It can be an exciting moment when you realize a product can be more helpful. The product might be something you enjoy using or something you need, but always wished was a little better.
You might see an alternative market that a manufacturer could reach or a way to make the current market happier with the product. While your intention is in the right place, sending your idea to a manufacturer is not always the best direction to take your concept.
Here’s why you should not send your idea directly to a manufacturer (and what you should do instead).
No offense, but they’ll probably throw it away
For a company, receiving someone’s unprotected idea can feel like a substantial liability. While the individual might say they only want to improve the product, it can be a matter of time before they realize what they gave away.
To avoid liability, many companies will throw away the letter or sample they receive and behave as though they never got it. In some cases, the company will send a note thanking you, but in other cases, you might not receive any reply at all.
In some cases, a business might take advantage of the idea without giving you any credit or compensation. Depending on the situation, you might be left with limited options for compensation.
Time to protect yourself
Rather than take shortcuts, it is better to go through the steps of seeking a patent or trademark for your idea. During the process, you might find:
- The product already exists
- There is a market for the product to pursue on your own
- Creating your concept on a large scale might not be realistic
It may seem counter-intuitive, but companies that could benefit from your idea are more likely to accept your approach when you have taken measures to protect yourself and your concept. Going through the process also means that you are more likely to have experienced representation to support you for the discussions to come.