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New invention ? what you need to know
Identifying the good guys from the bad
Anyone can talk a good game, especially those who operate within the invention industry. You should question anyone who uses the words such as “our vast experience, extensive knowledge within the new product / patent industry”, when their age confirms this cannot be the case. Commercial product development is not a young person sport. It takes years of beating on your craft to acquire the skill, expertise and knowledge to deliver real results. Real experience and credentials count.
You should question the number of projects they are working on and turning over each year. This industry is not about fancy visuals (any design graduate straight out of university can do this), it’s about producing something that meets exacting needs, demands and requirements. This not only takes time, it requires the collective involvement of multiple disciplines.
Undertaking a technical review on those who claim to help with design and developments will certainly reveal how commercial they really are. Click here.
So called experts
Just like all industries, there are those that know, those that claim they know and those that don’t know. Just by having a conversation, it should become evident who’s at the top and who at the bottom. It’s the ones in between (those that claim they know) you have to be careful of.
It’s important for the future of your project, your sanity and bank balance that you carefully access the expertise of everyone you wish to collaborate with, see technical review, forensically probe their credentials and question their real involvement in the successes they freely broadcast.
In addition, you should examine the projects they have worked. As this will be an indicator how selective they are in supporting new projects (the good guys will not support a bum idea) or whether they simply take on everything, irrespective of its commerciality.
Paying for false promises
If you are serious about progressing forward with your idea invention, it’s going to cost you money. How much is dependent on the project and your strategy. Money doesn’t grow on trees, so it’s vital you spend wisely and get a benefit from any investment you make. Unfortunately, there are businesses and individuals out there, who will take money from you and deliver nothing of real value. e.g. businesses who will market your invention for £2000.00 (which is impossible) or designers who will build you a website or produce packaging for a few hundred – both of which will be sub-standard and way off the mark. Every penny you spend needs to deliver a result and boost the project forward.
Countless online reviews
Whilst many online positive reviews may appear to confirm the credibility of a service provider, it’s worth taking a closer look at what’s really being said and when. For example, be wary of positive reviews based on pre-service actions e.g. ‘thanks for sending the information pack’ ‘the info pack was received promptly‘, ‘great information’,. This only confirms the admin staff are on the ball and not the development team. Or reviews following the completion of fancy design visualisations, which may look impressive, but in most cases, are merely a representation of what the product could look like and have no commercial value. The reviewer just doesn’t know it at the time of writing. You also need to consider the numbers and whether the business is operating an in-and-out as-soon-as-possible strategy.
The blind leading the blind
If you need advice, make sure it comes from someone with the expertise, experience and qualifications to provide it. For example, be wary of those who offer marketing or patent advice, when they have no qualifications or track record to back it up or those who claim to be experts in commercial product development, when there is no evidence to back it up. Likewise, be careful to act on the advice from a patent attorney on such matters as product design, brand packaging etc, when this is not their field of expertise.
The first is not always the best
If you are not experienced with this industry, it’s quite easy to fall for the BS. Just like any other business sector, it makes good commercial sense to shop around and find out what support others are offering to meet your requirements. This is essential if you wish to identify the wheat from the chaff, follow the correct path and get value for money.
Too good to be true
Be under no illusion, to succeed in this industry a host of elements need to align together. You need to adopt an exacting strategy and have the mindset and resources to see it through. If anyone gives the impression it’s a simple case of, filing a patent, creating some fancy pictures and you are ready to market and license your idea, the alarm bells should be ringing. If it were that simple, every inventor under the sun would be sat on a beach.
Pointless vanity visuals and design boards
3D photo-realistic renditions are an essential tool throughout the development pipeline and are used to assess the visual aspect of a product, its design, developments and iterations. They are also used in marketing material when the product for sale has been finalised.
There are, however, several companies in our industry who use 3D photo-realistic renditions to produce so-called design / presentation boards containing a visual interpretation of the invention / product. Whilst these boards may look impressive and suggest that design and developments have taken place, the reality is they are merely fancy images produced to impress you but have very little or no beneficial commercial value. Everyone who you want to show your project to, will want to see a finished physical product.
You don’t need samples to market your idea
If you were in the market for a new car, would you pay 0000’s simply for a picture. No ! you would want to see it, sit in it and drive it to access it right for you. So why do so many inventors think potential licensees or buyers are any different. They are not. Marketing a new product based on uncommercial visuals or story boards will not deliver a result. You need market-ready samples indistinguishable from a production unit
There are prototypes and there are market-ready samples, and they serve a very different purpose. Prototypes are physical units of an iteration of the product used to validate test form and function before the final design is signed off. Market-ready samples are physical units of the (signed off design) finished product indistinguishable from a production unit used in the marketing process. When you produce a physical unit of your product, its purpose has to be very clear. If you need physical units for marketing purposes, don’t present prototypes if you don’t want to hear ‘come back when you are further down the line’ or words to that effect. Prototypes are pointless in the marketing process.
Selling or licensing ideas
If anyone tells you, you can sell or license your idea, they are lying to you. Manufacturers etc don’t buy or license ideas, they buy and licence commercial products. If a manufacturer etc has to develop your idea, then whose product is it once it’s been developed. Also, most manufacturers (on a weekly basis) receive countless proposals from design studios looking to sell or license their products. There is no reason to look at ideas when there is no shortage of commercial products to consider.