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Mississippi Small Business
Development Center
Transforming Mississippi One Small Business at a Time

Inventor Assistance

For Inventor Assistance please register by clicking Register.  Once you submit the registration, you will be contacted to schedule an appointment.  Please be aware that completing the registration form provides protection for you for the information you share regarding your invention. 

Disclaimer:  Counselors are not lawyers and do not provide legal advice. 
                   Please contact a lawyer for any legal advice: http://www.martindale.com/ or http://www.findlaw.com/.

Description of our services :
1) Coaching/Guidance throughout the inventing process
2) Basic Patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright information
3) University, engineering, attorney, and prototyping connections.
4) Mississippi patent attorney list.  (The most comprehensive and reliable list available to Mississippi).
5) Financing sources (extremely limited for inventors).
6) Reputable evaluation sources (all sources provided are associated with Universities.)
7) What to say to increase the chance of you getting a meeting and then making a deal with a company.

Cost? -- This is free as we are funded by the University of Mississippi, the State of Mississippi, and the SBA!

Thinking about using an invention company?      Read #1 and #2 below first!

  1. What does the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) say about Invention Companies? Federal Trade Commission
  2. What does the Mississippi SBDC say about invention companies?
    "I am unaware of an invention promotion company that I would recommend."
    "If an invention company thinks your idea is that great, why don't they invest some of their money in your idea?"

Watch our video for inventors below: (42 minutes)

Idea to Market – Guidance for Inventors >


View Video In YouTube



by Bob Lantrip, Manager of Technical Services, MSBDC State Office
Note: The USPTO Document Disclosure program mentioned in the video was ended some time ago.

The Mississippi Method for Inventing

The following steps should be completed in order:

  1. Inventor's Notebook-notarized by a public notary at regular intervals.
  2. Lawyer-Approved Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)
  3. Prototype -- $10 and 2 hours, keep it simple, carve up green floral foam and use waterbased craft paint to do the prototype.
  4. Search online and in magazines for your idea that may already be out there. Try Google Patent Search: www.google.com/patents .
  5. Determine the value of your invention to a company:
    1. Determine Manufacturing Cost:  Use www.thomasnet.com to get a manufacturing quote.
    2. Determine how much someone will pay for it at the store.  1:5 = the ratio of manufacturing cost to retail price.
    3. Determine how many a company might sell. (Sales Volume)
  6. Write your pitch.  Contact a local marketing expert to help write a sell sheet. (Check your local yellowpages.)
  7. Make functional prototype.  Do this yourself or obtain CAD drawings and then use a 3D Printing Machine.
  8. Do a thorough patent search. (Part of a prior art search usually connected to patent lawyer services.)
  9. Get a patent using a patent lawyer.
    1. To find local lawyers, use www.GulfCoastPatentAssociation.com or www.Martindale.com.
  10. PITCH to companies!

Download My Packet for Inventors:
1) Nondisclosure agreement elements 
2) How to write the pitch 
3) University-based evaluation sources 
4) 18 assumptions that just aren't true 
5) Inventor checklist, scam information, and intellectual property information (26pages)

I prefer and request that you not disclose details to me!
This way we both know your idea remains confidential. I can help you to the next step without knowing your idea. I usually work with several people per week by telephone who feel that they have been helped, even though no details of the invention were disclosed.

What is your plan to take the invention to the NEXT STEP? If you don't have a step-by-step plan, what are your chances of your success? Everyone knows that the chance of success is low without a plan.

Invent within your area of greatest knowledge.

You are more likely to be creating something new if you are exploring an idea in which you are already an expert.

Do not get scammed by an invention promotion company.
Read this great information on the InventorED website to learn more.
File a complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center .
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
Can you get your money back?

Do everything FREE first!
Our services are completely free.
If you are not in Mississippi, go to the ASBDC website for help in your state.

Do you have the resources to successfully invent?
TIME:  Inventing is extremely hard.  You need lots of spare time to invent.  Expect to spend 300+ hours on your idea.
MONEY:  Patents generally cost between $2,000 and $25,000 dollars.
PEOPLE: Do you have support people you can talk to?  Experts like us here at the SBDC : 1-800-725-7232 

Think like a business person.
Imagine that you meeting with the business person who may license your invention. Switch roles with them and become the business person for a few minutes? Since you are a business person, what two things are you interested in?
Does it work?
Does it make me money?

Determine if your invention should be patented.
There are many reasons you can't get a patent. There are also many reasons to get a patent.  We can help you determine if filing for a patent is the direction you should take.

Keep an inventor’s notebook.
Contact us for help on how to keep an inventor's notebook.



Mississippi Resources for Inventors

1) Mississippi Patent and Trademark Library In Jackson, MS
Call 1-800-647-7542 and ask for the Patent and Trademark Department
Link to the Mississippi Library Commission
2)Innovate Mississippi http://innovate.ms/
3) Notary Public http://www.sos.state.ms.us/busserv/notaries/NotarySearch.asp


Recommended Reading for Innovators

1) Innovation: The Five Disciplines For Creating What Customer's Want
ISBN 978-0307336699

2) Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
ISBN 978-1591841388

3) Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
ISBN 978-1400064281

Attention Inventors at the University of Mississippi!
If you are an employee of the University of Mississippi and wish to pursue the development of an invention, it is required that you contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs on the UM campus.


The process of getting a trademark
Eleven Videos on Trademarks - Trademarks from Beginning to End - Very good.
Conducting a Trademark Search
USPTO Design Search Code Manual
U.S. Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual (ID Manual)
Likelihood of Confusion

Searches for your wordmark or logo should be done at all 7 of the following locations:
1) USPTO http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=login&p_lang=english&p_d=trmk
3) MS SOS Business Name Search https://corp.sos.ms.gov/corp/portal/c/page/corpBusinessIdSearch/portal.aspx?#clear=1
2) MS SOS Trademark Search http://www.sos.ms.gov/Applications/Pages/Trademark-Search.aspx
3) ThomasNet.com www.thomasnet.com
4) Dunn & Bradstreet www.dnb.com
5) Google www.google.com
6) Your local telephone book.


The Mississippi Small Business Development Center is an accredited member of America's Small Business Development Centers and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration through The University of Mississippi. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or The University of Mississippi. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and limited English language proficiency will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.