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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Rodrigo, good afternoon, sir. What’s happening, guys? Good to see you both again.

Good to see you. Yeah, thank you for coming on, and it was actually my fault I didn’t get him the link. Guys, anybody out there, hey, we’re talking about chewing gum. I’m gonna just throw a question, and by the way, I love that book right there.

Yeah, it’s nice. Thanks, brother. Read it twice. What do you think? Highly recommend it.

Oh, thank you, sir. Good job. This container, if you can see on my screen, I got the Icebreakers gum container, right? Something really simple. From your perspective, what would it take to kind of come up with a final design, you know, for a package for something like that if someone has an innovative package or, you know, container?

Yeah, I mean, look, I treat most products pretty much the same way. There’s a design process that we work. You know, the idea through, and it starts with concept development, which is understanding the price requirements of the project, the user requirements, the materials. You know, and with that information, we can figure out a price point that makes sense to make that at, and the price point is very important, man. Like, so for a product like you’re showing me, that package cost has to be made for, like, in pennies, you know? Okay, and it would only be done in very high volume. So, you know, that lets you understand, like, the molds have to be larger and more cavities. Um, the cheaper the product, the more fast you have to be able to make the parts, you know, like, spit them out quickly. Yeah, but the idea is to really sketch out the concept. We do the research first, see what the competition’s doing, like, what does the competition look like, right? So we get a good analysis of your landscape. And then from there, we can say, okay, well, these guys are doing very square things, but these guys are doing something cool, and, you know, maybe we can do something a little bit different. So we want to start looking for the angles that haven’t been done already because if somebody’s doing something that’s round and somebody that’s square, I mean, well, okay, well, let’s what else can we, there’s a million different shapes we can come up with. We don’t have to make the exact same thing that somebody else is making, you know? I love that. Okay, so you’re not just taking what your customers give you and just going and building it. There is that, hey, let’s look at the market. Let’s look at the competition. I love that.

There are some clients that are very particular, and they want things exactly a certain way, and we can do that. That’s not a problem. But the value that I bring really comes in helping the person understand, okay, I shouldn’t do it this way because it’s going to cost me twice as much later in tooling, right?

Yep. Um, you know, and really, we’re thinking all the time about how can it be manufactured at the price point that’s going to allow them to make the maximum amount of margins that they need so that they can come back to us again and we can repeat it on another product. Love that. Okay.

Okay, I see we have a few live people out there. Thank you for the one like out there. It’s awesome. If anybody has any questions for Rodrigo, we got him for another 15 minutes. I want you guys to bring those questions on. He’s here to answer anything related to design, product design, manufacturing, it sounds like as well. Um, I put the title up there, top three tips. If you could just off the top of your head, I don’t give you any warning, okay, for someone getting into this for the first time, what should they be thinking about?

I mean, the first thing you want to do is you want to write the idea down. You want to sketch it out. Um, you know, I typically, so number one, sketch it out and draw it. Draw it out right to the best of your ability. You don’t have to be a Da Vinci or anything, but you should be able to just rough it out, your sketch, so that everybody can understand, you know. So you can start understanding the product better, right?

Yep. So, you know, necessarily just go to get it on paper, pen and paper, put it on paper because it starts becoming more real as you first put it on paper or also, I talked, I had a podcast that I spoke with somebody the other day, uh, today actually, um, and Cody, who’s working on a product called The Vento Rake, and he came up with this idea 21 years ago, and sometimes you don’t have the means to do these things for a while, you know, and an idea is sitting there, and he went and, you know, every time he went to Home Depot, he kept being reminded of his idea. So, you know, eventually he did it, man, but it starts with drawing it out, writing it out, and that creates intent and that creates, you know, energy being dedicated towards that idea. Now it’s something that could be real. Right now, it’s not just a thought anymore, you know. So that’s the first thing, write it down, sketch it out to the best of your ability. Number two, do a quick Google patent search. I usually like to recommend they do that just to get an idea. That being said, there’s no way that an average person can do the same quality of patent search as a trained professional, right? But I do think it’s important to at least have a general idea of what they can find, what your competition will look like, uh, patent-wise. Love that. And the next thing is, you know, you really want to work with somebody that has a plan for you, you know what I’m saying, like, there’s people that’ll just make you a prototype, but is that really what you want? Do you want to make a prototype or do you want to sell your product? Do you want to manufacture a product and then sell it, right? It’s two completely different things. If a prototype, you know, can be used just to show how it looks, but a more refined prototype will show exactly how it’s going to be manufactured and have the files, the 3D files to back that. Got it. Love it. So someone’s kind of taking a longer-term plan, you know, yeah, you get all the way to market, and as you were kind of talking about with that first idea, right, don’t just go build it so you can hold onto it, build it and think about it so you can think about, you know, the cost, right, how you’re going to have to make it, what the tooling is like, all that. Yeah, yeah, and then I mean, I know it’s not fun, but creating a business plan can be extremely, you know, informative when you’re putting any idea forward, and it does take time to try to understand how much each step will take and what it looks like, but that gives you the information to know how many you ultimately need to sell to make the money you’re trying to make on the investment.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at