By Bruce Rubin

As a Product Development Consultant taking people and their ideas from the beginning through the sales process, I have come in contact with many people who, at the “end of the day,” reinvented the wheel.

One such story I share with potential clients is the one concerning “The Cat Mat.”

I met the developer through a mutual contact who thought the man had a saleable product.

We set up a meeting where he could bring a product sample. We met, and he did present a sample that was very crude and did not portray what he was attempting to accomplish with the product. I told him to make a better one, and then let’s meet again at the Plymouth Meeting location of the retailer that would be a prime target for the product.

We met, and this time his product sample was excellent and could be reproduced in volume.

I then took him into the store and showed him twelve feet of a product already in the store that was as good and, in many cases, better than the product he had developed.

We looked at the Copyright dates on a few of the items, and they were ten-twelve years earlier than the day we met.

My point is that “Inventors” need to do their homework when coming up with the “next big thing.”

Sitting at a computer and looking up various options on what the product does or would be called is simple and easy to do in today’s world. In many cases, the person will find that the product has already been developed and sold.

Suppose the product or something very similar did not “show up” when doing the computer searching. In that case, I suggest getting off the couch and “going shopping” to every retailer that might carry the product once it is ready for market.

This step has two advantages for the inventor. The first is to see if the product is already on the market.  And the second is to see what company a potential partner of the licensee for the product might be since they sell products like the invention and already have access that an inventor doesn’t and might not obtain.

To summarize:

If you develop a product, do your homework, and potentially save yourself time and money, and in today’s world, you may never have to leave the house.

If you’ve developed a “unique” product, then protect it through Patent or other means you will find through your Attorney.

Finally, with one product line, you need to Partner with an established company, where the sentence above comes into play.