These two questions are together for a reason.
You need to understand how your invention compares by features,
performance, and cost verses the competition's products presently in the
market. You need (at some point)
to talk to people in the marketplace that can provide open, unbiased
feedback to your key questions.
We suggest you develop an analysis of the
competitors products. Aspects of this analysis include topics such as
costing, product features, and "channels" of distribution where the
product can be purchased.
In compiling this information, we suggest you have
your potential customer sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality
agreement. If someone is unwilling to sign this document, then you
should not talk further as this document will be the only instrument you
have at this point for protection.
You have to develop a clear message as to why
anyone would want to buy your product. You also need to understand what
customer (i.e. sales outlet) is providing the greatest sales potential
and make sure there is no "baggage" associated with your type
of product or
NOTE: One common error that we see in our
line of work is that the inventor spends thousands of dollars for the
filing of patents, multiple refinements of the product (sometimes with
tooling dollars invested) and the inventor has never approached a
potential customer or industry expert to get their input.