I have been asked about how I have gone about the process of inventing and designing the world's most compact, fold flat carts, wagons, jogging strollers and other wheeled products. For example, in license negotiations with one US based company that entered a license with me, I was asked if I engaged other persons to design all the products, or exactly what my involvement was in the patents and actual product design.
The short answer is that I am a cook, waiter, and dishwasher-that is, I have done everything from the original pencil drawings, to draft patent applications, to designing prototypes, to drawing and designing every line and aspect all the way to three-dimensional (3-D) or two-dimensional (2-D) drawings ultimately that become the final carts and wagons designed. Each cart/wagon product has involved literally dozens upon dozens of design drawings and edits, but unlike other standard carts and wagons, the Pancake designed carts and wagons fold flat into a compact, thin profile and this can be a tedious and difficult design process.
Secrets? There are none. Roadmap? Forget about it. Mistakes? Too many to outline here on my road to the cart/wagon marketplace. I have worked with independent mechanical engineers and design engineers who have made great improvements in my designs or prototypes or both.
When I have any cart/wagon design concepts that I hope to patent, I first do rough pencil or line drawings, and when I feel they are sufficiently finalized I have them refined by an outside drafting company to comply with US patent office requirements for the drawings that accompany US patent applications.
While I initially utilized an outside patent attorney, after working with my patent attorney for at least five patent applications, I eventually developed the experience to file the applications myself. However, my full time job is being an attorney, so I do not recommend that you try to file your patent applications yourself--at least not initially.
Of course, obtaining patent protection does nothing to get your product or idea prototyped and or marketed. During the patent application process-which may last over a year, my practice has been to move forward if possible and try to prototype the invention-no need to wait. Many times it is too hard to have a drawing represent what is inside your head. There is professional disagreement over whether you should commercially present your prototypes this early in the process, but as long as you have filed a patent application prior to such commercialization, you should be fully protected.
In my personal experience I don't believe any of my patent license agreements would have been signed unless I had been personally involved in many aspects of the design process and in my situation developing prototypes was critical to refining the technology, and in obtaining interest in my concepts.
In figuring out how to create the worlds thinnest, fold flat carts, wagons or jogging strollers, there was a significant research and development process of prototyping and re-prototyping products until they worked appropriately, particularly with cargo loaded into the product.
Most products now are now designed using three-dimensional computer software. Most of these three-dimensional software programs can simply export the design to various types of fabrication machinery. This means that parts can be fabricated and made by a factory directly from the software of the three-dimensional program of the product design. Most of my products if not all have gone through the two-dimensional drawing phase, and then the three-dimensional product design phase and then once the product is actually built, there is a testing and working out the bugs involved.
US entrepreneurial inventors are still responsible for some of the world's most significant inventions and innovations going back to the 1700s and continuing into this century. I take pride in my work in designing compact fold flat products in the USA that are the thinnest and most compact in the world.
Some other invention resources to consider:
Inventors Resources and Information
OTL: Resources for Inventors
Inventors Assistance League: Inventor Resources
PatentCafe® Patent Analytics and Strategic Patent Portfolio
About Us: Pancake Wheel LLC is the leading innovator of fold flat wheel technology in the United States, having patented and designed the world's thinnest carts, wagons, jogging strollers/joggers, bike trailed child carriers and other fold flat wheel products, covered by 14 US patents, together with International patents granted and pending. Pancake ® and Compact Solutions are registered trademarks of Pancake Wheel LLC.
Contact: Rick Shapiro, Designer/Inventor (Virginia Beach, VA)
Pancake Wheel LLC