Use Social Media to Get the Help You Need!
I discussed the process for the utility patent with the patent attorney we just hired. They would take our already completed design work and file a liberally worded patent designed to give us the most expansive coverage possible. Since they had already done the provisional patent, he already had a good feel for what we were trying to accomplish.
After the patent attorney examined the filing, they would probably “reject” it based on a variety of reasons. This meant that we were entering the “prosecution” phase where my attorney would respond to the technical and legal issues until we had satisfied the attorney. At this point, the patent would be issued and we would own it for 20 years.
Of course, the prosecution phase could have several iterations with each one costing me more money! I wasn’t terribly happy with the process and the inability to reach a firm price, but it appeared there was no other way to proceed.
With that settled I asked him about the design work. He became very concerned and asked me if I had entered into a contract with a “design” company yet. He actually mentioned one of the companies I had been talking to by name! He told me that it would have “broken his heart” if I had already signed on with them because several of the companies had been sued, and one paid a huge settlement because of predatory practices!
There were instances where inventors had mortgaged their home chasing a dream, only to never see their product even make it to the prototype phase! I felt like I dodged a bullet.
He advised me to take advantage of social media to find a graphic designer. Normally they charge around $40 an hour to do this type of design work, and my product was even less complex because it only had two moving parts and no electronics. It would be important that I eventually got someone involved who understand the unique issues with designing for injected plastic molds, but initially I just needed to get a working prototype.
Injected plastic molds? Suddenly I was struck with the details required to bring a product to market. I would need to figure out the final shape, materials, options, colors, packaging, UPC codes, etc. This was beginning to suddenly look complicated! But I was also excited by the thought of all of that!
I took his advice and turned to social media. First, I tried FIVERR (the international app that identifies technical talent), but after looking at their offerings and thinking about our experience with the SeaClutch logo, I decided to turn my focus locally. I tried the usual Bing and Google searches, but kept coming up with the same designers that wanted $10,000 to do the design!
With no success there, I turned to a true social media platform, Facebook.
I live in the Kent Island, MD area and there is a large Kent Island Facebook page. It is normally used to post pictures, complain about things and ask community focused questions, so it seemed like a great forum to look for talent. I posted that I was looking for a CAD/CAM designer who had familiarity with “clean sheet” designs as well as a knowledge of designing computer models for injected plastic molds. I posted it not knowing what I would get, but hopeful that it would work out. And it did!