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    17 Replies Latest reply on Nov 25, 2009 12:35 PM by LeeRobert

    Inventing a product - where to start?

    wheelboy Newbie
      I'm inventing a new medical device. I have data to demonstrate the need for this product and a rough idea of who the market would be. I have rough sketches but will need an industrial designer to make drawings. I don't have a formal business plan drawn up, nor estimated start-up costs.

      How do I estimate cost when I don't know how/where the product will be manufactured?

      I have no capital, therefore cannot afford a designer or patent attorney at this time. I also have a lot of medical school debt and don't want to get a small business loan to get started. I would need to partner with a designer who would go in for a percentage of proceeds from the business.

      Is this possible? How do I get started?
        • Re: Inventing a product - where to start?
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Welcome and congrads on inventing a new medical device.
          How do you get started? By writing a formal Business and Marketing Plan.
          Any partner would need to see the plans as well as estimated start-up costs.
          Good luck, LUCKIEST
          • Re: Inventing a product - where to start?
            Lighthouse24 Ranger

            What you have is an idea, and that's about all. As you realized, until your idea is more fully developed, you really can't answer those questions.

            Since you said that you have med school debt, I'm thinking you'd also have friends or acquaintances from your undergrad years. Ideally, you could partner with someone who majored in engineering and knows industrial design, and someone who majored in pre-law and is now an attorney (but if you don't know anyone like that, you probably know someone who knows someone like that). I think exploring that network of personal contacts is more likely than this forum to help you find the initial product development expertise you need.

            Still, no harm in asking here. I wish you the best.
            • Re: Inventing a product - where to start?
              StudyTyme Newbie

              Hello, there is alot of good information on the inventor process at The partnering with former collegues is probably the way you would want to go. The first thing you need to know is the rules that apply to public disclosure and how it affects your ability to patent your idea. A provisional patent only costs $100 for a small entity to file. Get the book "Patent it yourself". That should get you started on the right path before you make a critical mistake and loose the right to file.

              • Re: Inventing a product - where to start?
                cwgreen09 Newbie

                You do not have to pay for a full patent yet. It would be best to patent it but you can get a patent pending which would allow you extra time to come up with the funds as well as being able to openly find bids from people to help you create your idea without someone stealing the idea from you. The downside is that if your pending time runs out and you can't pay for the patent then your idea very well may be up for grabs.

                Make sure that you include any pre patented materials/objects/ideas etc that may be a portion of your idea into your plan. You have to give all credit where credit is due or it can bite you. As far as marketing it afterwards you can get a sketch of it made, an animation, or even make a video to help show how your product may work. You may even get help doing that by offering defered payment to a bright young student in need of a great project for his/her reel ( or you can hire a professional ) . This could be beneficial to you when pitching the idea to a company that could make the product for you. It may also help you to explain to a few companies what your product needs are so that they may help by giving a rough estimate for your cost analysis. Many places will give you a free estimate. People love new clients.$$$

                Although I may sound a little untrusting, I advise that until you get a patent or patent pending that you should have anyone that you share your ideas with sign a non disclosure agreement that states that they won't steal your idea or be overcome by loose lips afterwards.You do not want to become a victim of the next Bill Gates. In these situations you need to take the steps to protect yourself, then once you feel protected, check again. I mean, you could be the next guy that invents a solar panel powered generator that feeds from its own source of energy through heat lamps on timer based outputs , almost like a windmill or something nutty.

                Good luck!

                Who knows, maybe I'll be shooting your video or commercials one day. ( Like the self admired plug? )

                Chroma Shake Productions
                • Re: Inventing a product - where to start?
                  DomainDiva Ranger
                  Contact MIT. They have a program that you may qualify for.


                  There is also a group of MIT alumni engineers that do development and design as a group.
                  • Re: Inventing a product - where to start?
                    intechspecial Ranger
                    The hat's of entrepreneurship are not easily worn.

                    As a future business owner, you must do more then just invent.

                    You have seen this already, and trust me that it is going to get even more difficult over time.

                    If you are ready for the challange, and willing to commit, its time to go to work.

                    The harder you work now, the easier it will be in the long run.

                    If I could make just one suggestion, to ease your worries.

                    Keep it simple smarty!

                    Simplify the process. Do not try to learn everything. Assess one thing you need to do to get closer to your goal, and then focus your efforts only on that goal. Do not complicate it, start simple, and work from there. Ya know Rome was not built in a day. Neither is a famous inventor.

                    Suggestion: Take one thing from this post and work on it. Just one! Work on it for a while, and when you have a slightly better handle on it, congratulate yourself as you have accomplised one small victory, amongst a mountain of losses business owners deal with every day.

                    Just one! Easy as pie.
                    • Re: Inventing a product - where to start?
                      toolman911965 Newbie
                      Perhaps I can give you some help here. As a small scale machinist and also as a full time nurse, perhaps I can help you with design and possibly a prototype, or get you pointed in the right direction. Visit my site, or shoot me an email at with some description or information and perhaps I can do something for you. All information supplied to me is strictly confidential, and as such you retain all rights to the product except where otherwise agreed to by both parties.
                      • Re: Inventing a product - where to start?
                        Tori Scout
                        The creator of Everyday Edison's will be hosting a live event right here in the SBOC on October 20th. Ask Louis Foreman your questions. He's and expert and will be here for an hour

                        Event: Getting your invention off the ground

                        • Re: Inventing a product - where to start?
                          lena777 Newbie
                          It can seem a bit overwhelming in the beginning when we don't know where to start, but to do a lot of research is a great idea, before you get things rolling, to have a good base to build from.
                          • Re: Inventing a product - where to start?
                            Scappa Adventurer

                            Greetings Wheelboy,


                            I can feel your pain. I am an inventor myself and I started the in same way you are today. I will tell you what did work for me.


                            First, having a great idea, a concept, or a great solution will get an invention nowhere. Do not get discouraged here. The first thing I did was to build a full-size, functional model of my invention to establish an irrefutable proof of concept. You need to know in your heart if your invention actually works. If it doesn't, go to the next idea. If it does, then worry about manufacturing, sales, applicability, market absorption, and everything else.


                            I did not patent any of my inventions before I passed this milestone. Patenting it is not a science, and if you sell your artifact, the new owner will have interest and will be very willing and ready to pay for the patenting process. I never showed my invention to anyone who did not sign beforehand a pretty tight Non-Disclosure, Non-Circumvention, and Confidentiality Agreement, executed by a Notary Public. This is not the best protection, there are still many jackals out there ready to still your brainchild, to include many dishonest lawyers, but this document will establish an official and chronological intellectual claim.


                            After this, I took my inventions to the industry or the industry suppliers that deal with the nature of my invention, and tested their interest. So far, I have attracted companies such as 3M International, DuPont, Johnson&Johnson, BASF, GE, and other giants. This is good, but they where giants and I was a pigmy. Then, because these clients can see, touch, and test a REAL, WORKING product, they can calculate the size of their own market, and how much money they can make for themselves with YOUR invention. Unfortunately at unavoidably at this point you need a lawyer. Not a patenting lawyer, but a litigation lawyer to help you to get a good, fair deal that protects YOU.


                            The same deal works for investors. Investors naturally do not care a bit for your invention, they just want to know how much money your artifact will make them, how fast, for how long, and what it is the least they can risk for it. InveStors and InveNtors are from different galaxies. We inve*n*tors are Homo Sapiens, Inve*s*tors (most of them any way) I have been told that are Ferengies.


                            In the meantime, complete your working prototype while working on the completion of your business plan and business description, market analysis and studies, competitor assessment, marketing plan, operating plan and operating requirements, financial plan, executive summaries, manufacturing strategies, cost analysis, exit strategies, etc. You will need all of these later. Remember that you have a great invention and EVERYTHING else you need to succeed. The only thing you DO NOT have it is some money. You are the only one capable of developing and completing your invention. Investors can not contribute at all with this stage.


                            Do NOT get loans! They will prove to be your demise, and perhaps the loss of your invention. Make an effort and complete a working prototype. Showing up is 70% of success. A real object is more convincing than a concept. An idea means risk and a solid product means security. It is possible to put an invention in the market with little money, but with great effort. I am not the holder of the right answer or the "Altum Agnitio", but I have sold 3 of my inventions (one of them is a medical devise) so far using this method. I am selling 2 more right now, and I am doing it in the same way. Do not give up, don't quit, and good fortune to you!


                            • Re: Inventing a product - where to start?
                              LeeRobert Wayfarer
                              Do NOT show your idea to anyone without applying for a patent first.

                              You are not selling the idea or product, you are selling the patent. Without a patent the product is not yours to sell. For all you know it could already have been invented. The fact that one isn't on the market is irrelevant. If someone has registered an identical idea with the patent office you cannot make it.

                              A company will not buy a product from you without a patent.

                              Not all companies and people are nice. Without a patent anyone can copy your idea.

                              Once an idea becomes public knowledge it cannot be patented.

                              Hope this helps.
                              • Re: Inventing a product - where to start?
                                KansasEngg Newbie

                                Hi Wheelboy,

                                I would be willing to work with you on the design of your idea. Working for a percentage would be fine with me. Take a look at my profile for more info about me and my company.