There are many inventors in this world but unfortunately many of their inventions never see the light of day. Why is this? There must be some factors that determine if the inventor will create a successful company from the product idea or if the inventor will fail.
Leardon Solutions worked with Randy Hupp from EcoLeeser from the early days of his invention of a product that helps increase the chances of survival for released rockfish suffering from barotrauma. This invention named the RokLees is pictured below.
Throughout the process of working with Randy, there were three success factors that contributed to the success of Randy’s invention and hence his company EcoLeeser.
(1) Proper prototyping and product testing: Even the best product ideas can fail if they are introduced to the market prematurely without the proper engineering and testing. Some inventors believe that the best way to develop their product is to go onto one of the outsourcing websites and hire an overseas company that makes similar products. Many times this leads to failure since product prototyping and qualification do not occur. Skipping the prototyping phases will definitely limit the ability to succeed.
Randy understood that in order to be successful, he had to provide a quality product that simply did what it was meant to do and did it well. In order to achieve this quality, multiple rounds of prototypes were necessary. He knew that he had to build prototypes and test them in the hands of actual customers. First, Randy built a Proof-of-Concept Prototype that proved his idea actually functioned properly. While this prototype wasn’t pretty or refined, it proved that his idea was feasible. Next Randy worked with Leardon Solutions to develop a Form/Fit/Function Prototype that not only functioned properly but also met his cosmetic and aesthetic goals. Randy was able to test this product in actual fishing conditions and fine-tuned the design to meet his needs. As Randy started production, he had a design that he knew would function properly across all operating conditions.
(2) Develop a trusted network of suppliers and professionals: Many inventors are worried that their product idea will be stolen if they discuss the invention with potential suppliers and professional service companies. As such, the worried inventor will try to do everything themselves, ranging from the engineering, prototyping, intellectual property, business planning, marketing, and website development. Fortunately for the inventor, most service companies are more interested in helping the inventors than in stealing their idea. The sooner the inventor realizes that there are trusted companies that can help them, the sooner they will be successful.
Randy new his limitations and began to develop a trusted network of suppliers that could help get his product developed and his company formed. Since Randy was new to the world of product development, he hired Leardon Solutions to perform the prototyping, product qualification, and manufacturing. Randy also understood that he had no knowledge in the areas of intellectual property and therefore hired Intercontinental IP to develop his intellectual property filings. These two professional services companies were only a small part of the trusted network that was developed throughout the process of creating the RokLees and EcoLeeser.
(3) Proper use of intellectual property: If an inventor is actually going to move forward and create a company around their product invention, it is important to protect their intellectual property. Many inventors feel that filing provisional patents, utility patents, design patents, or trademarks are a waste of money. When the intellectual property isn’t filed, what happens after the company invests time and money to develop a market for their product only to find that another company is selling a very similar product? All that effort developing the market has gone to waste and this other company can easily leverage the market development work already done. Intellectual property is a critical way to prevent this situation.
Randy filed a provisional patent application which provided patent pending protection for one year and two trademark applications, both of which have been approved by United States Patent and Trademark Office and are in the “publication” phase. As the expiration date for the provisional patent approaches, Randy will need to decide if it is important to file a utility patent in order to extend his invention protection. This will depend on the success of the RokLees product in the marketplace.
In summary, inventors with good product ideas should implement these three simple success factors into their operations to improve their changes of success.