Patents, Prototypes, Manufacturing, and Marketing New Inventions
Creating A New Product From Conception To Marketing
The tooling I believe would cost about $10,000 - $15,000.
Packaging your new product or invention
Next we needed to decide how to package the product. We looked into a variety of packaging alternatives such as blister cards, pre-formed plastic packages, and plain old boxes.
We went with the blister cards. They were inexpensive and we could buy the equipment to do it ourselves fairly cheap.
My brother John was a commercial photographer and so we had him photograph our kids playing with the card clips and playing cards to use on our packaging and in our promotional material. Saved a little money.
By the way, if you like travel and adventure photography, or if wild and crazy animal photos (digitally manipulated), you should visit his website: http://www.johnlund.com.
With the photography we produced the art for the blister cards and made up a catalog sheet.
We wanted to package the clips with a deck of cards, but we found that the decks of cards were way more expensive than the clips. We wanted to keep the retail price low, so we ended up packaging together about 30 clips and a half deck of cards. You could get just clips, or clips with a half deck of cards. I can't remember the pricing details.
We found we needed a UPC bar code for our packaging so we applied for and received said bar code.
Patenting the new product
We went to our local patent attorney and had a patent search performed. For the card clips we could not get a utility patent as there was nothing new and novel about my clips...basically a paper clip. We could however get a "design patent". You can tell a design patent because it always starts with the letter D ahead of the numerical digits. The patent number for the card clips is D286,555.
A design patent simply prevents others from making "exact duplicates". They are easy to get around because if you change anything at all it won't infringe on the original patents.
Marketing the new product
We figured we could sell the card clips to distributors via trade shows. We obtained a booth at a gift shop trade show where we would hook up with some reps and or distributors. The show was on the Queen Mary which was in L.A. at the time.
We made a model of the Queen Mary out of cards and clips for use at the show. We had a large variety of projects assembled.
The show didn't pan out for us though. As soon as a rep found out we would not be doing national advertising he would loose interest. Buyers pointed out to us that they had no "empty shelves", and would have to eliminate some other item to include the clips.
I imagine that if we had been persistent and attended enough trade shows we may have been successful with the clips, but fate had other plans for us.
A very wealthy acquaintance of my partners happened to notice the clips in my partners office one day, and asked if he could get involved. Now this individual was highly successful and was selling his product nationwide as well as over seas.
We said "yes you may get involved". duh
The individual gathered together his key personnel, his best sales reps, his corporate controller, his advertising agency, etc. and we formed a corporation. We put up all of the equipment, tooling, and patent, and they put up the cash. It was decided to obtain more professional packaging, and our wealthy individuals "team" would sell it not only nationally, but plans were made for South America and Mexico as well.
We were feeling pretty good.
We developed attractive packaging in cardboard boxes covered with photos of assembled projects. We had packages of either red clips or yellow clips. A dozen of the packages fit into a shipper. The shipper was designed to fold into a point-of-purchase display case.
And then we waited. The first sign of trouble was when only the wealthy individual put up any money. None of the others could seem to get around to paying us for the stock.
To make a long story short, none of the "team" did anything with regard to the clips. They were only involved because Mr.. wealthy individual was their biggest client or whatever. Even Mr. wealthy grew bored and quickly lost interest, leaving my partner and I with 100,000 packages of card clips, lots of debts, and no support, no money for advertising, no salaries either. Eventually the corporation declared bankruptcy.
End of story? Maybe... Maybe not. I'm thinking I might try selling them online. hmmm.
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