I have mentioned in past posts that less than 5% of all patent holders ever make a cent from their products. Some of the reasons are that inventors don’t realize how difficult it is to market a product successfully, how costly it will be to develop and distribute it, and they often patent things that simply aren’t sellable as products.
But there is another category of reasons why otherwise promising inventions don’t succeed or:
Why Your Invention Won’t Work
Many new inventors conceive innovative ideas and develop them into interesting product concepts. They cover the key obvious bases of product development:
- Build working prototypes
- Test to ensure functionality
- Make sure price points are profitable
But they often overlook negative issues: potential safety hazards and lawsuits that could arise from people using the product improperly and other hazards.
For example, every home has appliances that operate quietly 24 hours per day drawing electricity: refrigerators, televisions, computers (when not turned off), electric heaters, even probably dishwashers, home alarm systems, etc. You could develop an electric monitor device that automatically meters down the currency used by each appliance to the minimum required for passive operation. Seems like a great product all around. It would save homeowners maybe 10% per month, reduce electricity usage on urban grids, a win for everyone, and an excellent product right?
What if there was a slight possibility that a malfunction in your product, might cause an electrical short?
Could the short result in a fire in rare circumstances? Even if malfunctions occurred less than 1% of the time, negative media grabbing headlines and lawsuits could derail an otherwise great product. Just such a thing occurred with a deodorizer plug-in a few years ago. It had been on the market for a few years, but had to be yanked suddenly because of a few fires out of millions of plug-ins operating safely.
Alternatively, even if such malfunctions did not occur, the new device might have to meet strict electrical code compliance standards imposed by cities and municipalities. Complying with a multiplicity of different standards could drive the product cost up to a point where no one would buy it.
I envisioned a product for electric signage that could be applied to bumpers of cars. So, the driver could easily send quick messages to communicate with surrounding drivers like: You drive like an idiot! or Get off my bumper! I would love to have such a product. Not!
Imagine the chaotic carnage of road rage outrage that would soon ensue with car accidents everywhere, shootings and other violence. Oh! Maybe communicating with other drivers is not such a good idea after all.
So, don’t overlook the negative factors, such as those above, that could impede your otherwise great product. You might have to retool and refine or even to abandon your exciting new product.