Education Behind the “RED-X”  (Part 1)

Education Behind the “RED-X” (Part 1)

We recently published an article detailing our team’s step-by-step process for product selection. If you missed it, you can read the “Fly on the Wall” post here

After publishing the article, we thought it was important to follow up with what happens when your product doesn’t get selected. We briefly discussed this in the previous blog but are now going to explain all things Red X. 

We know that receiving the X can dishearten many, but you should NEVER give up! Receiving the X does not mean your idea was a bad one. We want to see everyone be successful, so let’s break down the talks we have behind the scenes within our review team and our potential licensors on why your idea was red-lined. 

Let’s dive in!

Before we get into it, the bottom line is simply – 

    Can money be made from your product after all incurred costs are considered?

    Also meaning, are there enough consumers in the market that will buy your product at the cost needed to get  above the red line?

1) When you hear:

Your criteria doesn’t match the search (This means your criteria doesn’t match either a sponsored product search or a category search).

Our Review Team is saying one of a few things:

  1. This matches one/two item(s) of the criteria in our sponsored search, but doesn’t hit the other 3. Our sponsor wants all of what they asked for, not just some of it.
  2. This idea is not new or doesn’t solve the problem our sponsor requested. 
  3. We can’t get IP on this. This is especially pronounced in sponsored searches; the IP is wanted. 

What you can do?:

 Remember, you can submit your idea to another search. Maybe you didn’t hit all the criteria in the sponsored search but could your idea potentially fit within one of the category searches? Think about that…

Some common issues we see: 

Please note that in sponsored searches, sponsors work diligently with our team to craft their landing pages based upon THEIR needs, so when a desired price range is suggested, that means they want to be in that price range, not well above it.

With a sponsored search it gives you the opportunity to review their existing brand identity and assortment/product offering. Using this knowledge when developing your idea, you should use that insight and try to be as brand appropriate as possible, there is a roadmap to “who” they are and try to design/ideate into that brand. 

2) When you hear: 

There are competing products already available that offer similar solutions.

Our Review Team is saying:

This WOW to set it apart from the competition is not strong enough to influence the market to leave what they are using and try a new product. It’s just not going to fly.

The solution/benefit with this idea is too similar to other solutions for the same problem. 

What you can do?: 

In this instance, take note of the competitor links that we attach. Take the time to research them to understand why your solution is too similar. This will help you on your next project OR see if you can come up with better differentiation and submit again; you are insiders!! 

Look at all the competitor products, what do they have in common? What is different? It is also interesting to look at the timeline of when each product hit the market. What was the first product on the market and then how has it been changed by competitors, what differentiations did they use to sell the newer product? Educate yourself in this, it will only make you a better inventor, and can be fun!

Remember looks aren’t everything! Look at the solution you presented, not the physical aspects of the product – people get stumped by this very often. If a product exists that fulfills a similar consumer need as your product, it makes it difficult to convince our potential licensors of the NEED in the market place.

You’ve made a change to an existing product that you believe will make it better but you still got that Red X! 

The change you made put it outside what would be feasible to manufacture and then take to market at a price point that it could be sold at.

Look at the price point of competitive products and then options of how this can be made that still gives your product the demonstrative WOW. The less added parts to a product, the better off you are!

3) When you hear:

Unfortunately, your idea will not be moving onto the next stage for safety liability reasons. 

Our Review Team says:

“This could be potentially dangerous!” That means exactly what it says! We see this quite commonly in infant and toddler ideas. Remember if a company sees a liability issue, they won’t walk, they’ll run! 

What you can do?: 

Be smart, get feedback from family and friends and think outside of your idea, and look at any potential risks a user might incur. You as an innovator should always take the time to ensure there are no defects in your design that pose liability before the product is manufactured.

Here are some things you should think about when considering liability: 

  1. Will the product perform as described? Could something propel off my invention and take out an eye? Could someone get burned or cut if not using the product properly?
  2. Could the product potentially flip over causing harm? Could it collapse and hurt someone? 
  3. Does my product require use of another innovation that has not been properly tested or could cause a fire or injury?
  4. Can you increase the safety of your idea while still maintaining the integrity, the great problem/solution and of course, the cost?

If there may be potential dangers, don’t hide it and hope no one catches it, acknowledge it and address it with proper warnings. We assure you, it will only help you in the long run!

4) When you hear?

We have reviewed your submission and although it’s really clever to us, our engineers and designers feel that it has complex engineering challenges which will likely deter the development cycle. 

Our Review team is saying

The molding, tooling, assembly, R&D, etc… is going to price this product right out of the market.

The reality here is if it is complex # of tools or molds required as it relates back to perceived sales potential. As the tooling begins to add up, it is difficult to achieve the ROI that is needed to launch. We have seen products that would take $70-$100K in tooling up front, and the market sales potential is small, companies don’t want to dig a big hole to work out of. 

What you can do?:

Think about any way to simplify the development process. Talk with professionals, get feedback and ideas of another way it can be done. Can your product be made with less part/pieces?

5) When you hear:

We found existing IP and cannot patent this idea. 

Our Reviewers are saying: 

It’s a hard sell to a potential licensor to take on the cost of manufacturing and marketing a product when they have no way to protect their investment. Our reviewers like IP when it’s available with a submission, although it is not required to get a licensing partner… we like it J

What you can do?: 

Remember the following when you’re inventing and you don’t get to choose one, you need all three:

  1. Novelty: The invention must be a new or novel idea. If it has been publicly disclosed, used or sold for more than one year before the date of application, the invention cannot be patented.
  2. Utility: To be patented, it must also be useful. The invention must offer a benefit to society and perform the described function.
  3. Non-obvious: To be patentable, the invention must not only be novel, but also non-obvious. Changing the size, materials or other obvious alterations on an existing product or patent are normally not patentable.

Always let us know about any IP you have and attach any filing receipts and documents.

Maintain your patent applications or issued patents, don’t let them lapse!

It’s very rare to come across an idea that is completely ‘new’. Usually an invention is an improvement on one or more products. This goes back to how important your differentiation is.

We hope this close look will help you make the best products possible and will keep you all inventing! If your idea gets bumped, don’t stay down for more than a moment and then let’s move forward! We know you have it in you! Check out our “Talk It Out” video with best ways to handle the Red-X.

Watch for Part 2 of this blog as we dive into more conversation behind the RED-X. Blog written by Casey Carroll.

2 Comments Education Behind the “RED-X” (Part 1)

  1. Barry Ellard

    Hello, Great info/Thanks for the article. I have three inventions that I know are completely new/Hopefully they will go somewhere and fill some safety needs and pet fun!

  2. Aimee Carroll

    Love your comment, Barry! You are a great example of the encouraging and inspirational spirit of an innovator. We are fortunate to have you as part of our EN community!

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