Inventor James Dyson demonstrates his latest hoovering invention on March 14, 2005 in London. The vacuum cleaner replaces the traditional four wheels with one ball to guide it across the floor giving it increased maneuverability.

Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

How to Sell an Invention Idea

So there it is: Your invention, your baby, which has gone from idea to sketch to fully functioning prototype. All you need now is someone to manufacture it on a large scale and to sell it -- so that you can be rewarded for your genius.

OK, here's where the real work begins.

At this point, you'll have to convince someone to invest in your invention further, in order to pay for manufacturing costs, marketing and distribution before it starts making a profit in the marketplace.

Alternatively, you can sell your idea outright and let the new owner worry about the above-mentioned heavy lifting. You can sell directly to a company in the industry that your product serves, or you can even sell to an independent firm that specifically buys inventions.

Also, don't forget that you can license your invention. In other words, you can give a company the right to use your invention's technology for a limited time. Licensing allows you to make money from your invention not just from one sale, but over and over from as many licensing deals as you can strike.

Just realize that if you manage to sell your invention that alone doesn't guarantee its success. But to increase its odds, make sure that whatever it is you invent fills an unmet need by a specific customer group. Successful inventions solve real-life problems that people have.

To get your invention to market, you'll definitely need lots of help -- from intellectual property attorneys to experts on marketing, perhaps even from technology experts to make your product better. A note of caution: Beware of scammers, who seem to be drawn to preying on idealistic inventors while claiming to help. Fortunately, there's no shortage of resources on navigating the twisty road to bringing an invention to market. In fact, here are a few you might find helpful to investigate:

For more information about inventions and other related topics, follow the links on the next page.