Author Topic: Inventors advice needed  (Read 9758 times)

Ramses

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Inventors advice needed
« on: February 14, 2012, 11:18:31 AM »
Hello all,

I have a few inventions that I believe would be somewhat successful but I lack the knowledge on certain areas to make it all work.
Taking it one step at a time, I'm past the design process and building a working prototype for one of my ideas. It is very useful improvement of a widely available product.

From having a working prototype, I am lost as to what direction I need to go. Obviously I wish to (legally) prevent some big company from just stealing my idea as soon as I put it out there, so perhaps a patent is needed. Do I require a lawyer for this?
I read is better to start selling the product by myself in order to prove there is a demand for it before approaching a big vendor that may want to slap their brand to it.. is this accurate?
If so and I need to order a few hundred items made, is there a dbase for manufacturers in order to have it mass produced? will it be better to send my product in 3 parts to different manufactures to prevent my idea from being stolen? Chinese factories an option? Where to look for them?

I know I have a lot more questions but I am addressing them as I get close to every stage of this ordeal. Thanks

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Re: Inventors advice needed
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2012, 12:03:08 PM »
Here is an idea to help  you out. You're going to want a lawyer to protect your idea properly. And it does cost money to file a patent even if you do it yourself. And, the said fact is, it can take a long time to be awarded your patent. Heck I was just reading how Apple was just awarded a few they applied for in 2007.

Can I suggest you check out www.kickstarter.com <-- this is a website where people present their ideas and ask for crowd sourced funding. Usually they offer people who make donations something in return. Like, those who support us with $100 donation will get the product first when it become available at a discount. Because we're going to retail for $180.00

You're going to need to do a lot of research when it comes to picking a manufacture. And I wish I could help you there, but my experience with that is limited to state side.

Ramses

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Re: Inventors advice needed
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2012, 12:23:35 PM »
Thank you for the advice. My personal expenses are quite low, so funding should not be an issue.. unless a manufacturer has a 1000 or 5000 pieces minimum order or something along those lines.
I have even thought about approaching QVC and/or related 'as seen on tv' places in order to get this going.

In an ideal world, I would make a living creating my own products, enhancing existing products and selling them to end-users and big retailers.

So far I've found this
http://www.uspto.gov/patents/resources/types/provapp.jsp
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/getting-patent-yourself-29493.html
http://web.mit.edu/invent/h-chapters/h-six.html

arebelspy

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Re: Inventors advice needed
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2012, 04:52:04 PM »
A provisional patent will give you one year to file a real one, protect your invention the same as a patent would, let you use the phrase "patent pending," and let you start showing it in public, marketing it, etc.

I have followed the "Do It Yourself" patent books before and filed my own, and I've also had lawyers file some for me.  It's doable on your own, but if you think it'll be big, hire a lawyer to do it right (and, more importantly, fight the patent office if/when they initially deny it to get it accepted).

It may be the way to go for you.  Consult a lawyer, this is not legal advice, YMMV, etc.
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ice

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Re: Inventors advice needed
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 10:29:21 AM »
Check Entrepreneur Magazine's August 2011 issue, specifically "The Solution to the Innovator's Dilemma."  It features Ben Kaufman, who started http://www.quirky.com/

Quirky is an inventor/design community where people tweak ideas.  It's only for products that would retail under $150.  I'm not sure if it's the right thing for your situation but check it out.

Also of note is Kaufman's personal story.  At 18 he started his first business.  He had an idea for ipod headphones, so he flew to China and found a manufacturer.  But I don't know how to answer your question of how to find those manufacturers.

Other info form the article:
Telebrands - Created by the "As Seen on TV" guy.  If they pick up your product you are almost assured success.
Alibaba - E-commerce platform for those who want to DIY and keep all IP.

Ramses

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Re: Inventors advice needed
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 12:12:06 PM »
Great information. Thanks guys. I will be reading those sites as soon as I get home. And yes, my idea for this first product would retail somewhere around the $20-$30 range. Since the prototype has costed a few hundred dollars and too much manual labor, I need to find the manufacturers to mass produce it, while leaving a decent profit margin.

Will stay on this