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Is G3 Misleading?

baldock52's Avatar

I was reading with particular interest a post (name purposely withheld) on one of the EN forums. What interested me was its similarity to my own experience. I completely understand that the majority of submissions will never pass professional scrutiny. Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. But I do believe that EN has a self-imposed image problem that needs addressing. Here is my reasoning:
EN is in an industry that is besieged with fraud. Moreover, every fee based submission automatically creates a buy/sell relationship. EN is offering a service for monetary consideration (no matter the cost) and each person who pays that fee is by definition a customer. Of course, it goes without saying that virtually every customer believes they have the winning formula.
Now let’s examine the prior mentioned post and my experience. We both sent EN submissions that we considered unique improvements compared to the status quo. That was my impression of the other post and the same certainly was true for me. My submission reached stage 6 before getting the axe. That’s 1 (submission), 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. It would seem that EN had a lot of work invested by that time!
But my understanding of the explanation to the referenced post essentially stated that even at stage 6 a mere comparable product can be your undoing. I had always thought that inventors were the driving force behind building a better mouse trap. I had always thought that successful inventors focused on distinction, utility and appeal. But it looks as if mere parity, even at stage 6, can rear its ugly head and be your demise. It seems such a waste; not combining stage 6 (final IP review) with stage 3 (initial IP review). After all, the commonality of stages 3 and 6 is misleading and likely compels overlapping work in a considerable number of submissions. The current stage 7 (the level of protection the sponsor requires) could become the new stage 6, etc.
My submission was an attachment for existing units – or complete, self-contained units if a manufacturer so desired. I listed the approximate retail values as $15 – $30 and $200 respectively. Two comparable products noted by EN as “existing IP” appeared to be in the $1000 plus range; one from Asia and the other from France. Neither have I ever seen sold or advertised anywhere. Neither design accurately reflects my submission IMO. In fact, here’s the exact copy and paste from my EN review and rejection email citing the comp from France:
Slightly different design, but this is pretty sweet.
Does that sound like patent infringement? A likewise “pretty sweet” product attachment for $15 – $30 would enjoy tremendous success compared to a design costing at least $1000, assuming similar results. Still, you have to assume similar results if the idea passed stage 4 (research and design). This outcome can only lead to an unsatisfied customer, hence an EN image problem.
Also, consider what might have been. EN’s retail partner sponsored the search and has no exposure to finalist submissions until stage 8. Notwithstanding an obvious failing, a single unfounded decision could make a huge difference in the success or failure of a search campaign for the partner too. With an earlier, more reliable IP review a partner might see significant advantages to examining submissions that have cleared a new stage 6. After all, they’re truly the ones in a position to know exactly what they are looking for.
For those who want to jump in and “set me straight” please consider; this post is not an indictment of how well EN works or doesn’t work. This post is a constructive criticism of one person’s perception of EN’s review process as communicated to their customers (us). In my business career I’ve always heard that one customer who takes the time to voice an opinion speaks for two hundred others who don’t.

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magurn's Avatar

Hi Leroy,

We thank you for your open, honest feedback. Wanted to provide hopefully a bit more insight as to why we perform a full IP review at Stage 6 versus Stage 4.

The goal of each stage of our evaluation process is to ensure that the “best of the best” ideas rise to the top to be presented to the search sponsor or licensing partner. Work done in each stage is done so to ensure time and effort of the review team is being managed efficiently and effectively.

Whether or not we can close a licensing deal with a company depends on the level of IP protection available. Search sponsors and potential licensing partners want to know that they are getting a new and innovative product, and that they’re the only player in the game. Companies are less likely to pursue a product that has a lot of competition, so we attempt to find that competition ahead of time to ensure we are only delivering to sponsors those submissions that have a real chance at commercialization.

In Stage 4, the Review Team is taking a deeper dive to determine if your idea is better than competing products that already exist in the market. We’re looking to answer the following questions:

• Does this product idea offer an easier, more efficient solution than what already exists?
• Will this product idea be able to compete with products already in the market?

Answers to these questions need to be answered before a thorough, deep dive is done to determine patentability.

In Stage 6, we’re comparing your images, descriptions and other available information to existing patents and applications to assess your idea’s patentability. This work is larger than a basic online search. Our legal team dives in and reviews the language within patents of potential competing products, determine what We use Google Patents, Free Patents Online, and other sites that present published applications and issued patents to the public. We will compare your images, descriptions, and all other available information in your submission to the specifications, claims, drawings, etc. listed in published patents and applications, and we use this information to make a determination as to whether your idea meets patent requirements.

Hope this helps to provide some additional information as to the order of the work done in our evaluation process. As always, our goal is to give each idea submitted to us the best chance at success.

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jdowney9000's Avatargold

My understanding is that stage 6 IP review costs EN more than stage 3 IP review.

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magurn's Avatar

Hi Jacob,

To clarify, the later stages of the evaluation process take more time and manpower than the earlier stages.

Thank you!

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jdowney9000's Avatargold

Right! sorry… “cost” lost to my vernacular use. I probably should have typed; cost=time, money, etc..

But I suppose that’s one of the reasons you’re here Michele. =]

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jdowney9000's Avatargold

Frank, I love ya for commenting, but I don’t quite understand what you are trying to communicate. Please clarify.

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rockwayheath63's Avatar

Stage 6 seems to boil down to how broad the patent can potentially reach

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jdowney9000's Avatargold

Frank, I think I understand your post now. I like to read your comments because you always inspire me to think.

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chipnjaa's Avatar

Jacob – Frank is saying that there is a percentage of people who (through misunderstanding, inexperience, or laziness) submit product ideas to EN without even attempting to do a simple on-line search to see if there might be a conflict with prior art that would eliminate the possibility of ever obtaining a patent. Stage 3 is the point where EN spends a modicum of effort researching existing products and patents to “filter” out those who submitted without even attempting to conduct a search on their own part. Stage 6 is a much more in-depth investigation that requires more attention which ultimately means more time and money invested by EN. Product ideas move through these various stages for a reason… at almost every level EN has to make a conscious decision about whether or not the submission is worth pursuing further. It wouldn’t be efficient or financially responsible to conduct an in-depth patent search (at stage 3) on an idea that may not pass a comparison test against other similar products already on the market (which takes place at stage 4 or 5… I can’t remember). Anyway, a similar analogy would be the recent thread in the forums about the person who was so excited to submit a product idea that he put the “cart before the horse”. In other words, he did a huge amount of work without first doing research on his idea. After doing all the work, he found that it was all pointless since the product already existed. He would have saved all that time had he just been willing to look before he leapt. EN’s stage 3 is there to act a preliminary filter for those who don’t do what most of us do before spending $20 on an idea submission… a preliminary and shallow search at the very least. That is my interpretation of what Frank is trying to express.

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jdowney9000's Avatargold

Chip Njaa, that’s what I was saying, ’ceffer you did a MUCH better job of wording it than my one-liner at the bottom. Tell this to Leroy Baldock.

I hope I don’t mislead by showing how I reduced the stage descriptions to help myself understand:

Stage 3: ‘find other products’-‘similar to your’s

Stage 6: ‘analysis of competition’ (whether similar or not), and ‘determine if yours meets patent requirements’

Again, just my interpretation and not to be taken legally.

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dxflyer's Avatar

I like to build my idea dispite what my initial search turns up. To have the idea more visualized can lead to new concepts or even better mechanics, which can lead to new ideas… kind of an “Recycle, Reuse” process.

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rockwayheath63's Avatar

Exactly right, JC

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chipnjaa's Avatar

I remember when I started my preliminary work on one of the recent searches. Had I jumped into the research process first, I would have found that my ORIGINAL idea already existed and I may have given up from the start. But I instead began with design work on that original idea which evolved into some other concepts that were, in my opinion, way better than what I started out to do. I wouldn’t have gotten to that point had I known my original idea was already on the market because I would have tossed in the towel at the start. So there is certainly something to be said for jumping in feet first to see where it takes you. Good point Jonathan!

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colleennoonan's Avatar

Great job laying that all out Frank!! You’re the MAN!!!

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dgitzler's Avatar

Frank – How many ideas do you scrap during your research phase?

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dgitzler's Avatar

Frank – You should change your avatar to Yoda…. I like your insight and Process. I will try to adapt my thinking to incorporate it.

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chicagoinventor's Avatarg8_badge

Ha, ha, Thom.

I like your comment, all the experienced members can relate to it. “Stage 4 is the wall, and stage 6 the trench!”

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