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Guest aquastealth

Great Product Ideas! How To Make Em Come Real!

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Guest aquastealth

I would love to get some info and advice in general about product ideas,

how to take it from idea to a real product without loosing all the credits.

Imagine you have come up with the most brilliant idea of a new product but

you dont have the resources to produce it yourself, should you make some

fancy concept sketches and send it to companies that produce similar products

(and find great interest in this product) or should you try to get a patent as

soon as possible or...

 

...theres probably no waterproof solution but any kind of advice would be

highly appreciated for an amateur Smile

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Guest superbad

If you can't afford to make a prototype, you can't afford a patent. A good patent will start at $5k, and a crappy patent will have so many holes as to be worthless. Most large companies aren't really very interested in submissions from the public- it leaves them open to lawsuits if they happen to be independently making something similar. If you're going to try submitting it, pick small companies with a history of innovation, don't come in with an attitude, and be open minded about the money. If someone came to me with a patented idea, based on my past experience I wouldn't let them in the door. People with patents almost always dramatically overvalue the worth of their idea- it's a very rare idea indeed that will make you rich. Depending on the product, anymore your best bet is probably to do some really good renderings and enter it into competitions or try to get it up on some high traffic blogs like Gizmodo. If your idea is good, people will find you.

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Guest speedworx

you don't need a prototype to get a patent and you dont need a patent to put a product to market. Do some research perhaps you can find an investor to bring your product to market. the main thing is to have a very clear presentation perhaps a BOM (bill of materials) for the product and a good business plan with a good forecast and market research.

(these motivates investors)

many times getting a patent is the last thing you do or you do it half way the development process. you will be impress how many patents are out there that don't make any money and products that never get to see shelve life, good luck! :D

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Competitions would be the best way to get your idea out there. Patents as were mentioned are useless to an amatuer inventor. Even if you spent the money to get the patent, and your idea was blatently stolen, you still don't have the legal or financial power to take it to court and win.

 

Companies also generally don't want an idea you've already patented. If anything they would pay you to own the rights to the patent while listing you as the inventor.

 

It's also not beneficial to be so secretive about an idea that you think is the next big thing...in reality, keeping your idea a secret doesn't help anyone. Companies aren't trying to steal your ideas, and your big idea may have been something thats already been developed that you just haven't seen.

 

If you were dead serious about what you wanted to do, you would need to put money into it. Develop a working prototype, take it out into the market and show it to people to generate hype, get feedback on it to make sure it's as good as it can be, then write up a business proposal and try to find a venture capitalist who would be willing to take it to the next level.

 

Otherwise the idea will probably just stay in your "good idea" bin for the rest of your life, it's an unfortunate reality of what we do. No matter how good an idea is unless you've got the money to bring it to market and a market who wants to buy it, it'll just end up collecting dust. It's the same reason concept cars come with brilliant design and technology that no one will ever see in the real world.

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My take on that is too get exposure through my ideas. I'm not trying to get money of them, but rather get employed. If someone steals the idea - tough break, I guess Ill have to come with another one. Hopefully potential employers will see potential in me and hire me. Perhaps I will see this differently when I have more industry experience and knowledge, but as recent graduate I think its my best shot, as I just dont believe in Hollywood stories. You want to make money, you have to have some to start with.

 

OT: People obviously put in their CVs the achievements in competitions and publications in magazines. But would you put blogs such as Gizmodo in there as well? How would an agency react to that?

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Guest superbad
you don't need a prototype to get a patent

 

Wasn't meaning to imply that, rather that it's typically a lot more expensive to get a patent than it is to build a prototype, so if you can't afford a prototype, you probably can't afford a patent either. And as Cyberdemon points out, even if you max out your credit cards to get a patent, you would still need a lot more money to defend it (or a lawyer willing to work on contingency), and even then, often the damages you're awarded don't cover the cost of litigation. Patents are only worth getting if the stakes are very high. Most amateur patents are for useless crap with a tiny potential market. If your idea is a novel protein that attacks cancer cells, yeah, get a patent. If it's an automatic toilet paper dispenser, don't bother.

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Guest aquastealth

Thx for all replies I really appreciate it , theres some really good points in there.

Im not really in it for money, fame and glory but I dont wanna see a good idea

in the hands of people who dont see its full potential and maybe dont care

about the quality of the final product.

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OT: People obviously put in their CVs the achievements in competitions and publications in magazines. But would you put blogs such as Gizmodo in there as well? How would an agency react to that?

 

I don't think blogs like gizmodo or engadget are necessarily achievements, they're just things that happen. I had a project I did 2 years ago appear on there, and I didn't find it until I was googling something for my portfolio 2 months ago. Aside from people telling me how great or terrible the idea was I don't think it carried much merit.

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Guest Camaro

There are alot of good ideas here, and I think they are on the right track.

 

If you want to seek money with your ideas, which I dont think you should and Ill write about it in a sec, there are some simple ways that dont require a patent to protect your intellectual property rights. Fist off, date all your sketches. Although I dont think this proves anything, it does establish a semi legal timeline for the idea, and can be used in courts. Second, copy your sketches, and mail them to yourself in a sealed envelope and keep the envelope sealed. Now you have a government notarized date that is fully admissible legally because of the date stamp from the post office. This establishes that the idea was originated by you. But this only helps you when a company that you pitched the idea too runs with it without your involvement. If someone else had the idea before, or at the same time as you, independent from your input, then they have the right to legally persue their idea, even if you sit on yours. The last thing is dont put it online. If a sketch makes it into a forum, your online portfolio, or in an article, it becomes public knowledge and noone has a right to persue a patent on it.

 

But I dont think anyone should try to make money on one idea. Isacc Newton sat on his notes that defined Calculus for 22 years. In his one notebook layed the greatest leap in mathematics in the world. If he had of published it when he invented it, modern technology would literally be the same am mount of time ahead... 22 years.

 

I would hope with our new open-source world, someone like Newton would not be afraid of publishing his ideas. (The reason he didnt publish was in part because he was a recluse, and he didnt know the importance of what he had discovered.) But I dont think there is a living in one idea anymore, but there is great money in being a producer of multiple ideas. The new economy is service based, and idea generation is a service as much as any. Now getting your name on patents, entering design competitions, and having ideas published and exposed give notoriety to you as someone who generates notable ideas, and thet will get you hired, contracted, whatever...

 

But it sound like your their already, which is great. I cant wait to hold your idea in my hands (that is, if it is an idea for a handheld product.) B)

 

---

 

On a side note, there is a wierd synergy about ideas in that when they are ready to be thought of, they are usually thought of in multiple places. Liebinz allegedly thought of Calculus within a few years of Newton, and actually beat him to publishing. The same is true of genetics, the bell curve, the nuclear bomb. You could almost argue some sort of spiritual or divine intervention, but I think that it is more or less that the precursors to the ideas all lined up, and more than one person capitalized at the same time. And these things were when the world was alot smaller, and only the geniuses of the aristocracy had any credibility to generate ideas. Now there thousands of times the people that can generate ideas...

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Guest superbad

I need to address a few things in this post:

 

If you want to seek money with your ideas, which I dont think you should and Ill write about it in a sec, there are some simple ways that dont require a patent to protect your intellectual property rights. Fist off, date all your sketches. Although I dont think this proves anything, it does establish a semi legal timeline for the idea, and can be used in courts. Second, copy your sketches, and mail them to yourself in a sealed envelope and keep the envelope sealed. Now you have a government notarized date that is fully admissible legally because of the date stamp from the post office. This establishes that the idea was originated by you.

The "poor man's patent" is something everyone thinks is a great idea. 1) It is not watertight at all- any two bit lawyer can pick it apart. Even worse, having an established date of when you thought up an idea can work against you if it shows you didn't pursue the invention or seek a real patent. 2) (and more importantly) You have to be able to afford to mount a court defense. If you can't afford a patent, can you afford to retain a lawyer and file a patent infringement suit? If you have an extraordinarily good case on an invention that's worth a lot of money, you might find a lawyer willing to work on contingency, but few lawyers are going to spend their own money defending your case unless the chance of a payoff is really good.

 

By all means, put dates on your work (it's good for your own use), but don't expect to have some Perry Mason moment in a courtroom where you whip out your postmarked envelope containing your drawings and the judge awards you One Billion Dollars. The corporate lawyers you would be up against will tie you up in procedural crap for so long, your money will run out long before anything goes to trial. A good friend of mine is a patent attorney working on contingency on a case, and they have been going back and forth with a big mining company who blatantly infringed his client's patent. He's been on this case for over four years, with no end in sight. It is literally a contest to see who is going to run out money or patience first. That's what you need to be prepared for.

 

The last thing is dont put it online. If a sketch makes it into a forum, your online portfolio, or in an article, it becomes public knowledge and noone has a right to persue a patent on it.

This is another very common misconception. You actually have one year from the date of first publication to apply for a patent.

 

Again though, a patent is nothing but the right to pursue litigation to protect your idea. If you can't afford litigation, the patent isn't going to do you any good at all in the worst case scenario where someone just outright steals your idea. Or if the money you would need to spend defending your patent exceeds the damages you would be awarded in a victory (another common situation), the patent is pretty much worthless. As a patent holder, your goal should be to license the patent to a company, and the key here is to be realistic about the value of that license.

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What you can do is find some money and go to an industrial design consultancy. You can get a contract ruled up with all the privacy details, and have real experts develop it for you. With enough money you're way ahead.

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Guest Camaro

Very true Superbad. I guess all of these are contingent on being able to mount a defense, and the main ingredient is money there, and not evidence.

 

But I was thinking more of if you were going to show your idea to some firms to have them patent it, and you want to protect yourself from them running with the idea without you. If some guy has an idea, use the poor mans patent, and sit on it and then complain and get into litegation when someone else had that idea and actually ran with it, your screwed, and you probably deserve to be because you sat on knowledge that the world could have used.

 

From the lecture I had on patent law (which the points that you shot down came from, so I dont know if I trust it anymore,) patent law is like a game of poker to large companies. Folding would be a settlement, and betting would be litigation. Both sides will bluff violation of second patents, evidence, and readiness to go to court to try to 'psyche out' the opposing company. Then, again like poker, they will use a risk management model to decide on the percentage odds, and the dollar gains, whether to fold or not.

 

But playing that card game with no money, is like being dealt 2 cards in a game of 5 card draw. Sure you may have 2 aces, but they know the odds of that are low, so they will almost never fold.

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Guest miuse

Hi there

 

..better late than never i guess.

 

i would start with an NDA (non disclosure agreeement)

costs nothing. get who ever you are dealing with or talking to sign it. Basically means they are bound to secrecy about your product once they sign it. That way you can easily discuss your product with a range of developers (engineers), investors, buyers or manufacturers (me!). in fact any descent supplier should be able to give you one, possibly find templates on the net too.

 

mitch

 

www.strineltd.com

manufacturing and sourcing in china made easy!

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Guest Milo
Hi there

 

..better late than never i guess.

 

i would start with an NDA (non disclosure agreeement)

costs nothing. get who ever you are dealing with or talking to sign it. Basically means they are bound to secrecy about your product once they sign it. That way you can easily discuss your product with a range of developers (engineers), investors, buyers or manufacturers (me!). in fact any descent supplier should be able to give you one, possibly find templates on the net too.

 

mitch

 

www.strineltd.com

manufacturing and sourcing in china made easy!

How much protection does an NDA provide? Do i have the right to undertake juridical steps when someone breaks the agreement?

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