How Do I Go About Getting a Product Designed and Made?

Maybe I should have went to the meeting yesterday (though I got the idea last night.) Can someone lay down the basics for getting a product designed and manufactured for me? Just enough so I can start researching it myself would be enough.

Basically I have an idea for a small electronic device that would work with a PC (through USB maybe.) The device and PC would both need software designed (though I imagine it’d be really simple.)

I assume there’d be patents, investors, etc. involved. Just seems like it’s good general information to know (besides my current million dollar idea.)

A good first step would be to get your idea jotted down, try to build a working prototype if possible, and then go for the 1-year protection thing, which is only a few thousand NT.

ooooh what is it???

No-one can reasonable expect to get an answer until the idea is under some kind of patent protection.

  1. Do extensive searches on the internet for similar products so you don’t waste your time reinventing the wheel. Track down patent numbers for these products and then utilize the US Patent Office on-line patent search function and pay particular attention to related patents listed in most patents on the first page. These related patents will give you an extensive overview of the patent status of your invention/product.

  2. Keep a bound notebook of your invention/product design in which you document its design and development progress prior to applying for a patent. Have someone witness, sign and date it on a regular basis. This is the foundation for establishing your claim to intellectual property/patentability. Maintain regular progress towards completing your product so patent offices don’t judge that you effectively “abandoned” your idea and started over at a later date.

  3. Build a functional prototype, using two prototype companies so no one sees the whole concept

  4. Test the prototype thoroughly until all the bugs are worked out, then take it to a patent attorney and begin the patent process. Patents in advanced countries you intend to market your product in are most important because even if you don’t protect your invention in the country of manufacture (China?) if the idea is patented in the market country it can’t be sold there even if manufactured legally elsewhere. Also seriously consider patenting it in the country(ies) of manufacture too though patent enforcement will most likely be hit-or-miss.
    b) Be careful not to offer your product for sale/publish details about it before you apply for patents because of the one-year rule in many countries beyond which your idea becomes public domain.

  5. Simultaneously with the patent process, arrange several manufacturers to make the components of your invention. Don’t let any one of them see/have access to the whole design/manufacturing process. Make ten or so demo units. Take them to trade shows and either license the manufacture and marketing of your idea to a reputable U.S. or European company (avoid companies elsewhere as a general rule because of lax respect for IP) or take orders yourself and use your already established manufacturing base to fill these orders. This is the best option if you have the technical and business background to bring it off.

Cool spook thanks. That’s just the response I was looking for.

I just want to add that the above advice is only meaningful when it comes to filing a patent application in the US. The United States is on a first to invent system while the rest of the world is on a first to file system.

So here’s the drill for filing in the US:

  1. You conceive of your idea (and no, there need not be any “flash of genius” process involved and yes this can all be done in Taiwan and still count when filing in the US).
  2. You are diligent in your efforts at either actually making the gadget or filing a patent for your invention.
  3. You file if you haven’t already in step 2. And diligence is no longer an issue, that is, you can file ten years later for all the patent office in the US cares (assuming you keep everything secret in this time).
  4. In the course of prosecution, the Examiner cites “prior art” that is dated before your filing date and rejects your application. The Examiner is correct at this point in the rejection.
  5. From your file of records or maybe even from a paper you submitted to the Journal of USB Stuff on your invention (but less than one year before you filed your application) show that you invented your invention way before the cited prior art. You overcome the rejection and you get your patent.
  6. Some asshole comes along some time later and tries to invalidate your patent by showing other prior art earlier than the prior art cited by the Examiner during prosecution. You use your date of conception this time by showing that again you invented first.

One word of warning: The US is set to change the first to invent system and join the rest of the world with the first to file system.

(Someone in the know please check my info above for accuracy. I typed quickly and would be interested to hear if I got something wrong.)

[quote=“miltownkid”]Maybe I should have went to the meeting yesterday (though I got the idea last night.) Can someone lay down the basics for getting a product designed and manufactured for me? Just enough so I can start researching it myself would be enough.

Basically I have an idea for a small electronic device that would work with a PC (through USB maybe.) The device and PC would both need software designed (though I imagine it’d be really simple.)

I assume there’d be patents, investors, etc. involved. Just seems like it’s good general information to know (besides my current million dollar idea.)[/quote]

Spend a lot of time doing a “prior art” search. You may think it is an innovative new invention, but just because a product is not on the market doesn’t mean the idea hasn’t been protected beforehand. Before you waste a dime of your money, spend a few hours going through the databases. If you want to protect your product globally, you will probably have to apply for patents at the USPTO for the US, the EU PTO for Europe, and the PTO offices in Taiwan and China (in Chinese). Getting mock-ups made of your idea, patents written PROPERLY etc. is not a cheap process. Good luck!!

I actually do have a product in mind. I already know it exists sort of. I want to make something that exists now simpler and better. I’m always having ideas about stuff, but this is the first time I thought to myself “What would I really have to do to take this thing from idea to store shelf?”

Now giving it some thought I think I better make a pile of cash on something simpiler than this current idea, then invest my own money into it later (or something like that.)

[quote=“miltownkid”]I actually do have a product in mind. I already know it exists sort of. I want to make something that exists now simpler and better. I’m always having ideas about stuff, but this is the first time I thought to myself “What would I really have to do to take this thing from idea to store shelf?”

Now giving it some thought I think I better make a pile of cash on something simpiler than this current idea, then invest my own money into it later (or something like that.)[/quote]

Keep in mind that almost all inventions now involve making something “simpler and better.” Except for cold fusion, revolutionary drugs that pop up now and then, etc., there really aren’t too many grand slams left as far as inventions are concerned. Most of the time, the inventive process now seems to involve taking baby steps that, over the years, result in vast improvements in technology.

If you’re coming up with ideas all the time like you said, keeping up with what’s out there by searching the USPTO website is a good idea, even if you don’t plan on acting on anything right away. You might find that you’re coming up with even more ideas and that the ideas you have are more thoroughly thought out.

Finally, I would recommend searching for websites that deal with issues faced by independent inventors. It seems to me that having a patent in hand (even though you never got your invention actually made) would be needed when approaching companies for funding or for selling your patent to (assignment). But maybe I’m wrong and some other approach is better and more often used by independent inventors.

Anyway, good luck!