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My invention story in progress...

sexxxybeast's Avatar

lol getting new emails and screen names is like stealing candy from a baby!

About a year and a half ago I had an idea for a product for my industry, I cannot reveal the actual product just yet so lets just call it a fictional combination water bottle for now. About a year ago disaster struck my business, one of my employees destroyed a very expensive truck I had. He was drunk and wasnt paying attention to the road when he rolled the truck on a clear afternoon on a deserted flat country road. This had the effect of eventually destroying my business. Which is just now about to file for bankruptcy. With all the businesses closing down last year and this year our business could have been doing just fine if we hadnt had such an awful employee. On top of that we later found out he was stealing 10’s of thousands of dollars of equipment and time from us. And on top of that he decides to sue us claiming we caused permanent injuries to him. Thankfully we gathered enough evidence to put him in jail but to fight any legal battle is very expensive, stressful, and time consuming. After its all said and done we may also be in some legal trouble for the rest of our American lives. Thankfully I was born with parents from different countries, both of whom I now have citizenship. So when life becomes too much to bear here I will simply move. Though I thought I had a great idea 1 1/2 years ago I didnt bother to do anything about it because I was already making some money with my current business. Now since my business is going down like the BP oil rig I decide its a good idea to jump ship and make money another way.

I always had a dreams of traveling and being financially stable, I didnt want to live a stressful life living from paycheck to paycheck. And I always thought that I’d find a way to make my business succeed enough to get me there. Now I realize that this was simply not going to happen even if that catastrophe didnt occur. I was always going to be doing the horrible job I was in that I hated and was very stressful. I had always had a gift for inventing and engineering, I would always think up ideas for things since a child but I never thought of that as the path of success. I knew this because my father also had the “gift” for invention and never made a dime off it. But unlike my father I have common sense inherited from my mother so I thought of why he went wrong and how I can be successful. My fathers problem is that he never focused on any one thing, also he always wanted to invent things that would change the world so he wouldnt pursue any invention that could easily reach a mass market or solve a common problem. He hated bureaucracy and didnt bother to patent nor did he submit his idea to companies to make.

To fix the mistakes he made I decided that the idea I had would be a great marketable idea. What I consider a great marketable invention is:

Something that saves money or is inexpensive for what it does
Is simple to make
Has a large market.

This is what I believe some of my best inventions have going for it. My “combination water bottle” saves the user from having to buy an additional product to have an additional function.
Its also very simple to make
and it has a large consumer base that buy the combination of products in large numbers.

So I decide to download google sketchup and create a few renderings of the device. After days of learning I came up with a simple, attractive, and cheap to manufacture design.

Next step in the process was to write a PPA. This took weeks to do since I was unsure how to write such a document. It is very difficult to make a complete and accurate description and think up all the variations to the design. After comming up with the papers I decide to mail it to myself with registered mail. I asked the post office to seal the envelope with their tape and mail it out. After that I used the online form to submit pdf’s of my invention to the USPTO. They require PDF’s so I just use a print to pdf converter and submitted it. Simple enough if you have over a decade of computer experience like I do. After having enough security that I invented the concept first I decide to submit it to manufactures I worked with when I had my business. Though I had purchased 100k worth of products from most of these companies I was surprised at how hard it was to get any notice from them. One company simply ignored me, the other
s CEO after initially showing interest told me to F*** off after I told her that I didnt want to use her NDA (it was totally one sided). The one that did eventually see it had to have their arm twisted. I contacted their sales rep that I dealt with and told him that I had an idea I wanted them to see. Basically they knew if they didnt do anything about it id prefer not to be their customer. They signed my NDA and I described my design to them listing the advantages over their design and the benefits to us suppliers and to the consumer. after about a day I heard back, they wanted me to submit some drawings so they could discuss it with their engineers next week.

I also created a design for different and much larger industry that would work too and asked all the big players if they’d be interested in my design. Only ever heard back from 1 company. They signed my NDA I signed theirs and sent them two designs, first one was for my industry, and the second would work in theirs. After a day they emailed me back rejecting the design for my industry for very valid reasons. I decided to go back into google sketchup and address their complaints. They didnt reject the second design and have since emailed back complementing the design and asking additional questions. They wanted to know dimensions and how to solve a disadvantage that my design may have had. I solved what I felt was a minor disadvantage of my product over the weekend with numerous cheap and expensive ways to get around my products minor problem.

And thats where Ive gotten to so far with this idea. I am currently waiting for the good/bad news from these companies. I do suspect that the second company is interested in the idea, they asked the questions about the product because they may have had some issues with the size and with the disadvantage it had. I am under the impression that because I solved these issues I may be able to work out a deal with this company!!!

The first company that is in my industry hasnt emailed back, this idea is even better for them then it is for the second company so I believe they’d be crazy not to go for it. I talked with two competitors, one I know well, the other I didnt know anything about. BOTH competitors loved the idea and want to buy them as soon as they come out! So if the manufacturer doesnt pick it up I may have to do it myself, the money is too good!

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mowpar's Avatar

Even if its the best thing they have ever seen in there life and would have benefits to no end, it amazeses me that you still have to force it down there throats, this happens a lot, I have had similar, that I just gave up on.

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s3xxxy_beast's Avatar

Exactly, its like im the scum of the earth for trying to get them to make a product that could make them more money, its like they are content at making the same ol stuff that everyone else makes. Geez!

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sleepyhead's Avatar

It would be easier if you had a track record of either sales or orders. The company would probably have to have molds made, buy the plastic or whatever it is made of, and all the other components, go into manufacturing and maybe buy a new machine to make just that product. Maybe they are looking at a $100,000 or more investment on an unproven track record. Would YOU do it? Artwork / graphics, UPC code, regulations clearly adhered to (plastic, lead, latex?) and marketing are not included in that up-front cost – and there is marketing and packaging and warehousing and distribution and bookkeeping, etc. The companies you are approaching may LOOK very successful but you don’t know the inner-workings and their cash-flow situation – maybe they aren’t as BIG or as successful as they appear. And how long before they see a profit? What if they have to pay you a ‘finders fee’ or whatever it is called and then it fails? Just a few thoughts about why a company might not pick up an idea.

As mentioned in another forum, the Sleepy Head Pillowcase got picked up by a catalog. Sounds great when you first read or hear that, right? Well, in order for me to ‘qualify’, I have to have them listed as an additional insured on a million dollar policy which costs $1000. They only want 6 each of two different patterns which meant that I had to order 50 yards of each fabric at $4/yard, plus freight, or a total of $630.88. Each unit takes almost 2 yards and I quoted them $11.25 each wholesale a while ago – before the cost of fleece and freight went up. So out of 50 yards, I will have excess yardage of about 38 yards and if the product doesn’t do well in that catalog, I will be stuck with the yardage unless another opportunity comes along. Its all a wild ride but if this exposure (in the catalog) gives me a track record, it can only help with any future negotiations for licensing or other catalogs.

Hope some of this helps – its called ‘business’ and it doesn’t matter if I am scum of the earth or not – they don’t care as long as they get what their regulations require.

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s3xxxy_beast's Avatar

I do realize the cost of doing business, and my industry is hurting big time, thats what gives me the doubts that I have because these guys arnt selling like they used to and the company im working with recently had a failed launch of a new product. They had an outside engineering firm come up with the design and they didn’t know too much about the industry so they made a very bad product. Though I believe that my product could be a benefit to them they simply may not have the money to invest into it. Its not only the machining, but the patents, and marketing too I would hope they’d do the whole thing.

Now I could get some sales orders but i believe i’d have to show the design to the customers to get those orders. Should I do that?

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pegman's Avatar

Guys,

There are a few of us that have, I don’t know what to call it, something… to go all into this. For me, it was like I wanted to try for a very long time, then one night when it seemed like I had to make a decision. The decision was to go into business, nothing about being an inventor. Anyone and everyone can be an inventor, heck I put that on my tax return one year, nobody argued with me.

The decision to go into business, shoot if I had known exactly all the challenges would I have still done it… Yep! Of course had I known then what would happen, I still would not have known how it feels emotionally to face those challenges. That in itself, seperates the “men from the boys”, I’m not saying that to give up means you failed, it takes a great deal of courage to get back up after you get your tail knocked off over and over and over.

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mowpar's Avatar

I wonder who wrote this speech for Theodore?

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pegman's Avatar

Beast, one other thing. It sounds like you might be over extending yourself if you go into business for yourself, at least financially. This is one large undertaking, even for the simplest of products. Believe me, I got simple stuff and I still complicated it when I went into business.

There is a ton of things that you have to do. Especially the marketing! If you can presale, get 50% to lighten the financial pressure. Depending on the circumstances, you might not make a penny off a small production run. I keep forgetting that you’ve already tried your hand at business. I’m sure you realize many of the challenges you’ll face. Get moral support, you’ll probably be glad you have it.

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s3xxxy_beast's Avatar

Oh no you miss understand, I didnt go into making this invention, I am in an industry that uses this stuff. I am a supplier!

I just let my business run into the ground because I was getting sued and didnt want to pay for a trial and possibly pay a crook.

My business is/was staying afloat but it was always just going to do just that, its the type of business where I cannot take vacations, have to deal with stupid customers who have a bone to pick with me or simply dont pay up, etc etc. Now the state of CA is cracking down on diesels so now my fleet would need to be completely changed over and I dont know how the heck im supposed to pay for all that BS.

If you read carefully I am only describing half of a story… The manufacturer is considering my idea. They have yet to reject it but I am like “are they going to go for it or not” ya know? I am on the knifes edge! The company that is considering this product supplies premium products. Though my product was originally designed to save money in my opinion my idea is right for them because they like a clean simple look and what is simpler then combining two things into one! Its now been 2 full days since I last spoke with them, since they last told me that they liked my space saving idea and wanted to know more about it. I am under the impression that they would tell me if they didnt like it because they already told me that one of my ideas wouldnt fit their product line, which is true!

So i guess im saying doubts are plaguing my brain!

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sexxxybeast's Avatar

The story continues…

Well Ive been rejected by the only company in my industry that even wanted to look at it. They said that there isnt enough suppliers like me using the product to warrant creating a whole new mold for the product. Apparently this product is really only used widely in California. I really dont even need to worry about international patents because it isnt used significantly throughout the world.

I have not heard back from the manufacturer of another industry that seemed to like the idea. I have since created a prototype which worked out surprisingly well, I took some photos and sent it to that company for even further review. I dont want to harass them because I dont want to look desperate for their feedback. I have 2-3 more ideas to fall back on if this one fails. All i know is this, if your a consumer who uses both of these products, this product is for you, if you dont use both then there is no point to it.

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sexxxybeast's Avatar

Still no word from the company who wanted to see the design, should I give up on them?

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sexxxybeast's Avatar

Roger,

This is a different idea, ive submitted the idea a month ago. The other idea is just a baby compared to this one. I was joking about the 2 days part I didnt really expect them to reply so fast, I actually dont expect them to reply at all because they clearly state they want drawings, description of the actual product. I just gave them the a general non descriptive description of what my product solves.

…continuing the story, so I am going to get a contract from a 3rd company now for my bathroom product, they state that the product has to be patented or patent pending. They will not take a product in confidence, they may share the design with their manufacturer or designers. This concerns me because I have not made a public disclosure of the product, when I tell these people what the idea is then I have for certain 1 year to file. I also loose any international rights to the product. But since my product isnt used wide spread throughout the world this isnt too big of a deal to me on that issue. I am still going to give the first company some time, the person ive been emailing was on vacation until a day ago. Perhaps he is busy? I have never talked to this person on the phone but I feel I should call him and ask if they have rejected the idea. Do you guys think thats a good idea?

On my second invention in cellphone accessories, Ive hit a brick wall. I have contacted virtually every cellphone accessories manufacture that made one or more items that my device would replace. Only 2 ever replied back with a question or 2, Both of them got positive answers to their concerns and havent replied since. There are 2 large cellphone accessories companies with open invention submissions, I have sent them both my idea.

I have a 3rd idea involving luggage but that one to me isnt as easy to market because it would cost more then normal luggage, the two ideas above save money so its a no brainier to consumers. I may simply submit that idea to Enventy’s instead, see if they feel its worth the extra cost.

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sexxxybeast's Avatar

Roger,

Sorry I do seem confusing, im not a great story teller.

1st, The contract they are sending me is to acknoledge that any submisssion I send them isnt in confidence. I say contract because they require that i sign it.

2nd, The 2 large companies state they dont accept any submission in confidence, meaning its a public disclosure. I wrote the ppa’s myself and though I am certain I cant think of anything else to write in it, thats not to say I wrote it completely correctly or that a professional industrial designer couldnt work a way around it. Thats why I tried smaller companies in hopes they would do the NDA like you recommend. We would have the option to use my PPA or simply write a new professionally done patent for the product.

3rd, Though I didnt completely meet their guide lines by not disclosing the actual product I am hoping that they will see the immense world wide potential of this accessory. I did describe it and the benefits to their company. If they dont accept it I simply will submit it again with full disclosure (that is if I get desperate enough). The second reason not to disclose the idea to them is that as soon as I disclose the product to them I will not be able to get an international patent.

I do not submit my idea to most companies only the 2 that replied had a general description of what I am talking about. I simply ask

“Hello,

My name is ________ and I have a product idea that I feel would work well with your existing product line, does your company accept 3rd party product ideas?

Sincerely,
"

I simply ask what their policy is, I emailed 40 companies with that question only got 2 replies.

None of whom replied in a professional manor, one even replied with “whacha got?”

Before that I tried calling them, I was unable to even talk to an actual person just directory and answering machines, accept for Scorche. I asked the sales person if they accept 3rd party product ideas and they transferred me around the office until I simply gave up. They didnt even tell me they were transferring me or the name of the person who I was being transferred to! I dont believe the problem is that im screwing up my relationship with these companies I am having trouble simply contacting anyone there. I DO agree with you Roger that I may have messed up the first contact I made in regards to the bathroom product, its a learning experience to me. Its weird because I am a business owner and I personally dont mind if someone calls me up with a new product as long as they understand how I as a business owner works. I did get a call from an inventor who had a solar powered light for my products, i thought it was a good idea but he wanted $80 each. If it was $10 id buy a few but do you know how many flash lights you can buy for $80? He didnt realize that it isnt a benefit to me to pay that much for that light.

I believe cellphone accessory companies must be bombarded with so many product ideas they simply gave up long ago. Thats why I even have 40 companies to email because when they get rejected they simply start their own!!! Also if they reply to my request they may get spam mail.

As per my research this is a huge market to get into, almost everyone has a cell phone, even apps for cell phones can generate serious income. The Iphone 4 sold 1.6 million copies in 4 days! Google is activating 100,000 new android accounts daily, if my dreams came true and I was able to capture just 1% of that share, and my estimated $0.25 royalty per item sold equates to 1000×0.25= $250 daily assuming that I were only to allow sales my accessory to all new android phones (not existing ones), thats $7500 a month. I know that doesnt seem like much but thats alot more then most people make in a month thats a low end scenario.

About the luggage idea, there is already 4 companies that sell a product that does one of my features. 1 of those 4 companies made $5 million in 2007. Their idea is vastly inferior to mine but they have great marketing. They sell their piece of luggage for $200 for the carry on version. They proved they could sell it for that price and get away with it, my idea only adds an estimated $20 to the cost of a carry on luggage. I just wonder if the general audience would feel this product is useful considering that most people dont use their luggage that often.

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sexxxybeast's Avatar

So Roger asked me to tell you what progress has happened so far…

To put it as simply as possible my pitch needs to be more to the point and without any negative points in the “sell sheet” It should be a couple paragraphs long and you should always mention with certainty, for example, replace may, can, should, with will, does, must. Never mention any legal mumbo jumbo or legal documents like NDA’s in the sell sheet, that puts people off.

Thanks Roger.

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imajane's Avatarname search

Thanks, Beast! I may have to tweak some wording on a few submissions now…

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