Turning an Idea into an Invention

By Melinda Martin | Inventors

Aug 04

In today’s video blog with Andrew and Larry, the guys talk about turning your idea into an invention with AON Invent and All Product Design.

Read The Transcript Here

Hey, this is Andrew Bojie with All Product Design.

And this is Larry Robertson with AON Invent.

We’re going to talk to you a little bit about the difference between an idea or a concept and an invention. Do you ever see people come to you and they think they’ve got an invention and really they’ve just got an idea?

Every single day. Several times a day. And we knew that when we opened AON Invent, we knew from past experience over two decades of dealing with invention concepts that we were going to run into that. And it’s interesting. It continues to happen every day. Andrew, I think you have an example.

Well, if I was to come to you and say, “Hey, Larry. You’ve seen these rolls of tape that they sell in the stores. Well, I’ve got this concept, this invention, what it would be is if we took this tape and if we had a dispenser for it of some sort so that this actually sat in a dispenser and you were able to pull of just the right length and use it and that’s my invention. What would you say?

I would say, “It’s a good concept. How does it work?”

Well, I don’t know. But there needs to be some way of cutting off, and that’s my invention.

Okay, right there you’ve got an idea. At that point I would say to you, “It sounds like a viable idea, so we would probably give that a two star, but it’s not yet commercially viable because you haven’t shared a substantive explanation that will allow us to transform that into an invention.”

Well, when I get to the stage that “Well, when you spin it it’s going to run through the core of this and there’s going to be a serrated blade that will be at the end so you can pull this out, keeping this under tension, cutting it off at that point keeping it the length you want.” In that point I’m in the realm of having an invention?

You’re getting much closer. The thing I would recommend at that point is to utilize the services of maybe a friend, family member, or a local design company if you have one available or very easily to transfer the call, ride over to your company, All Product Design. You guys work with consumer product companies every single day. You have literally hundreds of millions (dollars) of products in production and in engineering and design phases. You can very quickly probably within a 5 minute phone call in many cases in an ideation session (maybe it takes longer than that) to wrap your head around the inventor’s concept so that you can then flesh that out. You might explain the process.

Essentially we’re going to start out with a short phone call with yourselves, understand the idea. Larry would also engage with us after he’s had a consultation with you and his team so we will get an idea of the concept and where you’re heading. We’ll then bring our crew together, we’ll go through some ideation, and consider we know where you’re headed, What’s the best that this product can be? We always want to make things as good as they possibly can be. We’re essentially partnering with you. At this point, we’ll then do the engineering, CAD design work, maybe not a finished CAD at this point, but prove the principle. We’ll get this piece working and from that we’ll be able to extrapolate the patent drawings and the in house patent stuff that we have here.

Just keep in mind that the patent is totally dependent on the quality of the patent and the protection that it’s going to offer us all long term is going to be totally dependent on the specifics, the claims of that patent, and the individual points that we’re identifying as the invention. I mean it’s not a dowel rod stuck through a roll of tape. That’s not an invention. It will be the interaction between you, the inventor, and Andrew and his team or another engineering firm if you choose to that will help you get to the point where you have an actual invention where you can come back and submit to AON Invent.

We’ll take another look at it, whether it’s a free submission or a paid submission, we’ll take another look at it. And if you’ve paid for that submission, there’s no additional charge for that.  And if it is at that point a three star item, then we can submit it into that third and final step. Whatever level of engineering and design help that you need, if you choose to work with All Product Design, that’s between you and All Product Design. In most cases, it may be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. In some cases, more than that.

We just had an example with an individual who had a fantastic idea, a strong 3 star item, we both fell in love with it immediately, but he took a lot of the burden on himself and spent well above $250,000 to get the item there, and we calculated that had he come in initially through AON and if we had evaluated that product that idea at $249 that we would have pointed out, “You need a lot of engineering and design help to really flesh this concept out.” If we would have turned that over to All Product Design, he would probably would have had about $25,000 in that product to get it to where it is now. But now he has more than ten times that amount, more than a quarter of a million dollars!

In some cases, what we’re seeing on average is probably $2000 – $4000 worth of engineering and design work, and that’s to actually get a raw idea from an individual’s head to get it to the point where we can actually show a 3D presentation of that product that looks nearly like a finished good.  And so that’s another service that we have available. It’s not a mandatory service. If you can produce that on your own, that’s fabulous, but we can take a look and let you know exactly what you’re going to need during that evaluation service.

Essentially what Larry is saying is that Larry and his crew have done a tremendous job at keeping the AON prices as low as they can possibly be. If you bring in an invention, then that’s where it goes. If you’re bringing in an idea that isn’t yet an invention, then you need to get it to that stage either through All Product Design or through resources that you have at your own disposal.

And from my experience it’s really hard to beat All Product Design’s offerings and speed and the way of pricing and certainly from a quality standpoint. And frankly one of the other benefits is if All Product Design does the concept presentation in CAD for example it lends itself for a very smooth transition and refinement to the tool. Andrew why don’t you speak to the difference there, because I think inventors are often confused that a CAD drawing is a CAD drawing. And we know that’s not true.

Exactly, very few of the CAD drawings that we receive in here to do processing on in one way or another are actually manufacturer-ready or in any way ready. The manufacturing process hasn’t been fleshed out. The details that would necessitate demolding and one of the different aspects would be on the design is very often problematic and hasn’t been proven and tested and stuff like that. So it really is, you need to make sure that whoever you are using really understands the process through and through. Otherwise you’re going to wind up with something very substandard and will affect you far down the road.

And when you are looking at in many cases a CAD file, you may look at two images that look very much the same. One image has in it, embedded in it, virtually all of the measurements, all the specifications, and the other one is simply an image. Touch on that for a moment.

Depending on which program it was created in and those kinds of things, there’s a difference and a lot of things can look identical and stuff like that but they are impossible to pull engineering and geometry out of and those things that you need. You need to know what you are looking at.

I appreciate you Andrew for explaining that. We appreciate all of you who have submitted your inventions. We look forward to talking with each of you soon and seeing your ideas submitted into Step Two.


About the Author

Melinda is a blogger, graphic designer, and stay-at-home mom living in Palestine, Texas.