Patenting has its place in the process. Sometimes that place is not as soon as you get the idea. Many Inventors get an idea and rush to the nearest patent attorney and start throwing money at it. The problen is that as synthesislabs stated earlier the product you start with and end up with can be two different creatures. It is what I call "What started out a dog ends up a cat."
I have several products licensed in the toy,tool, kitchen, eyewear,and nuclear industry. I got them to market spending less than $100 on each and some for as little as $8. I did not have them patented when I approached the company. We used an NDA for the initial presentation and proceeded from there. If I had patented two of the items prior to contacting the company my patent would not have covered the final products and I would have had to start the process all over and lose the initial patent investment.
Plus, some items due to its shelf life don't warrant the expense and time of a patent.
Nice to see you posting here on SuN ... I've followed you on EN and a few others (and it will be interesting to read your book when it comes out) ... SuN is a wee-bit different creature (imho) as it's not pure "inventors" and tends to get a little more into the facts of life a startup business deals with on the journey ... just saying, taking a product to market for $8 is how realistic!?!
Back to "topic" ... won't a provisional cover (provided it's "domestic, four legged, lap-sitter") the morph from Dog to Cat? And in that same light, if the creature you pitch changes that much, are you covered on your N.D.A. and/or how much are you trusting your licensing company to honor what's right vs. what's legal?
(The above is posted with the understanding of the conventional wisdom of being, "don't invest your time/money past a "sell sheet" when it comes to an "invention" you have no intention or means of bringing to market on your own" ... even to the point of not filing a provision patent until you have a nibble on your idea. Corrections and perhaps a new thread greatly welcomed; this topic being "make your product marketable" ... ergonomics and all that jazz!~)
You stated "And in that same light, if the creature you pitch changes that much, are you covered on your N.D.A. and/or how much are you trusting your licensing company to honor what's right vs. what's legal?"
That falls under the title of this thread "Making your product marketable" The purpose of the changes was to make the final product more vaible/profitable. The NDA covers all discussions of the product between the two parties, which would include any improvements, since the end goal is to make a more marketable product.
You stated "as it's not pure "inventors" and tends to get a little more into the facts of life a startup business deals with on the journey ... just saying, taking a product to market for $8 is how realistic!?!"
I agree it is not typical, but on the other hand it is a different approach that many may not have considered. I have shown it can be done and repeated. As you are aware a large number of startup businesses fail because they follow the the same path of others before them, but don't execute it as well. Others succeed by thinking outside the box and trying an avenue others failed to notice. There is no one size fits all when it comes to business. You have to be flexible and consider all your options.
I have seen numerous products in their developmental stage. Strong public interest and demand are necessary to generate a marketable product.
Here are some instructions:
You must value your marketable assets from time to time.
Review the current market to discover products that may be similar to yours.
If your product is similar to something already produced, the success of that product is a good indicator of the success your invention may have, but your invention has to be different enough to set itself apart from predecessors and competitors.
Make a list of the companies that manufacture products similar to your invention. Use their websites to call or write to these companies to gather information about how many units they sell per month.
Conduct telemarketing, mail and e-mail surveys to see if people would be interested in your product and what they would pay given the feature set of the invention.
Contact vendors and use the information about your competitor's products to estimate how much it will cost you to produce the invention.
Consider your distribution options. Inventions that are easily transported from one area to another are more marketable than ones that are shipped in complex ways, because complex distribution is more expensive.
I learned a lot from this thread's exchanges. Regarding choosing a design for your product, i think this site www.brandsforthepeople.com is really good especially for beginners. I am planning to start my own small business soon, and will give their services try.
Marketing now days has become a very important aspect for products popularity. Update in the product and their feature is very necessary to maintain the interest of customers and remain prepared for any competition that a company might face in coming time.