I want to impart some very important advice. Your work is never done. Many inventors consider themselves “done” after they’ve filed for and received a patent. It’s not. You need to look to the future. And looking to the future means constantly anticipating new developments, improvements, and changes.
Your product will live and die due to its manufacturing. At the end of the day, if your product cannot be produced, then it will cease to exist – at least temporarily. If a product cannot be manufactured in a cost-effective manner, it will never sit on a market shelf. And this is why it is crucial that inventors understand the manufacturing techniques behind their products. You need to know exactly how your product is being made, as the stages progress. Knowledge is power.
Technology improves, and manufacturing techniques are altered. When you sign a contract with a company you are licensing with, make sure to put in a clause about any improvements made on the manufacturing of the product. Insure that you have ownership of any and all of these potential improvements. If an idea really has merit, if it’s big, then the likelihood that developments will be pursued (with or without your knowledge), is high.
Work with your current licensee to file new patents as you pursue new less costly manufacturing techniques. Even if your idea is sound and selling, cost reduction is critical. File method of manufacturing patents. A single patent on your original idea will not provide you will enough protection from competitors, in the long run. File patents on manufacturing avenues you don’t even plan to pursue, so as to prevent your competition from doing so. Build a temple of strength from your intellectual property, rather than a single wall. All patents on anticipated manufacturing techniques will be unbelievably helpful to you.
I haven’t discussed this type of protection before. It’s not the type you pursue at the very beginning of embarking upon bringing your product to market. But as I’m realizing now, having a patent portfolio on an idea is necessary for the future. Consider this: you’ve invented a fabulous new technology, and patented it. You feel great – you’re safe. Until years later, a new way to make your idea work has been created. And you may lose all the profit that idea will gain if you can’t defend it on these new manufacturing grounds.
It’s a constant fight. Prepare yourself for it. Always think: what else?