When inventors contact my company about Due Diligence I like to explain the concept with a simple example. Think of it this way, if a manufacturer is getting ready to make the decision to develop, manufacture, and market a new product that could potentially cost $50,000 to $150,000 to produce plus inventory costs, they would most certainly take their time to ensure that they are making a good business decision in moving forward with the product (i.e.: have they done their homework on the product). Therefore, you can sum up “due diligence” as the process of gathering all the information necessary to make a good business decision prior to making the large getting started with a new invention idea financial expenditure. It can generally be assumed that the more time, effort and money (i.e.: “risk”) that a company must spend to develop an invention, the more they will evaluate the potential license. Keep in mind that even if a product appears to be simple and low cost, the process of developing and manufacturing is rarely simple and low cost. Companies will evaluate such criteria as customer feedback, retail price points, unit cost to manufacture, competitive landscape, manufacturing feasibility, market opportunity, etc.
Inventors often wonder if they need to perform Due Diligence on their invention.
As discussed, this will depend on the option you have elected for taking your product to market.
Option 1 – Manufacturing on your own – If you are planning on manufacturing and marketing the invention on your own, then yes you will need to perform due diligence. Essentially, you become the manufacturer of the product and as a result you should perform the due diligence on your invention just like other manufacturers would. The problem that I have found is that many inventors who elect to manufacture their own inventions do little, if any marketing due diligence, which is a big mistake.
Option 2 – Licensing for Royalties – if you are planning on licensing for royalties, then I believe you can minimize your due diligence efforts, because prior to any company licensing your invention, they will perform their own due diligence. If you are working with a company such as Invention Home, the costs to market your invention to companies can be minimal – therefore it could cost you more to actually perform the due diligence than it would to just market the invention to companies (which, is ultimately your best form of due diligence anyway). Remember, you should have taken the time to do your basic market research and a patent search earlier in the process to be assured that your product is worth pursuing in the first place (i.e.: the product is not already on the market and there is a demand).
Let me summarize. If you are planning on investing a large amount of money on your invention, then you should always analyze the opportunity first to make sure it’s worth pursuing; however, if you can actively market your invention to companies with minimal cost, you can be assured that an interested company will perform their own due diligence (not rely on yours). Note: it is always helpful to have marketing due diligence information available as you discuss your invention opportunity with prospective companies; however, it is not always easy to obtain this information so you need to balance the effort and expense of gathering the information with the real need of having it.
I also will provide you with some due diligence tips.As discussed, the idea of marketing due diligence is to gather as much information as possible to make a well-informed decision on investing in any invention. In a perfect world, we would have all the relevant information on sales projections, retail pricing, marketing costs, manufacturing setup and unit costs, competitive analysis, market demand, etc. However, this information is not always easy to come by.