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Burbank offers tips for would-be inventors

February 18. 2018 10:31PM

After his wheelbarrow brake was successfully marketed by Aubuchon Hardware and was featured in Popular Science, Better Homes and Gardens and other national magazines, Dan Burbank has been contacted by lots of would-be inventors looking for advice. The Moultonborough resident offers these tips to people who want to develop their idea into a product:

• Make sure your invention hasn’t already been invented. As a patent search costs about $700, spend some time on the internet and scour store shelves to determine if your idea already exists.

• Keep it simple. A nonprovisional patent, which offers protection for one year, costs $500 to $700 and allows an inventor the chance to test the market. A utility patent, which is good for 20 years, costs $6,000 to $7,000. Burbank’s wheelbarrow brake was mechanically complex, which made the process more involved and costly. That experience prompted him to select a simpler design for his next patent application.

“Getting it to market is 98 percent of the equation,” Burbank said.

• Inventiveness is not constrained by gender, age or wealth. Louis Braille invented the raised dot system that allows the blind to read at age 15. Popsicles were the brainchild of an 11-year old named Frank Epperson. A pizza delivery man invented Kevlar bulletproof vests that have saved the lives of countless police officers.

— Bea Lewis, Union Leader Correspondent

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