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June 26, 2023
John Rizvi, Esq.

Taking Your Product to Market: Options for Commerializing Inventions | Warren Tuttle

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Okay, now is there there's a lot of pathways open to an inventor to try to commercialize an idea. Would you like to speak about some of the options that they have?

Sure, sure. So, you know, your inventing process starts—it commences the same way. You know, you get an idea, you know, I think it's very, I think it's critically important to build a prototype, a functioning prototype, whether you do that yourself in the garage or the basement, and you have the ability to do it, some people do, or you have to work with others. There's a lot of great inventor, local Inventor clubs around the country that have a lot of prototypes and people, but it's got to function. And that's one of the shortcuts that some of these people preach is just throw ideas against the wall. Your odds of success are even far reduced by that. And I can tell you on the other side of accepting submissions, that's the case. So building a prototype is an essential first step. And then as you build your prototype, you start to see the roadmap to what's important from patent, and particularly utility patents for me, in my arena, but obviously, this is your your arena, you know far more than I do, but I know a fair amount about it, and, and filing provisional patents and having your utility functions go hand in hand with some sort of level of protection. Now we can debate the value of patents and how they are there to enforce them. That could be another show for another day. But I can tell you that when you submit products to the companies that I work with, the lifetime brands and tectonics industries, we want to know about your patent portfolio, where, what have you done, how far are you. We don't necessarily need an issued patent. But we need to know that you've done it the right way, or at least file provisionally have the willingness to convert that to a non provisional that the product functions and works. So that's all the same. Now, that's where the road splits after that. And, uh, I do go into this, you know, pretty pretty substantially in the book—you have your choice of, do I want to go to market myself, like we did with Mysto, made them here in Connecticut, set up our own sales force, manufacture the goods ourselves, ship them in, if they're still overseas, you know, landbridge them across the country, fulfillment centers, selling through retailers, blah, blah, blah, collections, money, cash flow. So I have a chapter in my book called “the 30 steps of going to market directly” where I detail all this, and you can see what's involved. And if you want to go that route, be prepared. Now I know that there are some people that have made lots of money like Lord Dyson, you know, in England, he hit a vacuum cleaner, and now he's a Lord, and he's a billionaire. But Lord Dyson is one in a million, okay? And the odds of going to market on your own are difficult. And you’ve got to be very careful. The other alternative, stark alternative, is to license through others. So those are bigger entities, companies, preferably larger companies that have brands, shelf space; they already have outreach, consumer outreach. And if they like your product, a progressive company can license it. The question is, what do they license? Well, they don't license ideas, okay? Nobody, okay, nobody cares about ideas, okay? You can slap them against the wall. But if you find a company that wants an idea, they're not paying too much for it. And at the end of the day, it only opens them up to if it's successful to have other people come in and steal market share for them. So companies typically want utility patents that they know larger companies can defend them more easily between that brand name shelf space and Cloud Marketplace cloud. It becomes important, it's almost like a barrier to entry in some ways that if you haven't filed a patent you're on one side of the issue; if you filed something even if it's provisional, you're taken FAR more seriously. So that in conjunction with prototypes—by the way using a prototype can film a video. My byline in the book, which I tried to copyright is, “a picture tells 1000 words a video tells 1000 pictures.” And these things in conjunction will help you to present to a company. You need to do your research on the company to make sure they have a reputation in the marketplace for being fair. Many of them will want to sign on disclosures or you may want to sign one. You're probably going to sign their nondisclosure; that's a big insight into whether or not the company is fair minded. You can read a lot of them, have your attorney take a look at if you’re concerned, and start the dialogue and process of potentially licensing. The odds, again, are long but if you can get licensed with the right company, and you can make a lot of money on a per unit royalty, if lots of units are sold. If you only sell a few thousand, you're not gonna make much money. But if you sell hundreds of thousands or millions of units you can become—it can be quite profitable for you.

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