One of Innovate’s Product Designers recently attended an Inventor’s Alliance event.  Inventor’s Alliance is an organization that provides educational opportunities for inventors, with the goal of giving them the information they need to bring their products to market.The topic of the event was How to Sell Toy Ideas & Understanding the Patent Process from Beginning to End, which featured guest speakers Peter Wachtel, Toy Inventor & Damon Kali, Patent Attorney.

  • We would like to recap on some of the key advice that was given; especially to those budding toy inventors.
  • Don’t just approach a toy company with an “idea,” large toy companies, like Hasbro & Tomy get 1000’s of these each day.  Make sure your idea is fully developed and/or at least have your idea designed and developed.
  • Stand out with a professional visualisation of your idea as this will show the product has been considered.
  • Proof of concept prototypes are normally sufficient.  As a company will likely change the design to suit their own brand of products or develop it further to bring down costs. They only want to see it work!
  • With respect to manufacture, let the interested companies do the hardwork. As they will probably have their own manufacturing contacts, product design/development department, etc.
  • It is best to license a toy product as self manufacture is extremely costly, especially for such a short shelf life (6-9 months average).
  • Use LinkedIn as a resource to network and find the key buyers or distributors that you would not normally have access to.
  • In most cases the shelf life for a toy, is between 6 – 9 months with a maximum of a year.
  • It is often best to pursue multiple ideas within the toy industry, unless you have the next Furby or Rubik Cube!
  • Provisional patents are ideal to begin with and will cover the client up to a year, this, alongside an Non-disclosure Agreement(NDA), will aid an inventor if they want to approach industry.
  • It is often first to market in the Toy industry which means whoever gets their product out on the market first.  That is why a provisional is the best action to take at such an early stage.
  • If you do get a license deal, make sure all liability is left with the company.

Here at Innovate, we can help you take your new toy idea or invention and turn it into a reality.  For more information on how we can help, give us a call at 415-970-5276 or email us at

The material in this website is commercially focused and generalized information and opinion about successfully working within the existing legal framework of Intellectual Property, patents and patent law; and should in no way be viewed or construed as legal advice. Advisors at Innovate are not and will not be lawyers unless this is specifically stated.