In the previous post – J – Just Get Started with Your Product – I addressed one of the biggest frustrations faced by inventors: the chaotic nature of invention. I suggested it is more important to make forward progress, following your intuition and best knowledge, than to worry about finding a formulaic process to follow for success.

As you embark on your inventing career/adventure, your knowledge will grow from miniscule, in the beginning, to significant over time. It is worth saying a few words here about two valuable tools to help you address the chaos and increase your confidence: researching and knowledge (of processes and resources).

The good news is that there are more cost-effective tools available for inventors than ever before, including: online resources, crowd funding, 3-D printing for fast prototyping, inventor’s groups and forums and, yes, good old-fashioned books and reading materials.

Below are a variety of valuable and trustworthy information resources:

Patent it Yourself – David Pressman – helps you understand the patent process
How to License Your Million Dollar Idea – Harvey Reese
Inventing on a Shoestring Budget – Pitts and Sarao – lots of useful advice – research to find if your idea is already out there
Quirky – a simple way to possibly license your idea, even if it is not patented
• Crowd funding – Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others – access capital for your invention
Lambert & Lambert – licensing resource
University of Wisconsin Innovation Center – Market research and licensing resources

There are many others, but the above list is a great place to start.

Understanding the twists and turns of the patent process and the primary components of a licensing agreement helps in charting your path forward. I recommend all inventors should learn to effectively use to research potential patentability of their ideas. Lastly Quirky, crowd funding, Lambert & Lambert, and University of Wisconsin Innovation Center are trusted resources that provide you with a variety of paths to move forward with your invention.

Speaking of moving forward, in the next post L – Let’s Do Patent Research, I’ll take up patents in a bit more detail.