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Patents- Trademarks- Intellectual Property   Tags: intellectual property, inventions, trademarks  

Last Updated: Jul 18, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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How to evaluate your invention

Evaluate Your Invention

Ninety-five percent of patents do not end up being profitable.  As result of these statistics, it is very important to research the market worthiness of your invention.  You need to ask yourself questions such as: 

1.  Does your product fill a need or desire that people are willing to pay for?

2.  Are there other products out there that are similar?

3.  Who will be your competition?   Who will be your customers?

4.  Do you want to start your own business and handle the manufacturing of your product? This is not an easy option, but you have a chance of success.

5.  Or, do you want to sell or license the rights to your invention? Often times this licensing rights are not lucrative. 

Join an Inventors Group

You may want to join an Inventors Group such as the Inventors' Association of Metropolitan Detroit (see above) to receive support from more experienced inventors.

These groups meet in person as an organization or may be online.

This type of group also offers educational programming, networking, may recommend manufacturers and attorneys, and may even help to evaluate your invention.

Research at a Local Business Library Collection

1.  Catalogs, Directories and Websites can provide data on existing products and their profitability.

2.  Demographic information can help you find potential customers.

3.  Identify the stages of product development.

4.  Find manufacturers.

5.  Develop a business plan.

6.  Locate sources of funding.

Other sources of Community Assistance

Seek out business counseling at an organization such as SCORE.

Network with other established businessman.

Make use of a business incubator such as Techtown.


And most important, never reveal your idea to anyone without having them sign a nondisclosure agreement!


A final note of wisdom from experienced inventors- If you don’t have money to sue a patent infringer, your patent is worthless.


Databases for Patents

  • U.S.Patent and Trademark Office  
    USPTO- United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PatFT”) offers full-text (including images) access to U.S. Patents from 1976 to present.
  • Google Patent Search
    Google Patents Search-Search Beta collection for the full-text. Google scanned patent documents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Other Databases about Patent Process

  • Engineering Village (Compendex)  
    Engineering Village- EI Patent section has US Patent and Trademark Office and European Patent Office patent collection. Patents and scientific literature can be searched at the same time by cross searching other Engineering Village databases, such as Compendex.
  • ScienceDirect  
    Science Direct(Elsevier)- This database has full-text content, including journal articles on patent
    related topics. One example of a full-text journal is World Patent Information.
  • Business Source Complete+  
    Full-text scholarly journal articles on many subject areas. Search by "patent" and another descriptor to find articles on your subject area.
  • IEEE Digital Library  Icon
    Journals, Proceedings, Standards, IET materials full-text from 1998 to present: 3,000,000 documents
  • LexisNexis
    Lexis has a section on Patent Law that searches cases, journal articles, patent classifications, and international patent information.
  • SciFinder  Icon
    SciFinder (CAS- a division of the American Chemical Society) - References from more than 10,000 currently published journals and patents from more than 61 patent authorities. Go to “How to explore by Journal or Patent” to narrow your search to Patents.
    Scopus (Elsevier)- This abstract and citation database held by many academic libraries
    has content representing five patent offices- (UK Intellectual Property Office, Japan Patent Office, European Patent Office, World Intellectual Property Office, and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  • MedLine
    Medline (National Library of Health)- citations and/or full-text coverage of medical journals.
    Excellent content on patents including analysis of medical/biomedical patents.

Sample Print and Ebooks at Lawrence Tech

Cover Art
New Product Development and Delivery - Brethauer, Dale
Call Number: HF5415.153 .B74 2002
ISBN: 9780814407134
Publication Date: 2002

Cover Art
Patent it yourself - David Pressman
ISBN: 9781413308549
Publication Date: 2008
Patent it yourself , 13th edition by David Pressman, Nolo, Berkeley, CA, 2008.
This basic patent book is recommended by Patent Librarians and USPTO experts as a great
basic book to start with for all inventors.

Cover Art
How to Invent and Protect Your Invention - Elyse N. Ball (As told to); Joseph P. Kennedy; Wayne H. Watkins
Call Number: K1505 .K45 2012
ISBN: 9781118369371
Publication Date: 2012-08-28

Cover Art
Who owns you? The corporate goldrush to patent your genes - David Koepsell
Call Number: Electronic Book
ISBN: 9781405187312
Publication Date: 2009
Check out one of LTU's 78,000+ electronic books. Search for them in TechCat.

Blogs and News


Test your IP IQ!

1.       Once you receive a patent on your product, you may renew the patent once.

False:  You may not renew a patent.


2.      A Plant Patent deals with manufacturing facility designs.

False:   Plant Patents deal with asexually reproduced plants (hybrids, etc.) and are in effect for 20 years.


3.      If you have not registered a copyright for your written work, you have no rights to protect it.

False:  Your work is considered to be under copyright as soon as the work is finished, regardless of whether you register a copyright.  A copyright registration is considered proof of authorship in court.


If you need help, contact the library at 248-204-3000 or email

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