PROCESS STATEMENT AND DISCLOSURESBelow is important information regarding our Design for Licensing process in Gold or Platinum packages.
Industrial Design: Professional service of creating products that optimize function and appearance for the mutual benefit of user and manufacturer. An industrial designer focuses on the initial stage of creating the form and general concept of a product before moving things further along in the design process to be technically refined.
Product Engineering: Process of designing and developing a product such that it can be produced as an item for sale through some manufacturing process. An engineer’s job is to focus on the technical refinement of a product while being sensitive to the design intent of the Industrial Designer. Essentially, the Product Engineer seeks to ensure that the general concept of the product works and functions as designed.
Ideation: Process of working with our industrial design team to brainstorm and generate professional sketches exploring design possibilities of your idea.
CAD: CAD or Computer-aided design is the use of computer systems to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a product design.
Virtual Prototype: Virtual prototyping is a method in the process of product development to visualize a product before the investment of physical prototyping. It involves using computer-aided design (CAD) software, coupled with rendering software to create photo-realistic images of the product.
Photo-Realistic Rendering: The process of converting CAD models into 3D images with photo-realistic effects on a computer.
Proof of Concept Prototype: A proof of concept is a realization of a certain product concept to demonstrate its feasibility and verify the core function of a product design. A proof of concept prototype will often use ‘off the shelf’ components or be a small sample of a product in order to provide the lowest cost method of demonstrating the feasibility of the design.
3D Printed Prototype: A prototype developed though a prototyping technique that uses a 3D printer to quickly fabricate a scale model of a product or product component. A 3D printed prototype can be used to demonstrate a product concept or component in its designed form. This prototype is often made of a different material than the final product version but can be an excellent low cost option to help showcase or test a product concept.
Pre-Production Prototype: A pre-production prototype is a prototype made of the final materials and components and will be designed exactly to the specifications of the desired manufactured product. A pre-production prototype is often created from soft molds or other lower cost options in order to have a finalized prototype in hand before beginning the process of getting set up for a large production run.
Manufacturer: A person or company that makes goods for sale.
Retailer: A company that buys products from manufacturers or distributors and resells them to an end consumer.
Licensing Representation: The act of a third party entity representing a person or company with a product in order to seek out a licensing agreement with a manufacturer.
Licensing Agreement: An Agreement in which one entity is granted rights to intellectual property in order to manufacture, market or distribute a product owned by another entity in exchange for a royalty payment.
Royalty: The payment paid by the licensee to the licensor, most commonly calculated as a percentage of each unit sold at wholesale price.
Wholesale Price: The price established by a manufacturer at which price point the product is sold to retailers and/or distributors.
Licensor: The licensor is the party that grants another entity permission to manufacture, market, or distribute a product in exchange for a royalty payment.
Licensee: The licensee is the entity that is granted rights to manufacture, market, and/or distribute a product based on the intellectual property owned by the licensor, and paying the licensor a royalty payment in exchange.
Revisions: Found in our Product Development Orders, revisions give a certain number of iterations or times in which our clients may make changes to the work performed while the project is being developed. The one goal of our team is to insure that our client is satisfied with the design work, prototypes, etc., and it is common the the number of revisions allotted are not utilized. Please note that once a project is approved by the client and closed, no further revisions will be allowed.
Contingency: An arrangement in which the entity representing a product only collects fees for performing that service if they secure a licensing agreement.
What is included in the Gold or Platinum package?
Our Gold package includes six major components. The first component is ‘ideation’ in which our clients work with our industrial design team to generate professional sketches exploring design possibilities of their idea. Following ‘ideation’ we create the 3D CAD model of a product. Once the 3D CAD model has been completed we do photorealistic renderings of the product concept (virtual prototype). so our clients can see what their product looks like brought to life. Our Gold package also includes a professional logo, a top notch product presentation and provisional patent drawings. The Platinum package includes all of these items in addition to an animation video of the product.
Does the Gold/Platinum package include a physical prototype?
The main focus of the Gold and Platinum package is to create the 3D CAD model of a product. These packages do not include a physical prototype but once the professional concept design is completed we can certainly discuss prototype options as an additional service.
Can I have my product pitched without a physical prototype?
Absolutely! Our talented design team can create products in 3D CAD that look photorealistic. We find this is more than enough to generate interest in products and in fact gives us an advantage as we can send a digital version of a product concept to many companies at once without the hassle of shipping out physical prototypes. Additionally, if a prospective licensee is interested in a product and would like a prototype we can often times receive valuable feedback from that company and design a prototype around their desired specifications.
Who will pay for my prototype if I need one?
If a prototype is requested the cost is most commonly covered by the inventor. However, if a potential licensee requests to see a prototype the inventor is in a fantastic position. The inventor now knows someone is interested in their product and can even design the prototype to the prospective licensee’s desired specifications. Additionally, in some instances we have even had prospective licensees with a very strong interest in products cover the cost of the prototype and enter into an Option Agreement. This of course doesn’t happen every time, but if someone is asking to see a prototype; good things are in the making!
How do I know my product will function and work properly without a physical prototype?
We have an incredibly talented design team and you can be certain that they are working hard to design products that will work in the real world. That said until you move further along in the product development process and do some prototype testing you can never be 100% certain everything functions exactly as planned. That said, if a product is uniquely complex and hinges on the engineering feasibility, we have engineering solutions we can offer as an additional service.
Does Enhance attend trade shows? Will my product be displayed at a booth at the trade shows or is it pitched directly to potential licensees?
We attend multiple shows a year which has helped us to develop many great connections in a wide variety of industries. While at face value it seems having a booth at a trade show would be advantageous to securing licensing deals, years of licensing experience tells us otherwise. We don’t actually set up booths at shows because not having a booth gives us the advantage of being mobile as we can then facilitate exponentially more conversations about products. We do so in a strategic manner, focusing on meeting with companies well positioned to sell products under their brand. Often we are able to make presentations at the show, whereas other times we make the connection at the show and pitch the product to the company at a later date. Either way, we have the freedom to seek out who we want and we aren’t stuck sitting back behind a booth, hoping the right people will come to us. Further, when you have a booth, most of the time you speak with companies or entities that have no interest in licensing inventions, such as distributors or shop owners. We have seen significantly more meaningful conversations happen by being mobile and virtually all of our success at trade shows has come from this strategy.
Can I just have you do design work and not represent my product?
Absolutely! Licensing representation is optional and we have clients do just the design process with us all the time.
Can I pursue companies with my product on my own?
Absolutely! Our licensing representation is non-exclusive. We only ask that our clients keep us informed about who they will be reaching out to so we can avoid any crossover.
What happens if I get a deal on my own?
Our licensing representation agreement is non-exclusive so clients are more than welcome to pursue deals on their own. We are only entitled to a share of the royalties on deals that we initiate and/or negotiate for our clients.
Do you own any rights to my product because you designed it?
Nope! Our clients own 100% of their products. We own 0%.
Who will be manufacturing my product if you find a licensee?
When a company licenses a product they take on manufacturing and all costs associated.
What are the credentials of the individuals working on my project?
Enhance recruits and hires the best industrial designers from the top schools throughout the nation. For a Gold or Platinum package it is the industrial designers who are chiefly responsible to flesh out the concept with our clients, develop the 3D CAD and in conjunction with our graphic design team create the product presentations, logo and or animations. We also have engineers on our team whose primary focus is technical refinement which is a subsequent service to a Gold or Platinum package.
Once my design is done will it be ready for manufacturing?
Depending upon the complexity of a product, the required product development work to get a product ready for manufacturing can vary greatly. This can include the initial form in CAD, 3D printing, engineering work (mechanical, electrical or software) and prototype testing. While the professional concept design we create for our clients is developed in software utilized by manufacturers, it does not include internal components, chipsets, etc., but rather provides the external form and surfaces for the engineers. This is extremely important and has intrinsic value since it is the first step of professional product development. By way of example, if a client’s invention is a new Smartphone, the CAD received in a Gold or Platinum Package would not include the internal components and thus not be manufacture ready. Alternatively, if the invention is a new cell phone case (with no electronics), the CAD received will be very near manufacture ready. We can certainly develop a manufacture ready product at an additional cost, but again our strategy is to keep our client’s costs as low as possible as we help our clients gauge the interest level in their products.
Can you develop several versions of my product for me?
While we are certainly capable of developing as many versions of inventions as needed, each additional version requires separate CAD, and thus is treated as a separate project.
Can you make sure my idea is patentable?
We always recommend that our clients have a patent search performed that includes an opinion of patentability by a registered patent attorney prior to entering into product development. The decision to proceed is ultimately up to our client, and whereas our design team will certainly do their best to seek solutions that are novel, we cannot make any guarantees regarding patentability. The volume of products that have been invented or are currently being developed is vast, and ultimately the final decision for granting a patent is in the hands of the patent examiner.
Can I be certain everything was found in the patent search?
We will certainly utilize best efforts to find any prior art related to our clients products. That being said, the U.S patent database has over 10,000,000 million patents, and no search, no matter how exhaustive, can guarantee everything will be found.
How long will you represent my product?
We dedicate a full business quarter to pitching a product for our clients. If we have interest from potential licensees or are engaged in meaningful conversations in our presentations, we often request an extension of the representation term with our client since it is our goal to succeed in attaining a license deal on their behalf.
How long will it take before I know if there is any interest in my product and how often will I get updates?
We get a really good sense of interest within the first few months of representing and pass any feedback on to our clients (positive or negative) as fast as it comes in.
Are there any fees associated with licensing representation?
Nope! By doing a Gold or Platinum design package with us, our clients automatically qualify for licensing representation on a contingency. This means we cover all of our travel expenses and costs associated with pitching the product and we are only compensated if we find a deal for our client.
How do I know you will work hard to seek out a deal for me?
We intentionally structure things on a contingency to demonstrate that we have our client’s best interest in mind. We cover all of our own travel expenses and don’t bill our clients for any time or effort put into seeking out licensing deals. Our clients can be confident it is in our best interest to thoroughly follow up with any potential interest in a product as we only get paid if we find a deal.
Will you be reaching out to major retailers like Target or Walmart?
Big retailers like Target and Walmart don’t usually license products, rather, they buy and resell products from companies that do the manufacturing. Our goal is to get our client’s product in front of companies that are currently manufacturing products and selling into the big retailers like Target or Walmart and getting those companies to license products from our clients. Further, if a client were to license to just one retailer, that product would only sell in that retailer’s stores, thus minimizing sales and royalties.
Can you share more about the various business in which Enhance is engaged?
Enhance is a product innovation company that spans across numerous industry sectors. We have a full product development team, from concept sketching to CAD/engineering to prototyping to full-scale manufacturing; and we have numerous partners to manufacture products ranging from plastic injection molding to cut-and-sew. We have been heavily involved in crowdfunding, launching several successful campaigns, primarily in home electronic and toy/games. Additionally, we have a robust product distribution network that includes direct to consumer, Amazon, catalogs, international and we are a vendor to major retailers, such as Walmart, Target, Lowe’s and Bed Bath & Beyond. Given the unique nature of our business, it would not be accurate to suggest that Enhance is an invention promotion company, since those operating in that space simply do not have these capabilities or level of sophistication in the entire life cycle of product development and distribution. That said, some of our clients are independent entrepreneurs, and while we do help some of those clients to seek out licensing deals, this is not the sole focus of our business. We are a full-service professional design firm with clients ranging from existing brands to startups, and often our clients just hire us for design work and end up taking the product to market on their own. Due to various statues and legislation that govern invention promotion companies, out of an abundance of caution we do want to disclose that we do not perform evaluations (as explained below), but rather always encourage inventors to seek a patent search with opinion of patentability from an attorney prior to undertaking product development. Further, we have had 784 independent entrepreneurs as clients in the past five years that have hired us for various product design and/or prototyping services, which typically includes defined deliverables of concept sketching, CAD, graphics, logos, models, etc. These clients selected an optional on-contingency license representation for three months, and of those clients we know of three who have made more money than they have paid Enhance in fees. At Enhance we do want to caution that for any independent entrepreneur bringing a product to market is a risk and the odds of success are generally low across the board. That being said we do believe quality design work is the best place to begin the process as it will give products the best chance of being noticed and taken seriously. Additionally, we have a number of projects that we can share with you that we have worked on that were successfully licensed and are out on the market.
Will you evaluate my idea and tell me its odds of success?
At Enhance our philosophy is to get products in front of real companies and let the market be the judge. Evaluations can be helpful but ultimately there really is no way to know if a product will succeed or not until it is developed and given a chance. Our professional design team is prepared to give you the best design possible and we structure our licensing representation agreements on a contingency so our clients know we will work hard to give their product the best chance of success we can.
Can I come visit your office?
Absolutely! We love when clients come visit us. We have many local clients however a large portion of our client base are from all over the nation and even the world. Our design process is crafted in a way that allows us to successfully complete everything through phone calls, email or video conferencing so visiting our office is not a requirement.