Deleted this post based on the advice of another user.
Sounds good and doable. I’d delete your post. Patent it. Find a way to make it. I think it’s a really good idea. I’m not being sarcastic.
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I did not see the original post. Sounds from the response that a few people that saw it agree that it has merit, that is cool.
Great ideas are best shared once you are really ready to capitalize on them. However, I urge strong caution on the patenting advice. It is a lottery ticket mentality that distracts from getting your market as aggressively into people’s hands as possible, building the recognition and winning. A patent, if granted, often gives a false sense of security that others will not compete with your great idea. If it is a great idea you will have competition regardless.
All a patent gets you is a piece of paper to wave and hope to scare some people off. Then you get the right to hire lawyers and spend years of your life trying to “get the bastards that ripped you off”.
The patent office may grant you a patent that someone else can easily take apart. I speak from experience on that side now. We are in the middle of re-examining (crushing) someone’s patent. It was lightly reviewed, as all patents are, should never have been granted, and was subsequently used as a cudgel against us in a lawsuit. What is disheartening to the part of me that once sought and obtained patents is the relative ease which patents can be re-opened and weakened.
The patent office gave a false sense of confidence to the original inventor, ( and the investor that leveraged him out of his patent ). It became our task to remove the threat, which meant petitioning for a re-exam, which is now in process.
The figures vary, but, 92% of requests for challenges on patents are granted by the USPTO. 85% of the patents that are re-examed are weakened or in a smaller percentage completely cancelled.
Dream the dream, make it happen, but don’t waste your time on trying to erect a barrier that others can circumvent, ignore, or knock down.
^all true re:patents. I normally say the same. I only mentioned it as more a figure of speech, meaning “do something”.
Patents = $$$ = paper = ability to spend $$$ to defend your paper. Repeat.
Thanks - based on the feedback, it sounds that my next steps are:
- Search and see if it’s been done before (though i’m thinking it hasn’t, at least to the degree that I’ve ideated)
- Try and find someone to invest in the idea, and/or convince people to help in exchange for equity/stock, etc.
I guess I would really like someone to invest, and then hopefully i could work with a design firm to establish a viable prototype. If any of you have experience with investors, etc. that would be great to hear how you’ve dealt with that sort of situation.
Also, in the meantime, i wonder if there’s anything on the business end i can do now to prepare before an actual prototype is built. Like registering an LLC business for it just incase my idea is infringing, etc, and also to establish a brand etc.
I am an illustrator, so the branding/identity shouldn’t be an issue.
Thanks so much for the encouragement - i’d love to get this going.
Yeah i had already considered some cases in which the brushpen could become damaged, etc. As far as the internal components, if they were to fail/break, the brushpen would have to be fully replaced, but I wanted to make the tip/nib easily replacable at a fraction of the cost of the brushpen itself. So, some of these scenarios would be high in my priority list as issues to make sure are resolved before production. I want the experience to be as simple and smooth as possible. That’s why i’m frustrated with the internal components, because i’m trying to think of a way to have it engineered without it looking like a clock inside or something - though it might have to. The more moving parts, the more it could easily break i gather, but i guess that’s not a huge issue for a $10 brushpen.
Didn’t see the original post as well, but if you’re estimating a $10 price point, Kickstarter may be the way to go. Keep in mind though, that if you’re looking for design and engineering help, and there are moving parts, you’re going to need to set a fairly high goal. You will likely need to engage firms ahead of time to get an idea of what the entire process will cost you. Also, Kickstarter videos need an element of polish to them these days that’s going to cost you time and/or money to put together to the point where you can make something out of it.
Thanks. By ‘fairly high goal’ what do you mean? I know that, it being a brushpen and around a $10 selling price point, it would be a low-value item with a potentially high gross-margin. Though, because it would be low-value, I assume that I’d have to sell a significantly high volume in order to cover the costs of R&D and manufacturing (which I’m guessing should be in the $100,000 range?).
I have already started contacting product/ID design firms to try and gauge how much the initial development and prototyping costs might be. I imagine that would be my biggest hurdle, trying to bootstrap the product in the prototype phase. I am about to sign an NDA to talk with http://www.teamsdesign.com.
Also, I did a bunch of searching on the USPTO site, as I don’t want to risk throwing away $1500 for a patent lawyer to do a patent search, and I didn’t seem to find a patent for something exactly like what I’m after - which seems like a good sign. I did bookmark some that seem close, but their terms may have ended anyway (though not sure if that really matters/depends).
So, do you think I should really only consider patenting down the road if the product were to be extremely successful? I imagine there would be several iterations and a variety of models, so I do think I’d like to focus more on the actual product viability and potential product line variability rather than securing like a single mechanical innovation through patenting. Hope that makes sense.
Also, would you still advise doing a patent search as well? It seems that’s really the only patent-related issue I should be concerned with going forward in the development/conceptualization phase. I don’t want a lawsuit down the line for infringing on someone’s patent.
If you’re engaging a design firm, I’d say you probably need some form of investment. We ended up raising $108k, but we did all of the designing in house. Again, didn’t see the original post, so I don’t know what the complexity level is like and what size market you’re looking at. Sent you a pm, maybe I can help there if you don’t want to say too much in public.
You can’t patent after you release it.
I think no way you can make it for retail $10. You’d need to make millions of them. I’d guess guess off the top it would be $10 cost, $50 retail. I don’t think it has to be a cheapo item.
I’d guess ID and development would be far more than $100k. And that’s not including any prototypes or production. I’d guess $500k easy including all that. Not incl. marketing.
Really hard to guess numbers, but I don’t think its that simple. Maybe I have a different idea though in my head if what it could be. I’m not thinking just the same as the multi color rotating ones you mentioned.
I just went along with the $10 retail price, but yeah I could see it being potentially around $25-50.
Thanks so much everyone for your feedback - it has been really encouraging.
In the US you have one year after public disclosure in which to file an application. The rest of the world you have to file before release.
If one discloses his or her own work more than 1 year before the filing of the patent application, that person is barred from obtaining a patent. In re Katz, 687 F.2d 450, 454, 215 USPQ 14, 17 (CCPA 1982). The 1-year time bar is measured from the U.S. filing date. Thus, applicant will be barred from obtaining a patent if the public came into possession of the invention on a date before the 1-year grace period ending with the U.S. filing date. It does not matter how the public came into possession of the invention. Public possession could occur by a public use, public sale, a publication, a patent or any combination of these. In addition, the prior art need not be identical to the claimed invention but will bar patentability if it is an obvious variant thereof. In re Foster, 343 F.2d 980, 145 USPQ 166 (CCPA 1966). See MPEP § 706.02 regarding the effective U.S. filing date of an application.