The Top 5 Factors that Make a Company a Good Potential Licensee

The Top 5 Factors that Make a Company a Good Potential Licensee

So many inventors begin the licensing phase of their journey and want to license their product to a company who isn’t an ideal fit for their product. Before you start to pitch your idea to a company to get your product on the shelves, make sure to remember these five things: The company is a Manufacturer! Not a Retailer or Wholesaler! You are starting out with a new idea which has not been mass produced, packaged, or marketed yet. The first step in getting your product mass produced, packaged, and on the shelves, is to start with a manufacturer. You do not want to license your product to retailers or wholesalers since they do not have the means to mass produce your product. Some retailers or wholesalers do manufacture products, but they are typically private label brands or store brands and are not actually manufactured by that company, which limits your product to just selling in that store. You want a company that can manufacture and distribute your product to a multitude of wholesalers and/or retailers. This can be done either through direct selling, retail sale, or wholesale (see image above). The company is based in the country you are protected in. Before licensing your product, you want to ensure you have adequately filed for some sort of protection over your idea. You should have at least a Provisional Application. Your protection is only good in the country you file under. You want to aim for companies that are based in the county that you are protected in. This means you want companies whose Corporate Headquarters are located in...
By Inventors, For Inventors | The Story of Clever Tongs

By Inventors, For Inventors | The Story of Clever Tongs

We at Enhance get to chat with people from all over the world. People who have dreams, ideas, and concepts that they are excited about and eager to get started. Frankly, we love it. We are so keyed into the excitement and high that one gets when they are in pursuit of their next big idea, as it’s a very familiar feeling to us! How do we know what that feels like? We’re inventors ourselves! As such, we like to tailor our approach to product development to highlight the best, most fun, and most meaningful aspects of the process so as to ensure that our inventor clients not only receive professional-quality, meaningful product development and design materials, but also so our clients enjoy this exciting and exhilarating creative process! In our Invention Lab, we are constantly brainstorming, and analyzing new ways that we can solve everyday problems with the hopes of identifying the next big thing, or sometimes even the next little thing that can make life a little bit easier or more enjoyable! A few years ago, I identified a potential new kitchen utensil that may alleviate the need to have both a spatula and a set of tongs in one’s kitchen drawer. I created some sketches on my own, and built a prototype with off-the-shelf parts and tried it out! Lo and behold, it worked like a charm! I presented the idea to our team and they took my idea from being a simple concept, and made it into a beautiful and elegant tool that anyone would be proud to have in their own kitchen. Each step...
Learn About Design: Designing with Type

Learn About Design: Designing with Type

Typography is a crucial element of good design. It is the visual voice that directly communicates to the reader and bridges imagery and meaning together. Three points to consider when incorporating text are Relevance, Readability, and Placement. Relevance Type can portray a sense of personality. Themes can feature sharp or rounded corners, thin or thick strokes, swooping or jagged embellishments that contribute to an overall look and feel that represent your words and message. Is your message meant to sound modest, loud, happy, or smart? Is your goal to display a primitive, modern, or futuristic motif? Historical and geographical relevance is something to consider as well. The origin and associative use of certain fonts can have an impact on your audience. Serif and San serif Typefaces can reflect different moods and resemble designs of the past, present, or future. Script fonts can have accentuating flourishes to over emphasize formality or tradition. Thinner strokes can feel more elegant where bolder strokes may emit strength. Some typefaces have recognizable character inspired by creative methods and stylings of specific regions or cultures. And many others are developed specifically to represent a desired look or emotion. Choosing a typeface with a lot of distinguishable character may appear interesting, but be aware of fonts that are recognizably over used or commonly associated with a specific brand as it may dull your creative impact. Find a fitting balance between an interesting look that works well within your layout. Using multiple typefaces might clutter up a layout and create a conflict of style. A safe practice to avoid such disarray, is to stick with two fonts...
Keys to the Capitals board game makes positive impact on Autism community

Keys to the Capitals board game makes positive impact on Autism community

A dream nearly 25 years in the making.  What started as a basic idea with a simplistic prototype grew into a successfully launched board game, and is helping spread an important message: no matter the circumstances or obstacles in life, inventing a new concept is a real possibility for everyone. Keys To The Capitals, a board game now selling through Amazon, was invented by Tony Tinervia in 1991 when he started with just a basic prototype.  For many years Tinervia worked on different game ideas, having to do with sports and sports teams, but eventually changed his focus to geography games. He would sit down and focus on creating games for hours, and he still has many of the original game designs today.  Keys to The Capitals is a simple and fun board game created to help kids as young as seven years old learn all the names of the states and their capitals in the United States, all while enjoying time with friends and family. He built and tested Keys To The Capitals with family members on a model made from National Geographic maps until 2015, when he reached out to Enhance Product Development to help him build a retail-ready version of the game. “Getting my prototype built with the Enhance team, and having that in hand to play and test, was my favorite part of this process,” said Tinervia.  Working collaboratively with Enhance Product Development, he could see how the game would look and feel to an average player.  As a first step, a patent search was completed on this game to determine the patentability of the...
Enhance Product Development Finalist For Two Housewares Global Innovation Awards

Enhance Product Development Finalist For Two Housewares Global Innovation Awards

Enhance Product Development, a Minneapolis-based design firm serving brand-name consumer product companies, start-ups and inventors alike, is turning heads in the housewares industry. Known for developing “smart solutions to real problems” on behalf of their clientele, Enhance was notified that two of its licensed products were finalists for the highly coveted IHA Global Innovation Awards. “We are both thrilled and humbled,” said Trevor Lambert, the founder and CEO of Enhance. “It is validation that our design process and methodology achieves meaningful results for our clients and licensees. In the end, that will always be our core focus.” The two products up for awards are the Skillet Slingers, a hand tool for browning ground-meats, and Exact Egg Boiler, a kitchenware solution that results in perfect hard-boiled eggs. The Skillet Slingers functions as a tool to claw, chop and grind the meat into perfect crumbles in at least half the time when compared to spatulas or wooden spoons. “During development, our slogan was, ‘claw, chop, grind…a way to brown meat, a way of life,'” said Lambert with a smile. “That may give you a window into the creative culture we have here at Enhance. That said, the product really works. After prototyping and sending them out for user feedback, nobody would give them back! That’s when we knew we were onto something special.” The Exact Egg Boiler consists of a rack that cradles eggs in place to prevent cracking during a rolling boil while simultaneously incorporating a user-friendly rinsing funnel that channels water to cool each egg evenly. It has been noted that at first glance, the product appears to be...
Learn About Design: Design for Licensing vs. Design For Manufacturing

Learn About Design: Design for Licensing vs. Design For Manufacturing

One of the most common questions we get is “What is the difference between Design for Licensing and Design for Manufacturing?” In regards to our process at in Enhance, we recommend Design for Licensing first! Design for Licensing is where we develop a concept, which can range from a napkin sketch to a redesign of an existing product. In this phase, the computer-aided model or CAD is developed for licensing purposes and does not have engineer features. The CAD is then used to make the renderings for marketing. Once the product development is completed in the design phase, it will enter the licensing phase, where it is pitched to potential licensees and manufacturers. A Design for Licensing package, would include photo-realistic images (renderings) that would show the concept as if it were a physical product, with color and material choices. Design for Manufacturing usually occurs further down the road. If a marketing deal is struck in the licensing phase, the product will move into the engineering phase where the product will be developed for manufacturing. The engineer will take the conceptual design and CAD files from the design phase and continue to refine them for mass production. Example of Design for Manufacturing would be adjusting tolerances, draft angles, and fasteners. The Design for Licensing route is a much more cost-effective way to bring the concept to life.  It can show how the product would possibly function without going into a huge amount detail regarding the  ins-and-outs of the product. Terms: CAD– Computer-Aided Design Molds– Use a male and female housing to receptivity create production-ready parts Renderings– a work of...
Am I An Inventor?

Am I An Inventor?

There are common questions that arise when you tell people that you’re an inventor: “Like Ron Popeil?” “Like Doc Brown?” “Like The Nutty Professor?” “Like that J-Law movie?” There are so many film and television portrayals of inventors, and a number of cliches that pop up from time to time, that it can be difficult to pin down exactly what a true inventor looks like. The fact of the matter is that the word “Inventor” conjures up some pretty diverse mental images—from zany, absent-minded professors with “hair-brained” ideas, to down-on-their-luck ne’er-do-wells who happen upon million-dollar ideas out of necessity. There are very few other titles that produce such a variety of invocations. But in reality, that’s what makes being an inventor great and unique, and also what makes the classic Hollywood representations of Inventors accurate in a roundabout way; there is no one type of inventor. At Enhance, we speak to people from all over the globe who have identified ways to simplify daily living for themselves and those around them using their wits and ingenuity. Of course, some folks get lucky and stumble into it, but that only serves to prove the point. I was recently asked to describe the prototypical Enhance client—nationality, age, race, average income, etc. While conducting research before giving my answer, I looked through my client files, and realized that it felt like I was coasting through the “It’s A Small World” ride at Disneyland. The diversity was stunning. There is literally no nationality, age group, race, or earning bracket that stands out as being more prolific, innovative, or prominent than any other. In...
Learn About Design: Photo-Realistic Rendering or Virtual Prototyping

Learn About Design: Photo-Realistic Rendering or Virtual Prototyping

Rend – er – ing: a work of visual art, especially a detailed process drawing which uses color and shading to make it appear solid and three dimensional. For most, this is not a familiar term, despite the fact that we observe renderings on a regular basis. Renderings are the photo-realistic images of many of the products found on the market today. The idea here is to have full control to manipulate lighting environments, textures, and depth of field of CAD models to make them nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. There are many rendering programs that exist today, including Vray, Maxwell, Octane, and Keyshot, that industrial designers use to produce these renderings. After first making a CAD model of a product, these programs allow users to select specific surfaces to apply textures and colors on. Once all of the surfaces have been placed appropriately to each piece of the model, it is now time to select a lighting environment. Environments range from a variety of photographic-studio lighting options, to offices, to outdoor scenes, each with unique lighting attributes that can be adjusted to get the perfect image every time. The obvious advantage to this is the maximum range of adjustability designers have over the appearance of products in a matter of minutes. Whether it’s changing a product colorway or placing it in the middle of a grassy field, computer rendering programs allow for quick, convenient changes prior to making a prototype of the same quality or materials. ——- Enhance Product Development is a professional design firm that specializes in launching new products for inventors, entrepreneurs and start ups. ...
Learn About Design: Prototyping and 3D Printing Options

Learn About Design: Prototyping and 3D Printing Options

3D printing is a manufacturing process that allows for the construction of a three dimensional solid object from a digital file. A 3D printer works by laying out successive layers of material, one on top of the other, until the entire form is constructed. 3D printing can be a great and economical resource for creating a physical prototype of your concept. There are a variety of 3D printer and software options on the market today and a wide array of materials can be 3D printed, from ABS plastic to rubber, precious metals, or even chocolate! Not all 3D printers use the same technology. Here at Enhance, our 3D printer uses the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) method. In order to get a part 3d printed, you will need to have a virtual design of the object you intend to create. This CAD (Computer Aided Design) file is sliced into hundreds of horizontal layers and uploaded to the 3D printer which will read and process each slice. Once your CAD file is uploaded to the printer, ABS plastic is unwound from a coiled spool of material and then melted and dispensed through an extrusion nozzle. Each layer of plastic hardens immediately, once it is extruded from the nozzle. The printer continues to blend each layer on top of the last, resulting in one three dimensional object! 3D printing has many advantages. It allows for levels of complexity that often could not be produced through traditional manufacturing processes. 3D printing does not require any additional tooling, which is typically the most cost, time and labor intensive stages of product development. 3D printing...
Learn About Design: Engineering/CAD Programs | Solidworks

Learn About Design: Engineering/CAD Programs | Solidworks

CAD or computer-aided design is the act of using computers in creating, modifying, or optimizing a design. There are a variety of CAD programs used by industrial designers, engineers, architects, draftsmen, video-game developers, and digital artists depending on what kind of model is to be created. Some CAD programs available are used to create purely visual models while some are used to create models of products that are to be machined/injection molded/printed and everywhere in between. At Enhance, we use Solidworks and sometimes Rhino, to create 3D models and sometimes 3D printed prototypes of our clients’ concepts. Solidworks allows a user to create 3D geometry through a variety of different tools and commands for example: the extrude command elongates a shape from a plane based on a contour drawn by the designer to a desired length on one or both sides. Extrude-cut does the same but takes away from the solid instead of adding to it. Each of these features in Solidworks can have multiple options/parameters, giving its user thousands of different ways to build a model. Once a model has been finished in Solidworks, we use a stand-alone rendering software to apply textures/materials/lighting to make photo-realistic renderings of what the finished product might look like. If the product is to be 3D printed to test its functional aspects, the designer will build the correct tolerances allowed by our 3D printer while modelling the product as to make sure all of his parts move freely/snap closed etc. the way that they should. CAD software is a valuable tool for a designer because allows one to quickly see and make...