Build a prototype and launch your invention
You have had an idea for an innovative product and now what are you going to do ? We will explain the steps to follow and the key steps to create a functional prototype, develop and launch a new product on the market.
Protect your idea :
The best way to protect is to keep your innovative product idea secret. Keep your concept to a minimum while you take the necessary steps. Many companies are on the lookout to copy an innovative idea, if you don't want to sell your idea then you have to keep it to yourself. There are 3 ways to protect your invention that we will present to you :
Find a trusted partner :
The majority of successful inventors select a trusted partner to support them from the feasibility study to the industrialization of the product. The first thing to do once your partner is found is to sign a confidentiality agreement, you will find a free template to download by following this link. At RSAI we know that a successful project starts with the feasibility study. Our engineers provide an industrial vision of your future product from the first feasibility phase. Anticipating the success of a product and thinking about the cost of mass production from the very beginning allows the inventor to save a lot of money over the long term!
When your functional prototype is ready you can communicate openly. If someone steals or copies your idea, you will be one step ahead with a functional prototype and nothing prevents you from filing a patent.
The e-Soleau envelope :
Little known, the e-Soleau envelope allows you to establish the proof of the existence of your creation at a given date. Much simpler and less expensive than filing a patent, this solution guarantees the prior art of your invention. The e-Soleau envelope is registered with the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) ; the fee starts at € 15 for filing 10 MB of data and € 10 for an additional 10 MB. We advise you to talk to an intellectual property expert for this step.
What to do : You must prepare a complete file proving the origin of your ideas.
File a patent with the INPI :
The ultimate solution is to file a patent with the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI) ; the cost is much higher than an e-Soleau envelope, count at least € 3.800 for a patent filed in France. Be careful, the price may explode depending on the countries to which the patent will apply. Once again, we recommend that you talk to an intellectual property expert for this step.
Filing a patent is no easy task! Let's take the example of a poorly advised inventor who spent more than €16.000. He has filed 3 international patents for the same invention without prior functional study. A patent registered in France with the INPI, another with the European Patent Office and the last one with the World Intellectual Property Organization based in Geneva. The problem is not to anticipate a patent application but to have gone into too much detail.
What not to do : In our example, the inventor stipulated too precise technical details: "a 12-volt rechargeable battery" "non-slip rubber feet". The patent is useless because it can be circumvented, if someone manufactures the same product with a rechargeable 6-volt battery or with metal feet instead of the rubber version ; they can distribute it legally !
What to do : You should seek experienced technical advice. At RSAI, we support our clients by listing all the technical alternatives that will allow them to circumvent a patent to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Conduct market research :
Your idea is brilliant, no doubt about it, but your product must still find a buyer. You need to do a market research to raise funds, if you already have a financial contribution then you must first create a functional prototype. It is much easier to convince future buyers by showing them a semi-finished product that works than by selling them your idea orally…
If you don't have the finance to build a prototype, don't panic, market research will allow you to raise funds to finance the design of a proto.
What not to do : rush without taking the time to understand the target market of your future product: what solutions will my product bring ? What are its advantages compared to existing products ?
What to do : The market research should include a detailed analysis of the target sector(s) of your future product. A study on the existing competition with a reflection on the advantages of your product compared to the existing one. The key chapters that must appear are: the market, demand, supply and the environment in which the product will evolve. Don't forget to attach a financial plan with a 3-year projection.
What is the purpose of a functional prototype ?
A prototype allows you to validate the technical feasibility of your idea to convince future customers and potential investors. Nothing worse than a prototype or a model that doesn't work! At RSAI, we take particular care to build our customers' prototypes by accompanying you through the technical specification stage. It is essential to take into account your sales prospects to optimize the cost price of your product from the design stage.
What to do : write a functional specification to list and freeze all the characteristics of the future product. The specifications describe the product's needs, functionalities and constraints (size, performance, weight, dimensions, temperatures, etc.). At RSAI we support our customers to build a technical specification file oriented towards mass production.
Create a company and raise funds
In parallel with the design of your prototype, it is time to create a company. You must choose your legal status according to your future projects and think about the development of your structure.
The fundraising allows you to finance the realization of your prototype or a pre-series. In general, the ideal is to set up a file with the Public Investment Bank (BPI). Other solutions such as collaborative and participatory financing (crowdfunding) can provide you with additional financing.
Industrialize your product
The industrialization of a product is the essential phase in the success of your project. You need to optimize production to simplify industrialization. At RSAI, we know how to anticipate the industrialization phase from the product design stage ; having a single point of contact from design to industrialization is a real asset.
You must also reduce the cost price of your product. At RSAI, we work upstream to give you a cost price as close as possible to reality from the drafting phase of the specifications or prototyping. The objective is to anticipate the cost price of your future product to avoid losing money on production optimization.
The quality of your product reflects your company's brand image. Electronics produced in Asia will cost less, but will the user experience be there? At RSAI, we will offer you different solutions to industrialize your product according to the quality you want.
What you shouldn't do : impose too short deadlines on yourself, it can take a year to get a product on the market.
What you need to do : take the time to validate that the prototype works and meets all the expectations of your future customers. Once mass production has started, the slightest modification will cost you a lot of money.