T2 Design News

Will It Fly? What does a product development company look for in an invention?

t is uniquely patentable.
It can be manufactured with technology already in existence.
Research and development costs are not extravagant.
There is a demand for it.
The retail price ensures profit at each distribution level.
Tooling costs are within reason.
It isn’t too complex, so consumers can use it easily.
There aren’t too many obstacles to market entry.
Assembly Required
As the saying goes, seeing is believing. That’s why its so important to build a working model of your invention-in industryspeak, a prototype.

Potential investors will want to see a prototype before any money changes hands. But there is another, equally significant, reason for developing a prototype: You have to make sure your product not only looks the way you envisioned, but works the way you want it to. Many inventors are shocked to discover that what works on paper doesn’t always work in practice.

If your invention isn’t too technical, you may opt to build your own prototype. Rest assured, you wouldn’t be the first inventor (or the last, for that matter) to do this. Otherwise, you can take your idea to a product development company such as Santa Monica, California-based T2 Design Corp.

What’s the benefit of going to a product development company? “There are all kinds of traps to avoid in the inventing process,” says T2 Design’s president, Paul Berman. “We basically try to look out for inventors’ interests.”

T2 Design charges development fees ranging from $1,000 to more than $14,000*, depending on the project and whether the company receives royalties. Berman says it usually takes less than three months to produce a prototype; eight weeks is a “reasonable” average.

Inventors who approach T2 Design first go through a one-hour consultation. “We can shed a little light on what we think the odds of success for the product are,” says Berman, who estimates at least half the ideas brought to T2 Design are rejected at this stage.

Following the consultation, a patent search is conducted for clients with marketable ideas. Market research and the building of an engineering model typically precede the prototype as well.

T2 Design can assist inventors after the prototype stage, too. “Conceivably,” says Berman, “we can take [a product] all the way through a license deal.”

How do you find a product development company? Ask for recommendations from friends, family members and personal contacts. ask local inventors’ organizations for guidance. If all else fails, you can always look in the Yellow Pages.

To prototype or not to prototype…that is not the question. The question is whether to do it yourself or hire a product development company. Success by either route will smell as sweet.