The Hula Hoop turns 50 this year – at least as we know it. Actually, hoops were used as toys, being pushed along with sticks over 3,000 years ago in Egypt. Native Americans used hoops as a target for teaching accuracy in hunting. But then in 1957 Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin of Wham-O started marketing a lightweight plastic version of the Hula Hoop. They sold over 100 million from January to October of 1958 at $1.98 each.
Knerr and Melin were not able to patent the Hula Hoop as it had been around for many years. All they did was make it out of a new material and then market it well. Which highlights a very important point. I see people stuck in the “patenting” process – wasting time and money on what may be an insignificant part of their success.
Keep in mind, most people put too much emphasis on developing their product or idea, and not enough on Marketing. If you have a new invention:
2% of your challenge – Protecting your Idea (Patent, Trademark, Copyright)
8% of your challenge – Is it a valid idea or product?
90% of your challenge – What is your Marketing Plan?
Most people spend too much initial time, energy and money protecting their idea rather than selling or marketing it.
Knerr and Melin did trademark the name Hula Hoop® and that became the recognized and requested name around the world. What could you do with your idea – what could you do to tap into the viral power of the masses? Remember the Pet Rock; the Frisbee?
Here’s more on Inventions and Patents