Developing a useful new product is one of the toughest undertakings you can begin. Along the way you’re going to run into naysayers and different problems that pop up out of nowhere. But perseverance usually pays off, and if you keep working you may find that you’ve come through the process with a product that is ready to manufacture. But you may also find that the problems along the way involve legal issues that you wish you had considered. There’s nothing worse than developing a great new idea, and then spending time and money in a legal battle before you can do anything with it. Although we’re not lawyers and can’t give legal advice (for that, be sure to consult an attorney), here are a few legal issues to consider during product development.
Licensing your product basically gives someone else the right to produce and sell your product for a given period of time. So when you’re developing your product, you should already be thinking about whether or not you want to license it. The positive is that the business generally takes on the risk associated with producing your product, and they also usually know what they’re doing and can achieve results. The downside is that you’re ceding control of your product to another entity, and you’re losing control over your intellectual property.
By now you’ve surely heard of at least a couple of auto manufacturers recalling certain makes and models due to defects. There are manufacturing defects, which you aren’t in control of, and design defects, which you most definitely are. You absolutely don’t want to end up with a product that has a dangerous design defect that may not initially be recognized. That’s why it can be so beneficial to sit down with experts and find out if there are any design flaws or defects in your product, before you attempt to manufacture.
Patents are the best way to ensure that your invention is legally protected, should someone try to copy your idea or challenge your ownership of it, but they aren’t always worth it. A patent attorney can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $16,000 depending on the complexity of your product. However, you can file a patent for your product yourself, but it’s a risky proposition if you don’t have any experience doing it. Consider filing for a provisional application. A provisional application protects your invention for up to 12 months while you finish working on it, and it’s easier for a non-professional to file. That should give you time to decide if you really need a patent for your invention or not.
At Pivot, we love helping people take their ideas from concept to reality. Check out our services, which include product design, product manufacturing, and business development, among others. If you think we can help you, contact us!