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Invention - Biodegradable Specimen Funnel and collector

A good friend of my wife and I visited today with a great idea. Like most people that know me well she new I'd be supportive of at least vetting the idea.

She proceeded to describe her idea to me in detail and as I was already researching another invention I did a quick search of the web and then the USPTO and WIPO patent databases.

Like so often happens, we found no products covering her idea, but a search of the patent databases found something so close I didn't feel like showing her so as not to discourage her so quickly.

What happened next taught me a big lesson. She outlined why the patent didn't apply to the invention and how it was utterly un-usable for what she had in mind and completely had me sold that her idea was not only patentable, but needs to be made...

Maybe I am a big softie and can't help wanting to be supportive of people that want to "have a go" at inventing... but as an inventor that knows how to take a product all the way, I never cease to be amazed by what comes out of the minds of every day people.
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