The Knack: How to Invent
Friday 03 September 1999
quite wrong. Not all inventions have to be scientific or noble; just look
for a need and then see if you can solve it.
For example, someone recently invented little cuffs that go round pram wheels which can be removed once you are inside the house to stop dog mess and what-not getting all over the carpet - a classic case of an invention coming about from someone trying to solve an everyday problem.
If you've got an idea, get the literature from the Patent Office and do a patent search to find out if it's been done before. If not, you can file a patent on your own, but I would always recommend the use of a good patent attorney.
Make a prototype to show to companies - it's worth a million words. If you don't know how to use tools or lack the necessary materials, use a computer to produce the image on a screen, and then take that image and have it made in plastic. Get yourself a business plan and get someone from one of the big corporate accountants to find out the best deal and make a presentation to companies on your behalf - inventors sometimes frighten people off so you need a tame individual in a nice suit to go and explain everything for you in the language that companies can understand.
The most important thing is to suppress the instinct to go down the pub and tell everybody about your bright idea. Remember, once you've disclosed your invention it's in the general domain, in other words, everybody knows about it so you can't claim it to be yours or file a patent on it. So don't talk to anybody. I'm sure this is where the idea of the mad inventor has come from, because if you can't talk to anyone else you end up being paranoid and talking to yourself instead!
Interview By Fiona McClymont
Trevor Bayliss (inventor of the clockwork radio) will be opening Britain's first Academy of Invention later this year. His autobiography, `Clock This!' has just been published
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Three million books were judged by their covers - this is what happened
The Gamechangers trailer: Daniel Radcliffe stars in GTA movie
Joan Aiken: Today's Google Doodle celebrates life of British fantasy novelist
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Jamie’s Sugar Rush, TV review: Defeated by school dinners, Oliver takes on a new enemy
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees