Inventor FAQ | Inventions How To | Invention Questions

On this page, we answered the most common questions inventors, product developers, and entrepreneurs ask.

If you are planning to develop a new product stop here! Check the questions and answers.

Launching a business based on a new product or commercializing your invention requires knowledge. 

Whether you want to start a business or go the licensing route you may find some useful info here.

The answers to some of the bugging questions could be here. Education is key to a successful product launch. 

We split the questions into categories covering the whole process of product development from idea to prototyping to manufacturing and marketing.

If you didn’t find the answer to your question, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

 

Product Development

 

How do entrepreneurs go about developing physical prototypes and then turn that prototype into an actual product?

There are several ways to turn an idea into a prototype and then a market-ready product. The process starts with defining why a new product needs to be developed, how it will make people’s lives better or their jobs easier, and what key features the product needs to have to do its job well. The next step is to look around to find similar products and patents on similar inventions and figure out where they fell short and how your product could do their job better or for a lower price. Once you have a clear idea of what the product needs to look like and how it needs to work you can hire a product development team to design your product in CAD and then build physical prototypes for testing and design improvement. After several design-prototype iterations, the product will need to be optimized for cost-effective manufacturing. That process is called design for manufacturing (DFM). Once the design is ready for mass production you can hire a company to manufacture your product. While they are making molds and the first runs of your product you need to focus on product launch and marketing. It’s important to know your target audience and then reach them through a website, advertisement, social media, or physical channels, like brick and mortar stores.

Do I need a patent before I start product development?

No! In fact, we recommend beginning the product development process before pursuing a patent. Here is why: First, it’s hard to describe an invention without a CAD model or a prototype. It’s easy to not think through some nuances or forget to mention some key features or elements. Second, during the development process, your idea will evolve. When our team works on a new product we almost always improve the initial idea during 3D modeling or while building a prototype. That is because with digital and physical models engineers and designers can interact with the design optimizing it for better user experience, aesthetics, and performance.

I have an idea, but how can I bring it to its fullest potential?

Take advantage of our Discovery Stage (hyperlink), a process where we can find opportunities to make your product idea impactful and relevant to today’s problems. Read more about it here and here.

Can I do my own background research on my potential product?

Certainly! The first step is finding how saturated your potential market is with similar products. The more saturated, the harder it is to become a big player. The second step is finding those similar products, as well as patents, that already do what you want to do. You can use the competition to find ways to make your product more valuable than theirs. Review what people say and specifically what they complain about in regards to the existing products and then figure out how your product can eliminate those pains or do a better job for the users.

What comes first, creating a prototype or applying for a patent?

Inventors have done it both ways. However, there are more pros for building a prototype first, though. Prototyping is learning, meaning that you will test your assumptions and find out new things while building and testing prototypes. Oftentimes you need to change your original design to make your product better or cheaper. Prototyping allows quickly testing your designs and figuring out the ways to improve them. Sometimes you will be even able to come up with new features while working on a prototype, especially if you work with a team of creative thinkers and tinkers. These design modifications could be novel and non-obvious which could qualify your product design for another patent claim or maybe even a separate patent. Moreover, a patent only covers a design configuration that’s described in it. So, if after receiving a patent you will decide to change your product design, you might need to apply for another patent.

What innovative methods can I use to redesign my product?

First, it’s important to understand why a re-design is necessary. If you product is failing in the market, chances are it’s due to marketing issues, not product design. If a redesign is necessary due to some technical issues or to keep the design relevant to the changing customers’ needs you can start by thinking outside of the framework of your current design. Ask your team: “How can our customers achieve the same result, but using a different tool/method/approach?”. A few brainstorming sessions with your engineers, designers, and marketing people can yield creative new ideas. Also, review the current technology trends. It’s in fact important to stay up to date with the current technology trends. For that, you could subscribe to some blogs or a tech podcast. In some cases, you can incorporate the latest materials or technologies into your product improving its performance or adding new features. For CAD models you can try using an innovative design method called generative design. It’s powered by AI that provides you with a design that satisfies your requirements. Oftentimes the look of the new parts will be unique and more organic than that of the engineered parts.

 

 

These questions will be answered soon:

What innovative methods can I use to redesign my product?

What is new product development?

When is the best time to test a product design with users?

What is a behavioral approach to product design?

Is there a way to design a product and get another company to make and sell it for me without letting go of the patent?

How to reduce product development costs while going for product design?

Where can I find talented engineers to help me develop and prototype hardware, wireless, and Bluetooth products?

What is a minimum viable product?

How can you provide the best product description that can boost your market?

What is the best way to get customer feedback?

how to develop a product

how to bring a product to market

how to develop an invention

how to design a new product

How do I learn how to create modern physical product design?

How do you avoid building a product that nobody wants?

When is the best time to test a product design with users?

How does a physical product development process look like?

Which are the best companies for outsourcing software product development?

Prototyping

 

What materials can my prototype be made out of?

Prototyping is an iterative process. Essentially the prototypes are made for learning something through failure. So, in general, you want your prototype to be made in the least expensive manner (except if we are talking about a demo model). The very first prototypes could be made even out of paper. Functional prototypes are typically made out of wood, metals, or plastics. 3D printing is one of the rapid prototyping methods that can build 3D models out different polymers, such as PLA, ABS, TPU, nylon, resins, and plastic composites containing such infill materials as fiberglass, carbon fiber, and kevlar.

How are prototypes made?

There are many ways to build a prototype. Professional prototyping companies typically use rapid prototyping equipment such as various 3D printers, CNC milling machines, thermoforming equipment, and laser cutters. Once a 3D CAD model of a product is made it can be broken down into individual components. The 3D models or 2D drawings of the parts are loaded into software controlling the rapid prototyping equipment. The software prepares the models for the machines and controls the production. Computer-controlled machines are capable of producing dimensionally-accurate physical parts based on CAD data. Once all the parts are produced the prototyping specialists assemble and test everything. In most cases building a prototype requires utilization of a combination of CNC equipment, manual tools, and off-the-shelf components.

Can I expect final production quality from prototypes?

No. The prototypes are made using rapid prototyping equipment and materials. They are different from what will be used in manufacturing. The prototypes are made to fail. They are never as precise and durable as production parts. It’s a common mistake to assume a prototype is an exact representation of a production sample. Due to the limitations related to the prototyping process, equipment, and materials, prototypes will never perform or look as good as a production sample will. The job of the prototypes is to prove the product concept and functionality. A lot of valuable knowledge comes from building and testing the prototypes. Evaluating a larger number of prototypes in most cases results in a higher-quality product.

Patents

 

Can you get a patent for a technology that doesn’t exist yet?

One of the requirements for getting a patent is that your invention needs to be novel, i.e. not known to the public. So, your invention (device, technology) should be new. Moreover, you will need to prove its feasibility by describing what it consists of and how it will work and that needs to make sense to a person with expertise in the field your invention belongs to. So, obtaining a patent on something without knowing how it will look and function is most likely going to be challenging at least if at all possible. This answer is not a legal consultation, though. You should seek advice of a patent attorney. Please feel free to contact us for a referral to a good one.

I need to file a provisional patent before I put my product in stores but the patent attorney is costly I don’t have a complex product. What should I do?

You have several options. One is to proceed without a patent assuming all the risks, pros and cons. Another option is to find a patent attorney who would work on your case pro bono. Yet another option is to find an investor for your business. One more option is to prepare and file a patent yourself. There is a lot of literature on how to do that. You can also sign up for one of the courses on how to prepare and file a patent application. Here are a few examples: Udemy – Do-It-Yourself Patent Searching Using Free Web Resources, Class Central – Roadmap for patent creation, WIPO Patent Drafting Training Program.

What is the simplest and cheapest way to patent an idea?

It depends on what you are trying to patent. Your best option is to get a few free initial consultations from different patent attorneys to learn about your options and the recommended paths.

Has a patent application ever been denied because the patent idea was too silly?

Not silly, but they were denied because the ideas were known to the public, obvious to experts in the related fields, were not explained from the feasibility standpoint, and other reasons.

 

These questions will be answered soon:

Product Marketing and Sales

 

I have a product and want to sell it, what options do I have for production?

We call this step commercialization; the process of producing and selling your product. There are two the most common ways of approaching commercializing – licensing your product or starting your own business/company. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. Learn more here.

I want to license my product. What can you help me with?

We can help with designing your product, building a prototype, creating marketing materials such as a website, a sell sheet, and a promo video. Depending on our availability we can also support you at the presentation to the potential licensees.

I want to start a company to sell my product. What do I need?

A great product brand, a meticulous marketing strategy, and a product launch plan. This may require written and visual content, a website, and a social media marketing strategy.

What are my options for selling my product to consumers?

Every product company has at least two choices: e-Commerce and retail. Both require planning, setup, and organization of inventory, distribution, and order fulfillment.

Do you create logos and branding?

Yes, we can design a simple logo or create an entire brand that will shape your marketing and product design.

 

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!

Back To Top, LA NPDT
Skip to content