Greg Amundson, inventor of InstaTrim, standing with his patents.

InstaTrim is a Great Idea, so What's Next? - The Inventor Part Two

In last week’s blog, you got a general idea of how InstaTrim began and our experience growing this new business.

Remember, inventing is fun, and anyone can do it.  It’s bringing a new product to market that is very challenging and where nearly 90% of inventors fail.

You get what you pay for.  Be ready to spend a lot of money or look around for investors. You are setting yourself up for failure if you hire companies with little experience that charge less. For example, a cheap patent attorney, a sub-standard manufacturer or one of the “inventor companies” that promise to make you rich with your idea but actually take most of the profit. 

Inventing InstaTrim Flexible Trim Strips was the easy part, now the really hard work starts.  Get your idea patented. At a minimum obtain a Design Patent which is good for one year and should cost around $2,500.  This gives you time to see how the world reacts to your new idea. Another option, and in my opinion, the best patent is a Utility Patent that is good for 17 years. They are expensive and can easily cost you $10,000 but it also has a significant value long term.  We chose this path with InstaTrim because we really believed we had a unique, high-quality trim and caulk strip that has no competition in the marketplace. Caulk strips you’ve seen on the market up until now cost less, but they also look bad and don’t work like our caulk alternative product. We now have 4 U.S. Patents for InstaTrim and have been able to ward off copy-cats and other companies with similar, but cheaper products.

It’s also important to understand how Patents work. Our Patents do not cover 100% of our product but address the “new and innovative” characteristics of InstaTrim.  An important part of the InstaTrim design is the flexible wings that help seal the application surface and prevent moisture, air and dirt from getting past.  Our first Patent was only about this small unique characteristic.  Chances are that your Patent will not include your entire idea.  What you Patent is the parts of your idea that are new and innovative.  For example, nobody can Patent a cardboard box, but people do have Patents on specific parts of the box like how a corner folds or a new way to close the box.

Take my advice, I learned a lot of lessons the hard way. In the end it has been well worth the headaches and money spent.

On the next Inventor’s blog,

“Now you’ve invented and protected your idea, how do you get consumers to know it exists?”


See you next next week….