How to get you invention to marketAs product designers we are reliant on innovation and new ideas. Many are bound to say we are simply biased in this direction, but to us innovation is a critical factor to business success, which cannot and must not be ignored.

In any industry, you simply cannot sit by and watch your ‘successful’ product (or business!) become obsolete, as the innovators in business are the ones that continually strive to reach new heights.

Some of the world’s top businesses prioritises new ventures, new developments in their products, and innovation in their business as the pivotal key to their success. Driving forward with product plans, launches and remaining at the forefront of technology and ingenuity means your customers will remain excited and focussed on you. Also, cmpetitors will always feel one step behind – always in your shadow!

It is important to develop the idea, looking at materials, manufacturing methods, functionality and aesthetic form prior to applying for protection. The process will help to resolve principle technical issues and is a core part of the development of the project. As such, the design work will help the product to gain credibility and inspire confidence in investors, licensees, or manufacturers.

Turning your idea and innovations into reality is easier than you think.

First of all it is important to patent the idea.

It is important to develop the idea, looking at materials, manufacturing methods, functionality, and aesthetic form prior to applying for protection. The process will help to resolve principle technical issues and is a core part of the development of the project. As such, the design work will help the product to gain credibility and inspire confidence in investors, licensees, or manufacturers.

Prototyping involves realising the design in a physical form and this allows the designs to be further refined. It is often essential to prove that the product works, which can be done through prototyping. The prototype demonstrates and provides evidence of the product’s performance whilst also allowing for a more visual, presentable method.

A patent protects the idea behind a product: such as HOW it works, WHAT it does and WHY it has certain features. Patents can be extremely valuable assets. In order to be deemed worth the protection of a granted patent an invention must be:

  • novel
  • inventive
  • a new idea
  • an improvement upon an existing idea
  • a new combination of existing ideas

Patent applications can take up to 4½ years to be granted. However, as soon as you have filed your patent application, you have a date you can use to show you had idea first (see ‘Patent Pending’ below!).

Granted Patents give protection against others for up to 20 years from filing the application, provided you maintain the renewal fees which keep the granted patent in force (in the U.K. paid annually from 4 years). Granted Patents stop others using your idea in the country where your patent is granted and in force. There is no such thing as a worldwide patent but there are ways of making a single application (such as the PCT application) that can be used in multiple countries.

Registered Designs

A registered design protects the external shape and design of a product and this can be extended to include: lines, contours, colours, shape, texture, materials, and the ornamentation. Registered designs can also be applied for to protect patterns. Registered designs in Europe cover 28 countries and need to have ‘novelty’ and ‘individual character.’ The application is not examined and is generally considered as of lower value than a patent.

Prototyping

Prototyping involves realizing the design in a physical form and this allows the designs to be further refined. It is often essential to prove that the product works, which can be done through prototyping. The prototype demonstrates and provides evidence of the product’s performance whilst also allowing for a more visual, presentable method.