New Product Success2019-01-15T18:25:29+00:00

The New Product Success Guide

Los Angeles based U.S. patent attorney David Kleiman has been helping clients worldwide protect and enforce their legal rights in new products for more than 20 years. He has authored this free online guide to help those with ideas for new products achieve success. As explained in this guide it takes much more than just good legal protection to succeed with product development. However, without good legal protection everything else may be for nothing.

David Kleiman hopes you find this online guide useful. He would be happy to talk with you about how Kleiman Patent Law Services can help protect your legal rights related to a new product. You can schedule an initial consultation with him here.

David M. Kleiman - U.S. Patent Attorney
Professional Invention Protection
20+ Years
Serving Clients Worldwide

1.  Steps To New Product Success


In The Beginning Treat Your Idea
As A Valuable Trade Secret


There are good reasons to treat an idea for a new product like a trade secret. First, being first to market with a new product can be critical to success – especially if the product isn’t eligible for patent protection. If competitors learn about the new product idea and get to customers before you can then this can hurt your prospects.


Second, if your idea is an invention eligible for patent protection then the public use, offer for sale etc. . . before a patent application is filed can be a bar to your ability to later get patent protection.


So generally, at least in the very early stages, treat your idea for a new product as being confidential information. This means don’t disclose it to anyone who isn’t under a legal obligation to keep the idea confidential. To achieve this use appropriate confidentiality agreements, unless you are talking to your own licensed attorney for legal advice.


Retain And Consult With
A Qualified Patent Attorney


It is often a good idea to retain and consult with a qualified patent attorney early on. The law can be complex, and as you move forward with the development of your product idea there will likely be be many situations and circumstances where being able to consult with a qualified patent attorney can be helpful to preserving valuable rights and possibly avoiding trouble.


Many people are reluctant to consult with an attorney up front because of the perceived expense of doing so. However, in many cases the cost of consulting with a qualified patent attorney to make sure that things are done correctly before taking action with respect to your invention, such as entering into a contract with someone, is far less expensive than paying the fees aftwerwards to get yourself out of a mess which could have been avoided. If your idea is actually developed into a commercial product, then legal fees are an important and relatively very small part of what will otherwise probably be a very large investment.


Successful product development nearly always involves a team effort working with many different people (co-inventors, partners, investors, designers, manufacturers, customers, etc. . .). One of the most valuable team members who should be added early is a qualified patent attorney.


Do An Initial Patent Search
To See If It May Be Patentable


Just because you haven’t seen a product on the market before, doesn’t mean that you are the inventor. Many inventions are never succesfully turned into commercial products, or they may have a short market life. Before investing substantial time and money in the development of a new product, or substantial time and money in the preparation and filing of a patent application, do an initial patentability search.


An initial patentability search may reveal other published patent applications and issued patents that are the same as or similar to your idea. This is important information that can give you insight into the availability and scope of patent protection, if any, that may be available for your product idea. Sometimes it may alert you to the existence of unexpired patents which may pose an infringement problem if you start making and selling your product idea, although an investigation into potential patent infringement by a product is very different than an investigation into the patentability of a product: A new product can be patentable, and yet still infringe other people’s patent rights.


Accordingly, before investing significant sums in the development of a new product it is usually prudent to have a patent search done by a qualified patent attorney.


Timely File
Necessary Patent Applications


The law places frequently places time limits on being able to secure intellectual property rights and remedies. Accordingly it is important to investigate and act without undue delay in securing such rights and remedies.


With regards to patents, if the result of your initial patent search indicates that patent protection may be available, a prudent next step may be to timely prepare and file a patent application. Be aware that there are strict time limits for filing a patent application. In the U.S. patent rights are awarded to the person to file a patent application for the claimed invention, and the right to obtain a patent may be lost if the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of a patent application for the claimed invention. So the decision to file a patent application should not be delayed. The expense involved in preparing and filing a patent application varies greatly with the type of invention and the type of patent application. However, in most cases an inventor can safely expect to spend at least several thousand dollars to have a patent application professionally prepared and filed.


There may be other aspects of your product idea that are subject to protection under the trademark or copyright laws, which have their own various deadlines. Timely consultation with a qualified patent attorney and action to protect such aspects of a product is highly recommended.

Have A Written Agreement With
All Others You Work With


It is not uncommon for an invention to be the result of a team effort, with two or more people working on conceiving and reducing an invention to practice. When there is more than one inventor, each inventor is a co-inventor. To be a co-inventor on a patent application a person must have made a contribution individually or jointly to the subject matter disclosed in the application.


In the United States patent applications must name all of the inventors, and unless there is an assignment of rights, each named inventor shall be a joint owner of the patent rights for any issued patent. In the absence of any agreement to the contrary, each of the joint owners of a patent may make, use, offer to sell, or sell the patented invention within the United States, or import the patented invention into the United States, without the consent of and without accounting to the other owners. Having patent rights split among joint owners can have serious, perhaps unintended, effects on the ability to exploit an invention or patent rights. This is particularly so in the event of a dispute among joint owners.


Accordingly, if you are working with others on the development of a product idea, whether or not they are co-inventors, it is prudent to have a written agreement in place between you that makes it clear as to, among other things, who owns any rights, and if there will be joint ownership of rights how such ownership is to be exercised. A qualified U.S. patent attorney can advise you regarding entering into such agreements.


Do The Necessary Market Research
To Evaluate The Idea


Ideas, inventions, and products are not the same thing. At the end of the day to have an invention eligible for patent protection you will have to be able to communicate at least on paper the information a person of ordinary skill in the field of the invention will need to make and use the invention. This distinguishes inventions that are eligible for patent protection from just ideas. However, to have a product to sell a customer, you will need more than just something on paper (patent or otherwise).


Without your invention successfully selling in the market as a real product you are unlikely to make much, if any, money from your invention. To bring a product to market often requires a very substantial investment of time and money. Before investing substantially in an invention or product development venture you should have some evidence that, however inventive the product may be, it can be successfully sold for a profit. This evidence comes largely from marketing research.


Marketing research is, generally speaking, any type of objective evidence that can be used to help predict commercial success with a particular product. It can come in many forms. Without at least some marketing research to support a prediction of commercial success for a product, then any such prediction is simply speculation. Those who proceed on speculation, and gamble, often lose. If you want to increase your chances of success you should do the necessary marketing research.


You can learn about marketing research in the Market Research Guide available on this website.


Prepare A Good
Written Business Plan


If you are interested in bringing a new product to market with the aim of making a profit you are engaged in a business venture, and should proceed accordingly. It is tough enough to succeed with the development of a new product when you have a plan and know where you are going (and why). Moving forward blindly, and developing a product by the seat-of-your-pants without research or a clear plan for success is almost a sure fire way to make big mistakes, lose a great deal of time and money, and ultimately fail.


A business plan is a document that summarizes the operational and financial objectives of a business and contains the detailed plans and budgets showing how the objectives are to be realized. A business plan is often needed in order to raise money from investors or lenders. You can learn more about business plans in later sections of this guide.


Invest/Raise The Capital & Expertise
To Make Your Plan Work


Successful product development often requires a very significant investment of time and money. Even on a relatively small scale it can easily require an investment of many tens of thousands of dollars before a product is available for sale to customers, and perhaps millions of dollars for mass consumer market products that are sold in very significant volumes.

If you have a good plan for a new product, you don’t necessarily have to have all of the money or expertise yourself to make it happen. Others may be willing to invest in your product development venture. However, lenders or investors will need to be persuaded that an investment in your product development is a good one for them. Following the above steps can help you accomplish this.

You should also be aware of the fact that there are laws which may apply to your activities related to raising money from investors, and different ways of raising the necessary money to have your product development venture be a success. It is strongly recommended that you consult with a qualified attorney about any efforts associated with raising money from investors or lenders. You can learn more about raising capital later in this guide.


Be Diligent, Persevere, But Be Reasonable
To Come Out A Winner


Successful invention or product development is usually very challenging. There are often many obstacles to overcome, and a great deal to learn, if you are to reach success. Much of the work isn’t fun, glamorous, or even interesting. However, with diligence and perseverance you can succeed.With that being said, it is important to understand that your success is not necessarily the same as the success of an idea.


Many ideas don’t succeed. This could be for any number of reasons. Accordingly, it is important not to get carried away with personal enthusiasm or obsession over an idea when objective evidence is telling you that there is a problem. Sometimes, in order for you to succeed, it is important to be able to walk away from a bad idea instead of accumulating losses for emotional reasons. This isn’t meant to discourage enthusiasm or passion, which are necessary in many cases to success. However, be reasonable at the same time. That is the winning inventor way to success.




1.  General Steps To Invention Success


In The Beginning Treat Your Idea
As A Valuable Trade Secret


There are good reasons to treat an idea for a new product like a trade secret. First, being first to market with a new product can be critical to success – especially if the product isn’t eligible for patent protection. If competitors learn about the new product idea and get to customers before you can then this can hurt your prospects.


Second, if your idea is an invention eligible for patent protection then the public use, offer for sale etc. . . before a patent application is filed can be a bar to your ability to later get patent protection.


So generally, at least in the very early stages, treat your idea for a new product as being confidential information. This means don’t disclose it to anyone who isn’t under a legal obligation to keep the idea confidential. To achieve this use appropriate confidentiality agreements, unless you are talking to your own licensed attorney for legal advice.


Retain And Consult With
A Qualified Patent Attorney


It is often a good idea to retain and consult with a qualified patent attorney early on. The law can be complex, and as you move forward with the development of your product idea there will likely be be many situations and circumstances where being able to consult with a qualified patent attorney can be helpful to preserving valuable rights and possibly avoiding trouble.


Many people are reluctant to consult with an attorney up front because of the perceived expense of doing so. However, in many cases the cost of consulting with a qualified patent attorney to make sure that things are done correctly before taking action with respect to your invention, such as entering into a contract with someone, is far less expensive than paying the fees aftwerwards to get yourself out of a mess which could have been avoided. If your idea is actually developed into a commercial product, then legal fees are an important and relatively very small part of what will otherwise probably be a very large investment.


Successful product development nearly always involves a team effort working with many different people (co-inventors, partners, investors, designers, manufacturers, customers, etc. . .). One of the most valuable team members who should be added early is a qualified patent attorney.


Do An Initial Patent Search
To See If It May Be Patentable


Just because you haven’t seen a product on the market before, doesn’t mean that you are the inventor. Many inventions are never succesfully turned into commercial products, or they may have a short market life. Before investing substantial time and money in the development of a new product, or substantial time and money in the preparation and filing of a patent application, do an initial patentability search.


An initial patentability search may reveal other published patent applications and issued patents that are the same as or similar to your idea. This is important information that can give you insight into the availability and scope of patent protection, if any, that may be available for your product idea. Sometimes it may alert you to the existence of unexpired patents which may pose an infringement problem if you start making and selling your product idea, although an investigation into potential patent infringement by a product is very different than an investigation into the patentability of a product: A new product can be patentable, and yet still infringe other people’s patent rights.


Accordingly, before investing significant sums in the development of a new product it is usually prudent to have a patent search done by a qualified patent attorney.


Timely File
Necessary Patent Applications


The law places frequently places time limits on being able to secure intellectual property rights and remedies. Accordingly it is important to investigate and act without undue delay in securing such rights and remedies.


With regards to patents, if the result of your initial patent search indicates that patent protection may be available, a prudent next step may be to timely prepare and file a patent application. Be aware that there are strict time limits for filing a patent application. In the U.S. patent rights are awarded to the person to file a patent application for the claimed invention, and the right to obtain a patent may be lost if the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of a patent application for the claimed invention. So the decision to file a patent application should not be delayed. The expense involved in preparing and filing a patent application varies greatly with the type of invention and the type of patent application. However, in most cases an inventor can safely expect to spend at least several thousand dollars to have a patent application professionally prepared and filed.


There may be other aspects of your product idea that are subject to protection under the trademark or copyright laws, which have their own various deadlines. Timely consultation with a qualified patent attorney and action to protect such aspects of a product is highly recommended.

Have A Written Agreement With
All Others You Work With


It is not uncommon for an invention to be the result of a team effort, with two or more people working on conceiving and reducing an invention to practice. When there is more than one inventor, each inventor is a co-inventor. To be a co-inventor on a patent application a person must have made a contribution individually or jointly to the subject matter disclosed in the application.


In the United States patent applications must name all of the inventors, and unless there is an assignment of rights, each named inventor shall be a joint owner of the patent rights for any issued patent. In the absence of any agreement to the contrary, each of the joint owners of a patent may make, use, offer to sell, or sell the patented invention within the United States, or import the patented invention into the United States, without the consent of and without accounting to the other owners. Having patent rights split among joint owners can have serious, perhaps unintended, effects on the ability to exploit an invention or patent rights. This is particularly so in the event of a dispute among joint owners.


Accordingly, if you are working with others on the development of a product idea, whether or not they are co-inventors, it is prudent to have a written agreement in place between you that makes it clear as to, among other things, who owns any rights, and if there will be joint ownership of rights how such ownership is to be exercised. A qualified U.S. patent attorney can advise you regarding entering into such agreements.


Do The Necessary Market
Research To Evaluate
The Idea


Ideas, inventions, and products are not the same thing. At the end of the day to have an invention eligible for patent protection you will have to be able to communicate at least on paper the information a person of ordinary skill in the field of the invention will need to make and use the invention. This distinguishes inventions that are eligible for patent protection from just ideas. However, to have a product to sell a customer, you will need more than just something on paper (patent or otherwise).


Without your invention successfully selling in the market as a real product you are unlikely to make much, if any, money from your invention. To bring a product to market often requires a very substantial investment of time and money. Before investing substantially in an invention or product development venture you should have some evidence that, however inventive the product may be, it can be successfully sold for a profit. This evidence comes largely from marketing research.


Marketing research is, generally speaking, any type of objective evidence that can be used to help predict commercial success with a particular product. It can come in many forms. Without at least some marketing research to support a prediction of commercial success for a product, then any such prediction is simply speculation. Those who proceed on speculation, and gamble, often lose. If you want to increase your chances of success you should do the necessary marketing research.


You can learn about marketing research in the Market Research Guide available on this website.


Prepare A Good
Written Business Plan


If you are interested in bringing a new product to market with the aim of making a profit you are engaged in a business venture, and should proceed accordingly. It is tough enough to succeed with the development of a new product when you have a plan and know where you are going (and why). Moving forward blindly, and developing a product by the seat-of-your-pants without research or a clear plan for success is almost a sure fire way to make big mistakes, lose a great deal of time and money, and ultimately fail.


A business plan is a document that summarizes the operational and financial objectives of a business and contains the detailed plans and budgets showing how the objectives are to be realized. A business plan is often required in order to raise money from investors or lenders. You can learn more about business plans in later sections of this guide.


Invest or Raise The Capital
and Expertise To Make
Your Plan Work


Successful product development often requires a very significant investment of time and money. Even on a relatively small scale it can easily require an investment of many tens of thousands of dollars before a product is available for sale to customers, and perhaps millions of dollars for mass consumer market products that are sold in very significant volumes.

If you have a good plan for a new product, you don’t necessarily have to have all of the money or expertise yourself to make it happen. Others may be willing to invest in your product development venture. However, lenders or investors will need to be persuaded that an investment in your product development is a good one for them. Following the above steps can help you accomplish this.

You should also be aware of the fact that there are laws which may apply to your activities related to raising money from investors, and different ways of raising the necessary money to have your product development venture be a success. It is strongly recommended that you consult with a qualified attorney about any efforts associated with raising money from investors or lenders. You can learn more about raising capital later in this guide.


Be Diligent and Persevere,
But Be Reasonable
To Come Out A Winner


Successful invention or product development is usually very challenging. There are often many obstacles to overcome, and a great deal to learn, if you are to reach success. Much of the work isn’t fun, glamorous, or even interesting. However, with diligence and perseverance you can succeed.With that being said, it is important to understand that your success is not necessarily the same as the success of an idea.


Many ideas don’t succeed. This could be for any number of reasons. Accordingly, it is important not to get carried away with personal enthusiasm or obsession over an idea when objective evidence is telling you that there is a problem. Sometimes, in order for you to succeed, it is important to be able to walk away from a bad idea instead of accumulating losses for emotional reasons. This isn’t meant to discourage enthusiasm or passion, which are necessary in many cases to success. However, be reasonable at the same time. That is the winning inventor way to success.