Patented and ready to fly...

SO HYPOTHETICALLY, you had this great idea for a new product, lets say a kitchen fixture for example.
You decide to get a patent on it, the attorney gave the thumbs up and it’s all set.

Now what do you do? What is the best plan of action? (assuming you have limited amount of funds…)

  1. cold contact companies that might be interested in licensing your product? then what is the best way?

  2. try as hard as you can to gather $$$ and manufacture and sell it yourself? then, hire a mech engineer? who and what type of whos do you need?

  3. any other options?

Just wondering about how all this works, I’m sure a lot of people have thought about this… so if anyone has any intelligent advice/info coming from experience (single handedly taking products to market, starting a company, licensing ideas to other companies, etc), sharing is caring!


Partial answers/info always welcome.

Speaking from personal experiance, it is much easier to sell a company a design when you have gone through the majority of the development process, and have the marketing data that shows that this product will be a success. A gut feeling only works if you are the marketing manager or CEO. But this takes $$. I have found myself in this possition many times, and currently in it as we speak. Comming up with the Idea, and recieving the patent is actually the easiest steps to complete, but the rest are worth it. However you have to keep your head about you, and most of all know that you are most likely not going to get rich off one patent. I have seen too many inventors come through my office with a great product idea, and no money to develop it, then they finally get a company interested in licensing the idea, only to walk away from the company becuase they are not going to be set for life.

What are you goals for this product? to make a steady extra income level, or to support yourself on the profits?

Are you interested in finding the investment capitol to found a company and manufacture the product?

Are you an excelent sales person with an engaging personality that makes it impossible to say no too?

Answer these and I should beable to give you more.

i ignored this initially. prefer responding to registered members. but will advise you to do a search for forum threads on this. there are some long, informative threads which probably give you more advice and food for thought than you expect.

without a doubt, have a business plan.

i’m currently working for a start-up that began pretty much with a guy’s patent. i helped do some of the initial design work by creating some sketches and foam models for him to show investors. a working prototype helps too. Paco Underhill wrote a book called “Why we buy, The Science of Shopping”. From a packaging perspective, he mentions that if people have the ability to remove a product from its packaging to hold and touch the product, they’re more likely to buy it. being able to physically grasp the product communicates volumes and can really help make a sale than if you had only a pretty picture, or much less just words.

TWO very long years after meeting this guy, an investor finally came along and helped us acquire office space, 9 employees and one of 3 Stratasys machines in Florida to help make prototypes.

but none of this would have been possible without a good business plan that explains in great detail how you plan to make your idea a reality.

however, your drive and passion will ultimately determine your own fate.

Thanks for replying.

First of all, I don’t intend (as of now anyway) to pursue this for a primary source of $ or expect to be “set for life.” I do have some $ to start with, and i am at a point where i havent decided what the actual path i want to take…

I have spoken with a few patent attornies, with one wanting to help me out outside of his obligations with his firm. His boss had agreed it is a great novel product and gave him a go ahead, and his father having been a machinist/manufacturer also thought it was a good idea for him to moonlight on. (he is a friend of a friend)

SO i guess im contemplating selling/licensing this idea (which would be ideal if you took one look at it) or even getting some investments and start a company…who knows. Thats is why im asking for some info.

You mention inventors coming through your office, what do you do? product scout?

feel free to reply here with your wisdom (to help those who read this forum), as well as email:

Thanks again.

It sounds like you are heading in the right direction, atleast in the aspect of aquiring usefull contacts who are willing to help you out. I do think now is definatly the time to stop and prepare a buisness plan, and plan out what you would ideally like out of this idea. Though we can give advice on this only you know what you ideally hope to accomplish. The more complete the up-front planning the smother the process will flow.

If you intend to lisence the product you will need to find as many buyers, meaning companies and stores, who will agree to carry the product for atleast a limited test period. Wal-Mart and Target will say no–garanteed, with no doubts untill you can prove your sales potential through market research or first years sales figures.

Once you have meetings set with buyers you will need to show them the idea, pictures are worth 1000 words, but a functional prototype is priceless in this situation. However a prototype with a rushed, unrefined, or non-complete design is destin only to fail. Before you have your machinist freind make you a set of 1-2 prototypes, you need to think through your design, and the target users. Is this a form that they could not resist purchasing, does it atrach their eye? Does it stand out from the competition? Is it simple and intuitive to use? Can it be easily and compactly packaged for maximum sales shelf efficency?(stores think in sales volume / shelf volume terms = ROI) How will it be packaged, stored, assembled, merchandised? etc. Once you have the design refined and the functional aspect perfected then and only then do you create the functional prototype for the buyer presentations.

As for me I am not a product scout. I am the lead designer for a small design consultancy. In addition to our main clients, we also have a local reputation of helping inventors realize their product ideas. From taking thier intial minds-eye vision of the product through market research…design…engineering…functional prototype…and manufacturing sourcing. We generally control the development aspect of the program, allowing the inventor to focus on the daunting task of finding investors and distributors of retail partners.

Summary: of steps given to inventors who come through my door.

  1. Buisness plan and Financial Plan Sample Business Plan: An Example
    Patents & Trademarks

  2. Initial market testing

  3. refine and finalize each detail of the design, remembering the 80-20 rule of thumb.

  4. Funtional Prototype

  5. Meet with retail buyers, distributors, info-mercial producers, etc.

  6. Good luck

bump for “Ryan” !

What’s the 80-20?

Yeah, what’s the 80-20 rule of thumb??