Sell my invention - How to sell an idea

Date: 24th June 2021

One of the most common questions we are asked by new inventors is "how do I sell my invention idea?" Before you can consider selling your invention idea there are three very important questions that you must be able to answer when you are presenting to potential investors:

Is it new?

Does it work?

Is it yours?

It is a common misconception that you can 'sell an idea'. It is vital that you invest enough in your project to develop the idea to a point where it is actually a working invention and not just a concept. No matter how well thought-out your idea may seem, there is not a single investor who would be willing to part with a sum of money for an unproven idea. Without developing and testing a prototype until it is functioning optimally then all “an idea” consists of is at best, an artists impression of your potential product, not a real, proven, working design.


Before investing time and money in your idea it is important to find out whether or not it is in fact a new idea. There is little point investing in a project that has already been attempted or exists either as a product or a patent document. It is amazing that people will often confess that they have done no initial research at all. They have assumed that because they have not come across their invention idea in their everyday experience, it is therefore unlikely to exist. This could not be further from the truth. It’s wisest to do at least some research before taking things further.

After some basic initial research the next step would be to commission a Feasibility study. This is a world wide product and patent search for relevant published materials using specially designed software. The objective of the study is not to provide you with a copy of every patent document that has ever been filed that might possibly relate to your idea, but to establish, to a reasonable degree of certainty, if it already exists and thus if it is worth investing any further in the idea.


Following the Feasibility Study and pending the results, we can begin to discuss the possibility of building a first prototype, for testing and development purposes. Every new idea must undergo a development process, James Dyson famously made over 2000 prototypes before he was ready to manufacture his first cyclone cleaner.

The first prototype is always a proof of concept prototype. It is designed specifically to test that the idea will in fact work and does not always resemble the finished product although we aim to create a prototype as close to the final product design as possible.

The next step is to explore the functionality. This is often done using rapid prototyping methods such as 3D modelling and 3D printing which allow us to quickly make modifications to parts, print, assemble and test them. Once we have a functional prototype, the next step is to make considerations for the final appearance and manufacturing methods. Read more about how to get a prototype of your invention idea made here.


The final stage in preparing to sell your invention idea is to protect it. Usually the best way to protect something which is functionally new is to apply for a patent. Although this is not applicable to every project and sometimes alternative protection such as a registered design may be more appropriate.

A patent protects the functionality -WHAT it does, HOW it works, and WHY it has certain features and to be applicable for a patent your invention must be either; a new idea, an improvement upon an existing idea or a new combination of existing ideas. You can read more about the patenting process here.

Sometimes a registered design may be more relevant than a patent and can better protect the product (i.e. a new shape for a chair). This can stop other people copying a unique design. A registered design protects the appearance of the invention. Applying for a registered design is a much shorter process than a patent application so can provide more immediate protection in the short term.

Once you have completed all of the above processes you will be at a point with your project where you are ready to make a business plan and present to potential investors or manufacture and sell your invention. This itself is a minefield but we are able to assist you with research, enabling you to manufacture your product securely and cost-effectively.