Welcome to Inventors Patents.
When l developed the “Thread the Maze Puzzle”, David realised that it would probably sell for a couple of years before it ran out of steam so a “Patent Pending” was the best option.
Patent pending is a Patent that is in the process of being finalised so if someone else did rip off the product they could be in legal trouble.
But if someone did try to anyway, by the time their products hit the shelves my products would be slowing down and they wouldn't make much of a profit.
A Patent pending may not need to be finalised if the product will sell for a short period of time and the chances of another Company ripping you off are small, but ultimately the Toy Company you are dealing with will know what the best option is.
If it is a board game which may sell indefinitely or for 5, 6 years then a Patent is a great idea and would mean that if someone did rip you off, you can take them to court and sue the offender for damages and losses incurred.
Inventors Patents don't guarantee that your idea is a 100% protected, but it is better than nothing.
If they modify your idea by more than 10% then they can develop a legal product, although you could still take them to court, but if you lose, even though your Toy Company is taking on the matter some costs could fall on your shoulders.
That is one reason why l have spent 7 years working in this field, because developing an invention like a better Mousetrap, can be very expensive and risky because the inventor, unless he can find backers usually incurs all the costs and risks, legal and otherwise.
I would rather develop fun ideas than come up with the cash, mass produce the product, find distributors and advertise, etc the idea.
I remember seeing a couple on TV that developed a “children's power socket wall protector”. It was a clear plastic cover that slid over the power socket and didn't look that strong or practical. But they were convinced that they had a winner on their hands so they invested $10,000 of their hard earned cash into the worldwide Patent and who knows how much into product development (plastic components in Australia usually cost at least $6000 to $100,000 depending on colours complexity of pieces etc).
“And the idea flopped”.
Which ultimately shows that dealing with a Company that has considerably more experience than you do, but has trouble developing ideas is the cheapest way for someone with little or no capital to make substantial profits.
On rare occasions you may need to develop an idea with your money, but is up to you whether you do it or not.
I remember one time when l decided to invest about $100 dollars of my own money into a 3D clear plastic fish stacking puzzle, where you had to match up all the coloured fish designs in clear stacking disks.
I had to find a laser-cutter to cut them, which was an interesting experience within itself watching how an industrial laser works.
The idea unfortunately didn't get accepted, but after making a $9,300 profit from my first success, it didn't bother me much.
Blue Opals Licensing agreement is fair, and l have had it checked out by a Solicitor who didn't raise anything to be concerned about. And as said before l have been with Blue Opal for 7 years and haven't had any problems with their Contract agreements and they have always been up front with any changes or modifications made.
Some Companies have been known to rip inventors off, like signing an Agreement and then stalling with developing an idea while pushing a similar product and pocketing the inventors Royalties, or modifying the idea by more than 10% to sell and possibly “legally” keep the inventors Royalties.
You have probably heard some of these stories yourself.
In board game, puzzle development stories like this are rare, and the Toy Company through negative word of mouth and inventors filing Court actions, wouldn't be around for long.
You will realise after dealing with these Companies for a while, that they are a tight knitted group and any unreasonable actions wouldn't be tolerated for long.
Another important point to make is when you develop your first successful idea; a good idea for the next few months as you co-develop the idea is to develop as many variations as possible.
Because if the idea is big enough other Toy Companies may develop variations and potentially take some of your thunder (or profits) away from you and the Company you are dealing with.
I know when l developed the “Thread the Maze Puzzle”, l developed every other variation possible, so apart from a possible second success, l was confident that the competition probably wouldn't develop any variations to this theme.
Also don't worry about someone else developing your idea at the same time, it is extremely unlikely and l have never heard of it happening.
But rest assured if it did happen, since as stated before most Toy Companies are tight knitted and deal with each other on a regular basis, fair play and honesty are the rules rather than the exception so a fair solution would be found.
A good idea, (although probably unnecessary) is to as soon as you have a success you should sign the contract as soon as possible.
And if it is only sold in Australia and New Zealand you will earn far less than worldwide sales, probably a few thousand. But something is better than nothing and you can still go on that luxury holiday.
Hitting the jackpot is always a possibility, which is why doing this is so much fun.
Well, that's about it for Inventors Patents, please click on the next chapter when ready.
Go to Toy and Game inventor introduction or Trade secrets.