If you look through the 'Product' Design section you will get a good idea of most of the tasks involved, and we explain what we can do to help you.The first question I ask is whether the product is intended for the Industrial or Retail market ? If it is intended for the Retail market then the issues of packaging and presentation are paramount. If the product is hanging on a hook in a store - people are going to devote a millisecond's worth of attention to it as they walk by - if it does not 'grab' them then you have a big problem.The next question is do you realise the potential cost of tooling - usually the biggest hurdle, particularly with plastics. This is why the design work needs to be done thoroughly because changing tooling is difficult - you may have to scrap it and start again.The next issue is - has it been done before ? Just because you haven't seen it around doesn't mean that someone has not protected it - they probably didn't get the marketing / money part of their act together, and that's why you haven't seen it. But if you are successful, you will soon hear from them. So you need to have a search (at least in your own country) done by a patent attorney to protect your future investment.Normally it is preferable not to Patent / protect it at this stage and rely on Confidentiality Agreements. Why ? - because it will probably be changed in the Product / Process stages.Next step is to see someone like me, to give you a technical assessment of the idea from the Product, Process, Market & Money aspects. Does it have reasonable feature benefits for the customer, and can it possibly made and distributed at a realistic price. Does the design need refining, prototypes made, type of process selected, set of refined drawings, promos to attract investors.Sending drawings out for costing follows. Prior to this step we suggest that the client should see a patent attorney because from this point it becomes difficult to maintain secrecy as too many people get involved. Pricing for tooling and finished product, normally starts a to-and-fro operation to try and hone up the pricing to meet the required goal.From this point issues such as brochures, packaging (crucial for retail products) need to be addressed. See details under Product / Process / Market & Money sections. You may also have to consider getting an Investor on-board, now that you have a better idea of your financial requirements. Here you may consider a Business plan (directed at Investors) and/or a pitch document to help pull in potential Investors or Distributors.
The first step. You arrange a meeting with us.We will give you an overview at this meeting on what is likely to be involved, show you some relevant examples of products at various stages of development and marketing. We do not charge you for this time, however when we then start to talk about your product you will be charged for the time taken. This will usually cost about $100 to $250 depending on the issues that are raised.We will try to highlight the key issues relevant to your product and the sort of costs involved and whether we
think it is worthwhile proceeding. Bear in mind we are 'straight shooters' here and will give you straightforward opinions.The next step is for you to go away and think about whether you want to proceed with us.However in some cases we will advise people that it is not worth proceeding. This is usually because the potential cost is too high for the market segment in question or the market size for the product is too small to justify the expense involved.
This is not a problem. It is common for clients to have other consultants or in house people working on various projects. The client decides who does what - we are not in the poaching business.
We carry out projects for people on either end of this country, USA, UK & Europe. We live an electronic age. We have done work for clients that we have never even met face-to-face.You can ring us on Skype at no cost wherever you are - just for a casual chat - no obligation.
In a word .....No. We do extensive work in all types of materials.
This is usually one of the biggest cost hurdles you have to 'jump'. For plastic and metal this can be a big outlay. This is the reason why you need to get your act together, before you commit to have the tooling made. All details of the design, and use of the product must be well thought through. You don't want to have to throw away your tooling and start again.We have in many cases found ways around this hurdle - ways of minimising it.
Some projects can be quoted for a fixed price, others an hourly rate. This depends on whether we can minimise the variables. Product development it can be like unraveling a ball of string, where time is very difficult to quantify, so we normally proceed by agreeing on a set spend and see how much progress is achieved. It is then up to the client to decide if progress is satisfactory.Business plans, Web sites, Pitch documents, can be fixed if we clearly define the variables. Here are a few examples (a guide only)Technical Evaluation (of the product & its possible future) - Initial Interview with the client - Product assessment - How it could be made - can expensive tooling be avoided - Rough costs involved - sizing up available Marketing information - Feature benefits - Competition - Price - Distribution -possible protection - is it worth the journey ? .....A$100 to $250Design - Rough Prototype and concepts - This may be from cardboard, plastic, plaster or metal. It may already exist. This has great hands-on value and comes to grips with some 'real-live-world' 3D issues. Marketing Data - Competition - Selling prices - Distribution cost - All leading to - approx. what have we got to make it for ? . Feature benefits of competitive products. Market size ? Are the feature benefits envisaged worthwhile ? How are you going to distribute it ? Absolute detail is a waste at this stage - is it worth proceeding ? Design - Refined version - process of drawing up product detail with several views and associated dimensions. Note
:- these drawings are always in colour - highly graphic to get the message across to the clients, potential investors - or licensees ! We are in the business of selling concepts ! - Will use these to obtain Manufacturing quotes. .Sales Brochures - heavily biased to the feature benefits of the product, with max. photo and illustration content. It can be refined as the project proceeds - it is a preselling tool. A Product or company logo can be generated if required. Laser colour prints for immediate use. Packaging design - For retail products great care and attention needs to be applied to get the best possible pack. If export is intended, space occupation is carefully considered. Materials, cardboard / plastic etc. We set the concept and general detail and see if we can get any further refinements from packaging suppliers. Can make prototypes ready for diecutters or vacuum formers. Next stage is the pack graphics / instructions. ....... Pack graphics Pitch Documents - Printed - see detail below Pitch Documents - Electronic - see detail below Business Plans - see belowWeb Sites - see detail below
For a small operator this is a critical issue.It is usually a very EXPENSIVE one !If you are a larger company, that has its own distribution system, then this is not as critical.It is common to have someone turn up who has rushed out and patented an idea without going down the Process route. Interesting idea George but how are you going to make it? You may need to change it to be able to make it for a reasonable cost and then may have the expense of a patent all over again.The brings us back to those headings Product, Process, Market and Money.You should do a search to establish whether anybody has done this before. Just because you haven't seen it around does not mean that someone has not already protected it. They probably didn't get their marketing act together. That someone will soon pop up if you are a success.The search is to protect your future investment. We
These are laser colour printed and bound documents that :-Give an impressive image to your product.Logos can be generated as an option. The aim is to present you and your product in the most professional light possible -even if you operate out of a 'phone box' - in order that you can be taken seriously by the 'Decision Makers' out there). We usually print off some short runs and when all the refinements have been made, we will generate a computer file that we can email to a printer and do a volume runs where the costs are realistic. A soon as a printed version is 'out there' all sorts of other refinements are suggested or required for one reason or another. You don't want 5,000 copies printed where some minor detail has to be changed, and you have to trash them.
These can use a substantial portion of the information that is in the pitch document.A key part of the process of putting these documents together is 'flushing out' key information so that you can bring a customer to make a buying decision. Here as elsewhere we want to get rid of any long winded text that won't get read and will suitably highlight the unique feature benefits of the product (or service) with photos and graphics. These same graphics can also be used in websites and other promotional material.
When it comes to reaching out to potential Investors and Distributors there are a few things you should be aware of ……….(1) Finding the Decision maker - not always as simple as it sounds. What are the issues that are going to 'sway' the Decision maker ?(2) Getting your message across - you know what a wonderful 'thing' you have but getting someone else to the position where they are fully aware of its potential is quite another thing altogether. Here you have to 'transfer' all the unique selling points across into their skull. If only they knew !! - Well they don't !! - face it(3) Decision makers have a very short attention span.Fact of life - face it !Every day this attention span gets shorter !People are bombarded from every direction with information.Decision makers will rarely read much text - unless they absolutely have to.This is why we focus on graphics and photos. It avoids text and gets a far greater quantity of data into peoples heads, in a very short space of time. Within about 12 pages or less we want to tell the whole story.We will get this into someone else's head in less than 5 minutes.You will find that the process of generating this will 'drag' out a lot of information that you may have taken for granted, put it is a simpler form, and 'focus' it to get the best sort of outcomes required. The process may also highlight issues that need to be resolved.Note :- the contents here can also be used in Brochures and Web sites.
There are two forms here :-(a) An Adobe Reader (Acrobat) form that can be emailed.(b) A PowerPoint form, sometimes with the music, animation etc. This is a very effective selling tool ! Why ? Well - we play a lot of tricks to get the file size small so that it is readily emailable.You can, for example, mass mail this to a big range of potentially interested parties in the US, or elsewhere.When they receive it they click on the attachment, it opens up, but very importantly........ it fills the entire screen ..... no menus no distractions.Movement and sound capture command attention ... no mouse clicks to move forward.The viewers interest is 'captured' for the full presentation of a few minutes.With very careful attention to the content a lot of key information can be transferred to the viewer's brain.At the end of this the viewer is presented with 'push button' options to go direct to your web site (if you have one) or pull up a pre-addressed email form to give an immediate reply. These documents can reasonably easily be updated.You can transfer them from one side of the world to the other in an instant.You can also install them on websites.
You can scratch your your product name and features on a bit of paper and call it a brochure. You can much the same with a web site. You may save so much it will cost you a fortune !
(1) You may create the right impression that your operation is a professional one.(2) However people surfing the net have very short attention spans and they may only look at one or two pages of your site and you may not get across your unique selling propositions.(3) It is normally smarter to do the Pitch document first, and use the graphics/photos from this later in a web site.
Let's get to the 'awful truth' !If you go down to the patent office and do a bit of homework, you will find that very few ideas really make it to the commercial world !As a percentage we are down to less than 1% !"Why is this so" (1) Very few patented products are commercially viable. In other words they are too expensive to produce and they don't offer value to the consumer - in $ or feature benefits.(2) Very few products are properly marketed and distributed. Who wants to buy a $100 can opener? The world's best is sitting in someone's drawer somewhere. The one that has market is probably about 4th best - but is at the right price - effectively distributed - well packaged - looks goodThis is a key message to you ! Ignore it at your peril !We carry out new product development. Our focus a little different than others.Few new concepts really make it to the commercial marketplace.
normally prefer to send clients to a Patent Attorney and get a proper search done. There are issues about having to declare the results that you should ask about. If you do the search by yourself you risk missing information through inexperience.Usually I advise people to look to appropriate protection (design or patent) after reaching the refined drawings stage where we are about to put drawings out to contractors and from this point it is hard to keep information secure. Up to this point you can use Confidentiality Agreements. One of the key values of Patents and Registered Designs is use as a marketing tool.
For this reason we try and focus on the 'destination' at the beginning of the 'journey'.For example ......► Who is going to use this product(or service) ?► Where would they buy it ?► Feature benefits do over the competition ?► How much would they pay for it ?► Who would distribute it ?► What margin would they want ?► How much, would you have to make it for ? ....... you can get the drift.► What is the smartest way of making it ?It is not unusual for someone to tell us they have been working on their idea for four years - and we would have got that far in four weeks - full time.They have had to work it all out the hard way.
If its done properly it can give the world an impression that your operation is something of substance ...... and not some backyarder ...... even though you may 'operate out of a phone box' !This is a way of reaching the universe.However there are a few things you should be aware of :-