I have an idea on a hunting gadget. I don't really know how to go about marketing the idea. I doubt anyone would ever get rich but who knows. I am sure someone has had the same thought, but I haven't ever seen an idea like mine on the shelf for sale.
A friend of mine has made a couple of inventions in the reloading realm that are now being used by RCBS.
The first step with your idea is to go to the U.S. Patent Office to secure your idea. Otherwise someone will steal your idea and claim it for themselves. Use your computer to checkout the procedure and requirements to get a patent.
This process takes some time to complete.
After you have acquired a registered patent you can market your invention or idea to a company that has the resources to use your idea and pay you a percentage of each item sold or you may get an offer for the patent rights.
That's what my buddy did. He sold the rights to the first patent for $22,000 to RCBS. I do not know what he got for the second one but it was more than the first.
I had an idea several years ago about building this item. I built one & it ended up working real well. Everyone told me to patent it, so I began to look into it. First, like has been said, it takes some time, second, it takes alot of money to get the research done, but third and most important, when you get the patent it only protects your design of the product. No one can copy it directly, but all they have to do is change one little item & they can market it. I was told we could patent the design, but the theroy of operation could not. The example given was a car tire. You can patent the design of the tread, the compisition of the tire, ect., ect. But as far as patenting the wheel it's self, it cannot, it is a public domain item.
Unless you have something that cannot be copied or unless you have something that will have real good sell-ability the cost of the patent may not be worth the effort!
I am the inventor on four patents and the average cost of each was $15,000 to $18,000. That is cheap, compared to the cost to defend them (two defenses - one at $50,000, one at $100,000). Fortunately, I do not own any of the patents and thus did not pay for them or the defenses. Bottom line is, if you do not have the money to defend them, it is probably not worth YOUR money to patent them. There are a number of ways to get the product to market, but coming from someone who has had several dozen products sold at the retail level, it is much easier to invent than to sell. You might at least begin the patent process so you will be covered by a patent pending for a while, until you determine if there is merit in your product - this way, you don't spend a bunch of $ on the entire patent. Make a drawing of the product, and create a description of the features and what it does, and get it notarized. This will provide you protection if someone else comes out with it two years from now, you will be able to provide "prior artwork" and may be able to prevent them from obtaining a patent or they might provide you with compensation. If you approach a potential manufacturer, you can attempt te get them to sign a non-disclosure agreement which will prevent them from making the product for a year - but a lot of them will not sign one. I have been doing this stuff for 20 years, and I have learned a lot of lessons, mostly the hard way. Good luck and don't give up too quick if the going gets tough. If you have any specific questions, you can shoot me an email and you don't have to tell me what your working on.