Our company does product development from A-to-Z meaning that we help Inventors such as yourself and even bigger companies start up. I am taking their idea all the way from even a paper napkins sketcher even now to a final mass produced product. If you have a few minutes I’m going to explain to you about the product development process.
Step 1: Patent Search and market research
The first step that we do is Patent Search and market research because before you go ahead and start investing big amount of money into product development engineer Prototyping in mass production, we want to know that the coast is clear so we’re going to start looking at prior patents because well there might be products that are not in the marketplace yet somebody might have applied for a patent for them. It might be other’s intellectual property, therefore we want to make sure that the coast is clear before you go ahead and start investing money into it. Also we’re going to look at competitive products meaning that we want to see your competition, what are they selling, or what other features, what materials are they made of, how are they selling it etc. This way, we’ll be able to better place your product in the marketplace and make a better feature than your competition or have better pricing. We’ll also be able to calculate how much should be your product’s retail cost, how much you should wholesale it for, and how much you should mass-produce it beforehand, what would be our target pricings. This way when we get into the product development phase, we already come educated to know how to better place your product in the marketplace. That would be the first step. Even if we do find similar patterns at least we know about it upfront and this way we could modify slightly your invention so you don’t step into somebody else’s intellectual property, and then you can still make your invention with a slight variation.
Step 2: Ideation Stage
we go into the stage which we call ideation stage making various sketches of your idea with variations, with different features and different looks. You might think of one way to make your invention, we’re going to think of multiple ways of making sure our talented industrial designers will sketch out variations and then we will present it to you. This way you know, we’ll be able to discuss with you which features or what designs you like better and then we can make it into a final hybrid into something that’s gonna look the best with the best features in the best looks so we’re all the time in communication with you throughout the project, to make sure that you’re actually happy. We modify the things as we go along because it’s important for us and for you to be part of this process. We make sure that the end product is the one that you actually had in mind or that you know you’re happy with the modifications according to our recommendations from what we’re saying. Then we take that hybrid idea that we made and we are going to convert it into the next stage
Step 3: 3-D computer model or 3-D CAD drawings
which is what we call 3-D computer model or 3-D CAD drawings. That is when we take the sketch and convert it into all the parts of how the product is actually going to be put together. It's going to be very accurately done on the computer with an engineering software. This way you can review it and see how everything is working together and how your product is going to look eventually. With the 3-D computer model or as we call it CAD, (CAD stands for Computer Aided Drafting just so you know), we’re going to use that for a few different things which i am going to describe to you in a few moments.
Step 3B: Electronics Engineering
By the way, let me ask you, do you have any electronics in your invention ?
IF NO Jump to STEP 4
we also have electronics engineers that can make for you what’s called a PCB - a Printed Circuit Board, it’s those little green boards that you might see inside various electronic products. It has all these electronics chips integrated into them, so we can custom engineer especially one for your invention, according to your product needs. we could also help you do a smart app that works in conjunction with the PCB and remote controls it.
Step 4: Prototype
The first thing that we’re going to use 3d CAD for is for Making a Prototype, a prototype is a first copy of your invention. The way that it works is that we have 3D printers and CNC machines and other machinery that can read the files from the 3D computer model. They read the file and they recreate it into a physical sample.
Have you heard about a 3d printing technology ?
The way it works is It works similar to how a hot glue gun works. Have you ever seen a hot glue gun? If you see it before you know you feed it a solid glue stick on one side and then the gun heats up, and melts the glue stick and then a liquid glue comes out on the other side. So in a similar way this is how the 3D printer works.
In reality there is plastic feeding on one side of the 3d printer’s nozzle, and it gets heated up to a liquid form. The heated nozzle is connected to a robotic arm which moves the nozzle with the liquid plastic to all directions according to the file in the computer and builds up those parts according to what was in the computer so it’s being done very accurately.
We also do prototypes through other means such as CNC machines - we place a big block of plastic in a CNC machine and then it is there is a drill connected to a robotic arm which moves in all directions and it drills out excess material from the big block of plastic, and just like a sculpture it is shaped into the actual shape of the product or the parts that were designed in the 3D computer model.
We can create prototypes from almost any material! Plastics, Silicons, metals, fabrics, ceramics and more. So whatever material you want your product to be made from we can do it!
Our Prototyping level is incredible! we can make a product look like if it just came out of the factory. Fully polished, painted and glossy. nobody would ever know that it’s actually not mass produced item at that point so you could use those prototypes for showing potential investors, potential buyers, trade shows, or even a crowdfunding campaign.
So that's the first thing that we do with the 3d computer model. (COLD CALLING SKIP TO STEP 6:) The other thing that we do with the 3D computer model is to create patent drawings.
Step 5: Patent Drawings and patent descriptions.
Let me ask you a question, have you done anything regarding patenting for your invention?
IF YES - ALREADY APPLIED (JUMP TO STEP 6)
IF YES - JUST A PATENT SEARCH (Continue current step)
IF NO - Continue current step
A Patent Drawing is unlike regular drawings or any other type of illustration. It needs to be made in a unique format which the patent office requires. In the US there are two types of patents. There is a design patent and utility patent. A design patent is how something looks, for example, the shape of a Gucci bag being a circular shape with a pocket in the front. It’ s just specifically about how it looks, it’s not about how it works, but its proportions and shape that are unique, let’s say that the bag is a circular shape and you apply for a design patent for it, and get approved, and then somebody comes and make a similar bag but it’s now a rectangular shape, it’s no longer the same design patent. So design patents are really good for things that have a unique ornamental shape so it protects the way that something looks like. A design patent is really quick to get them granted and they’re inexpensive compared to a utility patent. A utility patent is how something works mechanically or electrically. For example a car‘s engine, the way that the gear ratio works and connects and effects one another, the way they are being physically, mechanically or electrically put together, if there is something unique about that that would be considered a utility patent.
utility patents are more expensive therefore the patent office has given us, the Inventors, a tool that is really good. And it’s called a provisional application. a provisional application gives you as an inventor 12 months of patent pending status, in a fraction of the cost of a full utility patent.
and why is it good? It’s good for a few reasons. One, it gives you time to try to fully develop the product and see if there’s any other modifications before applying for a full utility patent. Let’s say that you test out the product and then you see that you need to modify something substantially then instead of filing for a whole new utility patent you can just modify the provisional application later on and then convert it into a utility patent. Once you apply for a provisional application you can start sharing your inventions more freely with others, as you already established a priority date at the patent office. Now you can start talking with investors, potential licensees and manufacturers without being scared that they beat you to the patent office. The way it works in the US is, an original Inventor is not the first person that actually invented the invention in their home, but it’s actually the first person that went to the patent office and filed for an application whether if it’s a design patent, a utility patent or or a provisional application, what's important is that you establish a priority date in the patent office. And that’s what’s important because if somebody else is going to come in with a similar idea a few days after you filed for it you have a priority date on it, so you have the first right for the product. so maybe they invented their idea already a month ago but you were the first in the patent office and said it’s mine then you were going to be considered the original inventor unless the other person can prove that you somehow stole from them etc. which is most likely not the case. Therefore doing a provisional application is a great way to establish a priority date in the patent office and getting a patent pending status and start the protection of your invention. so what we’re going to do we’re going to make the patent drawings for you we’re going to write the patent description for you and then we’re going to have our Patent Attorney or patent agent review all the information and send it on your behalf to the patent office making sure it’s filled. Another note on parents, many ask us if they should apply for a patent right away, we usually recommend forst to start some of the design process get up to the 3D modeling and then filling for a provisional application, this way you know your invention is connected to the actual product your going to make and closer to the final product.
Step 6: Technical Specifications
The additional step that we’re going to extract from the 3D computer model is that we’re going to create from it a technical specification document for your product. And let me explain what it is, have you ever seen, when you buy a piece of furniture for your house, let’s say a shelving unit or something similar to that, there is an instructions manual that comes along with it, with drawings that explain to you how to put the product together.
So we’re going to do a similar set of instructions but this one is going to be for the manufacturers to better understand how to put the product together. We’re going to have in there more details such as what material is each part made of, what color is it, what finish does it have, and details on how to put it together any special instructions for the manufacturer of assembling the product together. This way we know that there’s less possibility of making errors, especially if you’re planning to manufacture this out of the country and then communication is a major issue. You want to be sure that there are no questions asked.
Step 7: Sourcing
We can help you also with the Sourcing manufacturers that we work with. We work with a lot of factories from around the globe, both in the US and also in Asia. we will get you mass production pricing, so you could calculate your product’s wholesale price and retail price. This will help you rather you’re going to manufacture the product yourself or if you're going to try to license your idea to another company. They’re still going to ask you if you have any idea how much it’s going to cost to produce it. This way you’re going to have all the answers already upfront for them or for potential angel investors.
When it comes to manufacturing there a few major components it includes. Every product especially if it’s made from plastic needs to have a mold. A mold are these metal blocks that have at least two blocks one is a positive extract of the part’s shape and another block that is the negative carving of the part’s shape. The way it works is that when the two metal blocks are closed together there is a space between the positive side and negative side. Then raw plastic gets heated up into a liquid form and it gets injected into the space between the positive side and the negative side, it fills up that space which creates the part’s shape. The Plastic is then gets cooled down really quickly and the mold opens so that piece of plastic falls out. Molds are usually quite expensive. So it’s a good thing to know all the costs - and know what investment you’re invention would require. Additionally manufacturers are expecting that you order thousands of units, what is known as MOQ - Minimum Order Quantity. The amount of units depends on the product’s size, it’s complexity, etc. knowing those numbers would help you build your financial plan and your business plan.
Step 8: Crowdfunding
Did you know that there’s a way to pre-sell your products?. Have you ever heard about crowdfunding websites such as kickstarter or Indiegogo? These are websites where you can presell your products just like a contractor can pre-sell a house before it was built. The contractor tries to sell the house for a discounted rate, the same concept applies for the crowdfunding websites. You can demonstrate the prototype that we made for you. You would also know how much it’s going to cost you and you can pre-sell it at a discounted rate, so this way even if you don’t have enough money for the mass production you could still gather funds and pre-sell the product. We've helped our clients many times in the crowdfunding project, and we can help you.
Step 9: 3D Animation and Photorealistic Renderings
Other than that we also provide other services such as 3D computer animations that you can demonstrate how your product works like. We have done many 3d animations for products that are sold on QVC, Amazon and other online ecommerce platforms. We also do 3D computer photorealistic renderings, which are computer generated images that look completely realistic. You could use those for your marketing materials and other product presentations.
Step 10: Branding, Packaging and Websites.
We also help our clients later on finishing their branding assets such as logo design, packaging for their product, and even do website designs for them. we want to make sure that all the brand assets and the product’s presentation looks together and work together really well.
Step 11: Summarizing
I hope that now you understand all the product development processes. Let me know if
you have any questions about that?
OK now that you know about our development process, I think it's a good idea that we learn about what your invention does, because we can give you a free estimate and in order to do that we really need to learn about how it works. I can understand if you don’t feel comfortable sharing it as it, so what we can do for you, is that we can send you a secrecy agreement known as a nondisclosure agreement or an NDA. This way anything we shall talk about we’re going to keep it a secret. If you want we can even do it right now that we’re on the phone while we are here. What is your email, so I could send it out right now? it’s going to come from an online signing platform called Adobe sign. Did you get it? you can fill it now or you can do it later just fill it in and then we’re going to get all the details, once I receive it I’m going to call you back and verify i fully understand your invention so I can give you a free estimate about all the steps are required and how much does each step cost. Do you have any questions so far about that? When would be a good time.
Do I retain all the rights of my invention or do you take any part of the ownership of the invention?
You own 100% of your invention. We believe that since you’re the one that came up with the idea. you should own it, we don’t take a percentage of the ownership. Let me explain to you what I mean. You pay us as consultants or as your engineers hands to develop the product, so you are the original Inventor not us.
Sometimes clients ask us for a discount, and we can’t really discount the work that we’re doing because we calculate the costs according to Engineering hours it takes and materials, but we might be able to give you a discount in exchange for a small percentage from your idea, but once again that is only if you want us to. If you don’t need a discount, you own 100% on the invention.
How much does it usually cost to develop a product?
In order for us to calculate how much a product really costs to develop, we need to know how much engineering time, how much effort, and how big or complex the product is. For example if we need to develop a super simple toy versus a car’s engine of course those are two different projects and that it requires a whole different amount of time, effort, complexity and parts that we need to spend on them. So we can’t really pre-calculate and tell you how much it’s going to cost because we need to know the complete details then we need to sit together with the engineering team and calculate how much time we need to spend on it, how much material it takes, amounts of parts, how complex it is, does it have any electronics, does it have any moving mechanical parts all those adds more time in engineering and more materials . The more complex the invention is the more it’s going to cost. If it is big in size it’s going to cost more to try to prototype it, a small product might be less expensive. I can’t really give you now a ballpark number because it is a custom built project. What I can tell you, is that on average it costs a few thousands of dollars to develop an idea. How many thousands ? well it depends on the complexity etc, in order to give you an accurate number we need to get more detail from you, and that’s why the best way to do it, is if we sign a nondisclosure agreement and then you can reveal to us more information more comfortably, because we’re going to keep it a secret. We’re only going to use that information to evaluate your project in order to give you an estimate. We’re never going to try to sell it or use this information without your written permission.
Where do you physically do the prototypes, is it in-house and where are your engineers?
Up to Covid all our engineers were sitting together in the office located in north miami beach Florida, but right now our engineers are working from their homes. We all work together online and we’re having online sessions all day long, they’re all local here in the US. Also for prototyping we do have equipment in house we do most of the work on prototyping in-house. If it’s a really unique product with unique material we might need to outsource one part or purchase it externally but will do all the assembly work is done inhouse so nobody else will ever know what is the complete product or Prototype.
Do you also do the mass production in house?
Mass production requires special equipment and special knowledge. While we work very closely with some factories, we’re not equipped to mass produce products in house that’s why we make sure that we also help you with the sourcing phase and these are factories that we worked with in the past and that we trust. Some of them are locally, some of them are overseas, it really depends on the quantity and the type of product you are going to do and the quality and the pricing. You know usually something that is made in the US is going to cost three times more expensive than making it overseas in China. So even with the high taxation that President Trump put on importation from China it’s still less expensive.
if you’re looking to make high-quality or minimum amounts of units then manufacturing in the US is probably a good choice but if you’re looking to mass produce thousands of units for a discounted price then probably manufacturing in Asia is a better option.
what we do to avoid copycats in Asia, is we split the products into multiple parts being made in various factories so one factory might be doing the external plastic another factory might be doing the internal in a third factory may be doing the packaging. This way nobody has all the information together and then we use a fourth factory to assemble everything together. that Assembly Factory might even be here in the US this way we try to avoid copycats and keep your product safe and at the best price possible.
Shouldn’t I apply first for a patent before I start talking to you or start the development process?
Let me ask you a question: when you go and buy a car, do you first buy the car or do you first buy the insurance for the car? That is a rhetorical question of course. You first buy the car before you buy the insurance for the car. Same thing in the product development world you first want to start the development process and then apply for the intellectual property. In this case the insurance you have on is the patent. And you don’t want to do it the other way around. Let me tell you a story, once we had a client that wanted to develop this really unique motorcycle, we were like OK that’s great, it looks great and he’s like, yeah I have patents in the US, I have patents in China, i have patents all over the world, I spend over $250,000 in patents on my invention. So we asked him: “Where is the motorcycle?” he’s responded that he didn’t have anymore money as he spent it all on the patents, so he didn’t develop it yet, and only had patents. I said well that’s great but those patents are just a piece of paper. Nobody will try to buy it from you, invest in your idea, or try to license it from you without a working sample. therefore it’s much more important to start having some engineering being done, a prototype and then applying for the patents. If it's a design patent it Has to be only when the full product has been approved and you like it and you’ve seen the prototype, and you even need to be already in the manufacturing stage, after doing the mold, because even if they change the design slightly it’s no longer the same design patent. so you want to make sure that your design patent is aligned with the final product. if it’s a utility patent that you’re trying to do or a provisional application as we talked about. Then you want to start working on the engineering and then apply for a provisional application as soon as you have a first idea of how it’s going to work like. and only then you should apply for the provisional application because you want to get that 12 months patent pending status. Then you have enough time to try to test the product, talk to buyers, talk to potential licensees, talk to manufacturers. you’re at that point already registered in the patent office, and your first in line. As soon as the 12 months period ends, you apply for that utility patent with modifications that you made to your invention along the way, you can still modify it in that 12 months period, that’s why it’s more important to first start working on the product and then apply for the patent.
Is there such a thing as an international Patent?
There is no such thing as an international patent. Each country has its own patent system. In the US we have our own patent system, in Europe they have a central patent system, so you need to apply for the central European patent. Once you get it approved then you need to pay the fee for every country within the European Union that you want to apply for. China has a separated patent and so does the rest of the countries. So the strategy that you should do is when the provisional application is about to expire. In the time that you file for a utility patent in the US, you also apply for what’s called a PCT patent cooperation treaty. That gives you an additional 18 months of patent pending status in multiple countries around the world. Now let’s say you start manufacturing your product. you start selling it first in the US and then somebody from let’s say Brazil comes to you and tells you how they want to sell your products in Brazil and they want to be an exclusive distributor in Brazil. then you’ll be telling them, sure you can be an exclusive distributor in Brazil but there is a fee for that and the fee is that ,he needs to covers up the costs for the Brazilian patent as long as he is selling the product in Brazil, you would be licensing him the rights sell it in Brazil to sell. You take the PCT and then you apply with it for a Brazilian patent and the other person pays for it. This way you don’t need to start spending a Lot of money on worldwide patents, but you actually get one central application: the PCT that’s going to be used later on for your distributors to cover up that cost for you.
What happens if the prototype doesn’t work the way that I expected it to work?
A prototype is the first attempt to create the product or the invention that you had in mind, I can tell you that generally speaking it requires a few tries of creating and re-creating prototypes until a company or an inventor are 100% happy with it and before they take that design into manufacturing. so the first attempt of a prototype is not going to be perfect, expect it not to be perfect, because it’s just a first trial! you always want to improve on your product, you always want to make better versions of it. So after a first prototype what might needed to be happen, is that we might need to go back and get into the engineering files, modify them slightly according to the test results, from the previous prototype and then we’re gonna need to make another prototype. of course there are additional costs associated with it. for the additional engineering time and additional prototype materials and time worked on it. it’s just part of the product development cycle. If there’s any other company that’s going to tell you, that the first prototype is going to be perfect and don’t worry 100%, I would recommend you to stay away from them like fire! and it means that probably they’re liars because there’s no such thing as a product being 100% perfect at the first attempt you always gonna want to improve it somehow.
How long does it take to go through all the product development processes that you described?
Usually it would take us about 2 to 3 months to complete all the product development processes that we discussed earlier. it really depends on how complex the product is. many times we engineer the product and then send it to you, and wait for feedback and that’s also taking some time. I can tell you that an average product after prototyping and patent pending phase might take an additional six month or more until the product is actually being mass produced, manufactured and launched into the market. You might ask yourself, why does it take so long? Well, because after we do the initial engineering work, we get the sourcing step which is short, out until you actually start place an order with the manufacturer, until you give them a down payment and until they start working on it might take another 2 months, then they need to make the molds, the molds take an additional 2 months to complete, then they send you a sample, you need to inspect, you might find some imperfections that you want them to improve on or some functionality issues that you would want them to improve then they need to fix up the mold etc. so it takes a bit of time until they finish up preparing the tooling for the mass production then until it’s being shipped from Asia to the USA is another month, and hopefully it doesn’t get stuck in the customs, and then eventually it reaches you or your warehouse. So that is why it takes that time. So 2-3 months on average to develop & prototype the invention and another 6 months or more for manufacturing.
How can we ensure that the factory is really Manufacturing the product in a good quality before they ship out?
What you do you hire an external QA agent quality assurance agent that works directly for you, and not for the factory. so they go in there while they’re doing the manufacturing.
they’re taking photos, videos , measuring the products, testing the parts, and sending you reports at the end of each day. so you can be sure that the products that are coming out of the factory are actually in the quality that you expect them to be.
Also the factories themselves are doing their own QA.
Can I do the project remotely?
Even before Covid 19, We had clients from all over the world! anywhere from continental USA, europe , south america, middle east and many other countries. These days with the advanced zoom meetings and remote technologies, it so easy to meet in video conferencing and share our screen live showing you all the designs and engineering files and you can even draw on the screen while we share it with you. so it makes it so easy as if we were sitting in the same room so there’s no real need to meet face-to-face.
Since of Covid 19 we try to avoid meeting with clients face-to-face. We are doing everything online with video meetings. Also we work on many products in parallel that in order to keep other client’s inventions a secret we try to avoid having people going in. so there are no mistakes, which somebody else sees another’s invention. just like we would want to protect your invention from others. we want to protect you from other people seeing your invention and that’s another reason why we try to do it online these days.
Can we just do specific steps such as just a prototype with you guys?
Sure absolutely! We will be happy to do any step that you need us to perform. When we will send you the estimate of your project, you may choose what steps you want us to perform and which one you want to leave out. you don’t have to choose it in the beginning even you can choose as we go along the project. we’re just gonna put together all the steps that we think are necessary for your project. but if you want to make only certain steps somewhere else it’s perfectly fine. Just so you know, there might be issues that we might not be able to guarantee to work, what I mean by that, is let’s say that you supply us a 3D computer model and then you ask us to make a prototype from it, we didn’t engineer the 3D computer model, so we don’t know how it needs to work, if it was engineered properly or what was the intention of certain parts and how they were made, we’re going to make it according to the 3d Model, one to one, but we can’t guarantee it’s going to come as you envision it because we weren’t the one that were engineering it. So bottom line you can absolutely make one or certain steps with us, we will take it care of the steps you want us to do in the best way possible. just so you know we can’t make a prototype without having a 3D computer model so if you choose not to do a 3D computer model we might not be able to make the prototype for you because the machines have to read through the computer model in order to do that.
Can You help me get a licensing deal?
We can help you create a licensing presentation pack, including 3D Photorealistic renderings of the product, description how the product works and assumed retail costs, wholesale costs and mass production cost. Also including information about the market segment, and what is the potential in the product. You could use this presentation to reach out to potential companies that might want to license the product. We can also try reaching out to 5 potential companies trying to reach a licensing deal, we charge for the above package a processing fee plus percentage from any deal potentially closed. We do want to keep you informed that licensing deals are very hard to achieve, and you're probably looking at around 0%~1% success ratio on average.