So, you’ve come up with a brilliant idea for an invention – now what? If you want to capitalize on your invention this is just the beginning. There are a few crucial steps to consider going forward. To help with this, the Mako Design team compiled a step-by-step guide based on our Florida invention help services that’ll help bring your idea to life.
1. Conceptualize Your Invention and Prepare Yourself
Before you go any further in the process you need to ask yourself three key questions:
- Is my invention solving a need or improving an existing product?
- Is your idea already present in the market? What is the size of this market segment?
- Do I understand how to build or guide others to build this invention?
It’s important that the answer to these questions is a “yes”. If not, you might need to go back and conduct more research. If the answer is yes, you need to prepare yourself to execute the idea. Bringing an idea to life requires strategic planning, self-motivation, and good developers – whether you’re doing it on your own or by using a design firm such as Mako Design where we offer our Florida invention help services.
At this point, you might also be considering royalties. It’s important to understand that royalties don’t equate to riches. On average, royalty rates range from two to five percent of the gross profit the company receives for selling your invention. More importantly, the reality with royalties is that, unless you have professionally developed your product it’s near impossible to land a deal. A licensor of your product will expect to see exactly how your product works, completed 3D CAD designs, engineering schematics, and at least one prototype.
2. Write Your Ideas Down – In Detail.
After conceptualizing your idea and preparing yourself, it’s important to document the entire invention process for legal and protection purposes. This is in case you run into infringement issues or invention theft down the line that requires proof that the invention is yours.
This can be done in two ways:
- Using an inventor’s notebook to describe your idea in detail.
The description should include a name for the invention, its purpose, a detailed explanation of the invention, a drawing or schematic, a list of unique features, and any other important information. The notebook should also be signed and dated by the inventor(s) and two additional witnesses.
- Disclosure documents.
This can be done using the official United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) “Disclosure Document Program” for a small fee. This must also be signed by two witnesses. Once it is processed, subsequent entries can be added to it.
3. Product and Market Research
Your next step is to find out if similar products are on the market. Some questions that our Florida invention help services recommend our clients to ask themselves is: Does that product have a patent? Does your invention have advantages over these products? Since most inventions are a modification or combination of existing products, your products should be adding value, as well. If not, you might need to take a few steps back and reevaluate your product to see if it can add more value.
4. Design your product
At this stage of the process, you will need to create a 3D CAD (Computer-Aided Design) digital model of your product. Most inventors hire a professional design firm to do this for obvious reasons. The model should demonstrate details about the product, including size, shape, functionality, color, measurements, manufacturing specifications, and any other physical features of the end-product. It’s crucial during this stage that the professional engineering software used is compatible with current industry manufacturing specifications. At Mako Design, we use our Florida invention help services to offer industrial design, mechanical engineering, and electrical design to ensure all products not only look great but function properly as they should.
5. Create a Prototype
This is essentially a single working unit of your invention. Your goal here is to create a prototype using good quality designs so you only have to make one prototype version. The prototype will act as a reference for identifying important details that need to be included in the patent application and will provide the necessary information to determine the best manufacturing processes and materials to use.
6. Apply For a Provisional Patent
Compared to a non-provisional patent, a provisional patent allows you a 12 month trial period to sell their product. The inventor can seek out a license for royalties or sell the product, while it’s protected. If money is earned during that period, the inventor can reinvest that money into the costs of a “full” or non-provisional patent.
The provisional patent application should include a cover sheet identifying the provisional application, the name of the inventor, and any necessary bibliographic information. The application should also include a description of the invention and a filing fee.
7. Find a Manufacturer
If you’re licensing your invention, this stage is optional. However, having the exact manufacturing operations for your invention increases the value of your proposition to the party you would like to license it out too. If you’re going all the way with the product, manufacturing supply sourcing is key. You will need to find a manufacturer for each of the parts of the product, a company to assemble those parts, a company to package the product, and another one to pack and ship to the buyer.
8. Sell or License Your Product to the Buyer
If you are selling, at this stage you should have a working prototype of your product, a provisional patent, and your manufacturing costs and supply chain. Now, it’s time to promote the product to as many buyers as possible, including retailers, wholesalers, distributors, online retailers, and others.
If you choose to license it instead, you will need to approach manufacturers and present the design, prototype, and IP protection. It’s important to note that licensing deals can be harder to get than selling physical units of your product because the licensee would need to figure out manufacturing, find buyers, and run the business themselves. Also, because of the extra work, the licensee has to do, they usually offer the inventor a fraction of the unit profit the inventor would make if they sold the product themselves.
Check out our top tips for invention development for more insight on how to build your invention, here!
While this entire process might seem grueling, it’s crucial for the success of your product, to go through each stage carefully, without cutting corners. Using our Florida invention help services would help streamline and expedite each stage of the process, potentially allowing the inventor to save costs. As a professional design firm, Mako Design has developed and produced hundreds of consumer products for inventors for over 12 years.
If you have a great new invention and you’d like to learn more about this process, get in touch with MAKO here and visit our website to find out more. Feel free to give us a call at +1 (888) 806-6256 (MAKO) and we can set you up on a call with our product analyst!
MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to small businesses, startups, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry’s leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Feel free to Contact Us anytime for help with your project.