What are the pitfalls of creating a new product utilizing an existing component? How to avoid them?
June 9th, 2016
Together with an established company I am developing a new product in the wellness market. However, one main component will be a modified component of a company that is operating in a similar, yet different market segment. They would be prepared to change the design in case I placed a significant order. Hence, as long as I don't know about the success of this product I would need to deal with the customization by myself. This problem can be dealt with. However, I am wondering whether a preliminary patent would sufficiently protect me from that vendor hijacking my product idea. Thank you for your insights!
If by "preliminary" you mean 'provisional' you need to understand that a provisional or even a non-provisional patent application won't protect you from anyone 'hijacking' your idea. Only once a patent is actually issued do you get any 'protection' and that protection is simply a legal basis for a law suit. The patent in and of itself won't stop anyone from using, making or selling 'your' idea. A provisional or even a pending application (utility for example) has no teeth until it issues. that can take years and tens of thousands of dollars. If you are right and you are able to eventually get a well crafted patent you will then have the legal right to go after others who infringe. In the mean time understand that what you put in your non-provisional will be published to the world (assuming they know to go and look) so your competitor could take your new idea and run with it and hope either you never get your patent or if you do that you won't have the resources to fight. All things to consider.