answers based on his scoring guidelines and information gathered. By simply totaling your score, you can determine whether your product is for real or a waste of time. He doubts if any product scoring less than 85 out of 100 is worth pursuing.
The answers to the questions are not taken out of the blue. He reviews each question as to the information that you should gather to lead to an educated answer. He gives sources of information you can consult that will lead you to realistic answers.
The author discusses how you can conduct an efficient patent search. A patent-search worksheet and a competitive-patent-search worksheet are provided. Also, a list of popular Internet Search Engines is included. He cautions: "Be specific, fight the urge to browse". He gives reasons as to why a patent search done by an inventor can be more valuable than one done by others.
In your search for market information, he warns you to avoid several common errors -- failing to see problems as your potential customers perceive them, over-estimating the price customers would pay, overestimating market size. He gives sources for locating magazines and associations that are specific to your product.
In the forward, John L. Janning, a very successful inventor, cautions that "The path to riches is full of sweat, disappointments, failure, sacrifice, late hours and hard work -- but by using Mooney's guidelines to evaluate your product, you should increase your odds for success".
While this book is only 89 pages long, it is based on solid experience and not on theory -- it may help convert you from a dreamer to a professional product developer.