Archive for January, 2020

New product development takes an idea and moves it through the development process which ends with successful commercialization.

New Product Development | How to Get Started

New product development takes an idea and moves it through the development process which ends with successful commercialization.New Product Development (NPD) is the process that takes a product from conception to market. This new product is meant to fill a consumer demand in the marketplace. New product development starts with an idea which then moves through design, prototyping, market testing, manufacturing and ends with commercialization.

How do I start?

A common question we receive is, “how do I start?”. The short answer, it depends.

If you are working with a product development firm, their experts will be able to guide you through the entire new product development process. It is important to keep in mind that no two products are exactly alike, so the product development process will vary slightly depending on your product idea, along with a number of other factors. A product development firm has knowledge of best design methods for manufacturing, intellectual property insight and a range of manufacturing partners to assist with development.

If you plan to develop your product on your own, you are going to want to start with research. First, you will need to get your product into a CAD program so that you can clearly communicate your product design. Next, you will want to find an Intellectual Property attorney to help your research and protect your product. Whether it’s a design, utility patent or both, your attorney will be able to guide you on the best IP protection methods. Your research will also need to include the best prototyping methods for your product and tooling, if you need to use traditional manufacturing methods. From manufacturing to packaging you will want to find either domestic or international partners that you trust and have a proven track record of success.

From New Product Development to Market

Traditionally, developing a product takes time. Getting a product from idea to market will not happen in a matter of weeks. Each step in the product development process takes time and they are not something you want to rush through.

Using 3D CAD and 3D printing technology will certainly help speed up certain aspects of product development with quick turnaround times to help you along the way. With less time needed in these areas you will be able to move forward at a faster pace, however IP and patent law take time. Getting your patents and IP in place is crucial for hardware startups before moving forward with commercialization. As development processes improve and technology matures, product development and innovation will continue to speed up, but be prepared for a marathon and not a sprint to the finish line.

Developing a new product is an exciting time, embrace the journey.

Have additional questions about product development? Send us an email at info@3d-innovations.com

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Patents are key to intellectual property protection for hardware startups.

Intellectual Property Protection | The Basics for Startups

Patents offer intellectual property protection to hardware startups.From the record number of patents issued in 2019, one thing is clear, intellectual property protection continues to be a cornerstone of businesses both big and small. “2019 saw a new high-watermark of 333,530 patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office.” (Tech Crunch) When it comes to intellectual property protection, startups and corporations understand that the road to success involves patents.

“The [2019 patent] figures are notable for a few reasons. One is that this is the most patents ever granted in a single year; and the second that this represents a 15% jump on a year before.”

“The high overall number speaks to the enduring interest in safeguarding IP, while the 15% jump has to do with the fact that patent numbers actually dipped last year (down 3.5%) while the number that were filed and still in application form (not granted) was bigger than ever. If we can draw something from that, it might be that filers and the USPTO were both taking a little more time to file and process, not a reduction in the use of patents altogether.” (Tech Crunch)

Patents continue to be a way to protect your product from copycats and counterfeiters.  To help you get acquainted with patents and the patent process, below are a few basics about intellectual property protection.

Patent Basics

A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions. There are three types of patents: utility, design and plant patents.

  1. Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof;
  2. Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and
  3. Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.

“A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees.” (USPTO)

Design Patents

Design patents are often overlooked and underutilized compared to the more common utility patents. “Five percent of all patent applications (more than 30,000 per year) are design patents.” (Upcounsel) Design patents focus on the exterior design, features and overall aesthetics of the product. Utility patents focus on the functionality and features of your invention.

Design patents extend to what is exactly shown in the line drawings, nothing more. “Some products might need multiple design patents. Each would cover a specific physical feature of the proposed product. Cars, for instance, require many design patents.” (Upcounsel) Having high-quality professional line drawings by a CAD designer is extremely advantageous. With a design patent, you are able to use the coveted phrases, patent pending and patent issued on all marketing material, and have confidence that your invention is protected for the next fourteen years. Also. when it comes to cost, design patents are considerably cheaper to file than utility patents.

Utility Patents

Utility patents focus solely on the inner workings of your invention, its unique functions and overall usefulness. “While a utility patent is harder to get, it offers better coverage. The utility patent has stronger intellectual property protections built into the patent system.” (Upcounsel) An invention is deemed useful if it provides an identifiable benefit and is capable of use. People often refer to utility patents as “patents for invention”. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, ninety-percent of the patent documents issued by the USPTO in recent years have been utility patents. With a utility patent your invention will be protected for the next twenty years.

Often times, proper patent protection can mean the difference between success and failure for a hardware startup.

Our team works closely with the Hawaii State Bar Association and understands the importance of patent protection for startups. If you have a question related to patent protection, please send us an email at info@3d-innovations.com.

Additional Intellectual Property Articles for Startups

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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There is work to do before you can successfully use 3d printing technology.

3D Printing | The Work Before the Print

There is work to do before you can successfully use 3d printing technology.3D printing is a technology that has the ability to capture everyone’s imagination, however we need to remember that it is, in a sense, a secondary process and a lot of work comes before you start printing. We all see those fantastic time-lapse 3D printing videos floating around the internet, where in a mere minute you can watch a 3D printer bring a product to life. What you can’t see is the design and testing that comes beforehand.

Product Design

Before you even get going with 3D printing, you must come up with your design. On the surface this seems simple enough, however one of the benefits of 3D printing is your ability to design shapes without traditional constraints. Less constraints mean that complex geometries can shine. 3D printing gives new meaning to “thinking outside of the box” when it comes to product design.

With 3D printing technology, complex geometries, internal features and built-in interlocking objects with no assembly required are all possible. With these additional design capabilities, 3D printing creates new product design opportunities.

3D CAD File

Once you come up with a design, it’s time to develop it in a CAD program. This CAD file feeds the 3D printing machine the information that it needs to create the object.

“Not only does a CAD file help save time when figuring out all the finer details of a part by looking at the 3D model, but it also allows a model to be magnified and even rotate on any axis to get a full three-dimensional concept of the part, which allows you a greater sense of the product. Using CAD makes it possible to simulate the movement of a part as well.” (Vista Industrial)

Product Testing

3D CAD has come a long way in recent years. You can design and stress test your product design all right on the computer. CAD simulations let you get a real feel for your product—how it looks, moves and does under pressure. The ability to do this means that you can refine your design before it is ever 3D printed.

On to 3D Printing

Once you have cleared these hurdles and are happy with your design, it’s then time to head to the 3D printer. Depending on the size of your product, print times can take a few hours.

Fun fact, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Boeing still hold the record for “Largest solid 3D-printed item“, with the 3D printed wing trim tool that took 30 hours to make.

Assuming that you aren’t trying to break any Guinness World Records with print size, using 3D printing is a great way to cut down on the time it takes to get a customized part or prototype in your hand. Short turnaround, complex geometries and customization are the main benefits to 3D printing technology and the reason many businesses and entrepreneurs turn to this technology for assistance.

Have additional 3D printing questions? Send us an email at info@3d-innovations.com

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today.

Stay close to home and make 2020 the year you build a startup.

Build a Startup in Your Hometown

Stay close to home and make 2020 the year you build a startup.Deciding to develop a product and build a startup is a big undertaking and the more support you have around you, the more likely you are to succeed. Ten years ago, if you wanted to build a hardware product, moving to Silicon Valley or New York to find support seemed like the only option for success. Today this is not the case. Now more than ever entrepreneurs are building their businesses in their hometown and finding success.

Cost of Living

It’s no secret that the cost of living in major tech hubs is astronomical and upfront costs to get your business going also come at a premium. Instead of shelling out that money for rent, put it to better use in your business to foster its growth. Less money towards the basics means that you can hire that salesman, upgrade your packaging, add a new feature—you see where we are going with this.

Local Support

Chances are that if you are in a large enough city, there are other businesses out there supporting the startup community. You don’t necessarily need to find an industry specific support network, but instead a network that has the skillset your startup requires. Here in Hawaii, we provide product development support to hardware startups in a wide-range of industries. Our client, The Baby Toon, which is an innovative baby spoon designed with safety as the focus, was recently featured on the Season 11 Premiere of Shark Tank.

Cities all over the nation, and really the world, are realizing that creating a friendly startup ecosystem is good for business. Startup support might come from government programs, local universities, or corporate sponsorships—there is going to be support available, your job is to seek it out.

Through local relationships and organizations, you may gain access to anything from low-interest loans to access to venture capital that’s limited to local businesses, and opportunities to speak at local business events.

Networking

Networking is an often-overlooked aspect when you build a startup. Your network matters.

The benefit of launching your startup where you live is that you know people and have years-long relationships built with them already. You have an established community. Even if you’re not in a tech hub, you’re bound to be surrounded by business owners of some sort.

Maybe you know a local manufacturer that can help explain the manufacturing process to you and make introductions for you with their contacts. Perhaps you are neighbors with a local baker that excels at social media, and he/she is willing to give you a crash course on what you need to know to get started.

Connection

Building true connections in major tech hubs is nearly impossible. Personal relationships and real connections are hard to come by. However, this is not the case in your hometown.

Your ability to connect with local business leaders that you admire, city and state politicians, and other entrepreneurs is going to be much easier in a smaller city. Your access to people like this will help you successfully navigate the road to success as you build a startup.

Rise of the Rest

The Rise of the Rest movement shows exactly what is happening to the startup landscape across the United States. Startups are interrupting large and established industries with new ideas and innovative products from smaller cities across the country. Investors are looking beyond established tech hubs for innovative startups and entrepreneurs that have the passion to succeed.

Start your new year, new decade and new business with a positive mindset and the goal to succeed. Make 2020 the year you build a startup.

If you have any questions about the product development process please send us an email at info@3d-innovations.com.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today.

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