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The first step for all companies, from start-ups to multi-nationals, is to generate new business ideas that are unique. In today’s world, nearly all innovations arise from combinations of other technologies. For example, you can take a collection of known parts and rearrange them in a different manner to provide new functionalities not provided before. This can be done to come up with new products or services in the same industry.

Innovative thinking can lead to products that create a new market or niche segment: Paper disposable diapers are a good example of an entirely new-to-the-world product that, when introduced, created an entirely new and explosively large growth segment for infant care. New flavors and new sizes of existing products are examples of line extensions. For example, new styles of Coke flavors continue to proliferate, continually refreshing a brand name and product line over several decades. Incremental product improvements can be made such as PCs where continuous improvements are made each year, with increased performance, capacity, and entertainment feature improvements, etc., that competitors strive to quickly copy.

Another way to come up with “new” products is to reposition existing products: Tums (the anti-acid stomach product) has successfully repositioned its high calcium content as a benefit primarily for women's health needs, along with its original antacid claims.Are there any opportunities for your company's products to be refreshed in the marketplace by being repositioned, improved, or brought out in a new size, flavor, or package?

Additionally, you can look at other’s products and imitate/improve/build on other’s products. Although imitation has been stigmatized, when done well imitation can be financially rewarding. One way to do this is to borrow ideas from others and then apply your own creativity in combining these ideas. The ideas can come from your own industry, or can come from completely different industries. Although harder to do, significantly more spectacular results can occur when you borrow concepts and ideas from different industries and apply the concepts/ideas to your industry. If you do this, do a careful review of third party IPs to make sure you respect their intellectual property. If in doubt, check with a good IP lawyer.

There are many techniques to come up with new business ideas byimproving existing products. You can periodically screen your products and comparing them with competitors' products, with an eye toward improving attributes of products, combining the features/benefits of several separate products into a single new product.

You can examine users' needs that are not being met by current competitive products using idea-generating methods like brainstorming. Brainstorming techniques can be used to generate ideas. The brainstorming session can be done alone or as part of a group. Group dynamics can have positive and negative contributions to the innovation process. Group thinking, or herd thinking, can mute the effects of new ideas by constraining people to the least common denominator. On the other hand, when done correctly, group thinking can inject valuable perspectives that an individual may miss.

One way to benefit from your peers is to give people time to brainstorm on their own before discussing ideas with their team members. This practice can result in high quality ideas.

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You can design your prototype using hand tools or CAD tools. If you use CAD software, you can use rapid prototyping tools to fabricate the prototype. In one technology called additive manufacturing, the machine reads in data from a CAD drawing and


In general, new processes, machines, articles of manufacture (such as chairs), or composition of matter (such as nanotech compositions) are patentable. Recently, in the Supreme Court’s Bilskidecision, Justice Kennedy wrote that Section 101 is a dynamic provision and that “times change.” He observed that the machine

Prior Art Review

A prior art search can be useful in unearthing prior art that can invalidate the patent. Tran & Associates provides a free search tool called Patent Viewer that can be used to do prior art research. Additionally,


After you have done the legwork, you can draft your patent application and file it with the USPTO. According to the USPTO at , the following order of arrangement is

How to Patent your Idea

When inventors talk about patents, they're usually referring to a utility patent. This is because utility patents cover the most common categories of innovation. As the name suggests, utility patents are awarded to inventions that produce some sort of result (as opposed to design patents, which protect purely artistic or ornamental designs).
For your invention to qualify for utility patent protection, it must fall into one of the following categories of subject matter:

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