You are entering a world that few are willing or able to brave. Inquire, learn, and be prepared to make huge sacrifices. Having a good or even GREAT idea is not enough unless your invention is unique, you already have a standing order and a method of distribution into the market. That is the reality... and don't let anyone tell you otherwise...


-- Unknown Author (A very wise business entrepreneur)

(1) What will it cost me to submit my idea?

(2) How do I know that my invention idea will be protected?

(3) Can you tell me how much my invention is worth from the evaluation?

(4) What types of questions will investors ask and will you provide the answers?

(5) How can I be sure that your research data is accurate and reliable?

(6) Is a patent really important, and what does it cost to get one?

(7) How do I get my product to market?

(8) How much will it cost me to proceed with having you substantiate the findings and formalize the data into a presentation?


1) What will it cost me to submit my idea?  

The initial evaluation is usually provided at no cost. We are excited for the opportunity to mentor the next multi-million-dollar invention idea. We will only select projects that we feel have great potential.



2) How do I know that my invention idea will be protected?  

Idea Mill offers a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to protect all parties as well as all proprietary information whether verbal, written or electronic. Click the link to view and print a PDF file for the NDA.

We recommend that you consult an attorney OR visit the American Bar Association website to learn more about “Submitting an Idea.”



3) Can you tell me how much my invention is worth from the evaluation?  

The answer to your question is unfortunately another question: How much are you willing to risk for what amount of gain?

Imagine that you have two product ideas, each with a potential of $15,000,000 in sales. One requires $50,000 of research and development and the other $200,000 -- a licensing agreement may fetch up to $400,000 -- what will you do? The potential is there, but there are varying degrees of risk to value.



4) What types of questions will investors ask and will you provide the answers?  

Below are some of the points crucial to finding licensing, distribution, and Investment opportunities, but just as importantly, they will help to determine the value of your invention. Let's assume your invention idea is not a new technology but a desirable and timely product idea with a limited life cycle.

  • What is your product invention and what is its purpose?
  • Can your invention be protected and by what method?
  • What is your target market?
  • Why will the target market want or need your product?
  • What is the cost to manufacture the product?
  • What is your target price?
  • Will your target market be willing to pay for your product?
  • How much will your market be willing to spend for your product?
  • Can you project your financials and product sales estimates for three years?
  • Does your product have direct competitors and what are their current sales figures?
  • If a competitor or similar products are available, how does yours differ?
  • Why will the market want to buy your product over those of your competitors?
  • How will you distribute your product and will your market purchase through that venue?
  • Can you substantiate any of your claims and how can prove your data is accurate?

We can provide the answers and make sure you can substantiate your data.



5) How can I be sure that your research data is accurate and reliable?  

There are many factors that must be defined to generate the report including invention innovation, competition, market share, and the estimated cost-to-retail price point ratio. Simply put, more research will provide greater accuracy; interviewing five focus groups with 40-50 of an invention's would-be customer base will provide greater accuracy with fewer anomalies than interviewing just two groups that may contradict and cancel each other out. The models we use are tried and true and are applicable to virtually every industry, but it also takes very experienced marketing analysts to create the structure and requirements for the research in order to provide qualitative and quantitative data.



6) Is a patent really important and what does it cost to get one?  

Patents and other forms of intellectual property such as trademarks, service marks and copyrights are considered intangible assets and used to account for a small percentage of a company's value. In today's market, intangible assets can account for the majority of a company's net worth -- ie., Microsoft is made up of more than 70% intangible assets. We believe that a patent is essential if you hope to find investment funding or an entity to purchase or license your invention. Patents are like resumés, there are a hundred different ways that they can be written and interpreted. A well-researched and written patent provides protection for the invention, its application and possible future evolutions; but more importantly, it should provide some assurance that your patent does not infringe on other patents. We recommend that you wait for the search and survey results before spending the $8,000 average cost for a patent application.



7) How do I get my product to market?  

Every invention, whether an original idea, an improved version of or an accessory to an existing product line may fall into multiple categories. It depends on competition, market potential and a dozen other points of consideration. Each product is unique and will require a specific strategy for the development and licensing or manufacturing, marketing and sales. Suffice it to say that if your invention is patentable with a low cost-to-retail price point ratio, has perceived benefits and a large market appeal, then you have a very good chance at a lucrative licensing opportunity. Otherwise, see Question 8 below for a more detailed view of the necessary phases of product development.



8) How much will it cost me to proceed with having you substantiate the findings and formalize the data into a presentation?  

We recommend that you go through all of the steps below to be sure your product research can be substantiated before you invest more money. If you have a standing order and a retail distribution channel for your unique and original invention idea, then we can surely put you on the fast-track to making your next million dollars; for all others, the risk to proceed is a great one. The initial investment has to come from you, your family and friends who are willing to take that leap of faith. Investors will expect you to shorten the risk gap by providing validation for your product.


-- A very appropriate quote by Thomas Edison

The costs below are conservative and may vary depending on the complexity of the invention and research time required. But, this isn't just about research. You will need to provide a compelling presentation with a proposed form and function for the product as well as the style and graphics for the logos, packaging and sample brochures.

PHASE I ~ Preliminary

Invention discovery / Patent Search

$ 2,800 -- $ 4,000
Market Analysis Survey / Evaluation

$ 3,500 -- $ 5,000

PHASE II ~ Validation

Concept Drawings and Design -- Renderings

$ 1,200 -- $ 1,800
Design Specifications & Parameters

$ 2,400 -- $ 3,500
Patent application Specifications & Criteria

$ 1,200 -- $ 1,500
Patent Application

$ 8,000 -- $ 12,000
In-Depth Market Research

$ 25,000 -- $ 50,000
Product Design / Graphics

$ 3,000 -- $ 5,000
Design & Filing -- Logos, Trademarks & Service Marks

$ 2,200 -- $ 3,500
PowerPoint Presentation / Charts / Graphs / Visual Aids

$ 5,000 -- $ 8,000
Create Business Plan / Marketing Strategy

$ 2,500 -- $ 5,000

PHASE III ~ Opportunity

Find & Negotiate Investment Opportunities

To be determined
Find & Negotiate Licensing Opportunities

To be determined

The above figures are estimations and are in no way binding. Each project idea is unique and has varying considerations which require in-depth analysis for more accurate cost projections.




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