new type of sailboat

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Ron Skelly, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. Ron Skelly
    Joined: Nov 2009
    Posts: 56
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 23
    Location: Wasaga Beach

    Ron Skelly RonS

    I have been working on a new design of a small sailboat - version one will be built out of moulded plastic material. This boat has some unique features.
    1. Are there boat related engineers who will look at a concept and assist with design?
    2. Are there companies who will build an intial prototype for me and what type of material will this be?
    3. Should I make the initial prototype myself out of fiberglass?
    4. Is there a company that will give me a budgetary price on building injected moulded boats in various volume quantities?
    I would appreciate any comments and advice. I am located in Ontario, Canada.
  2. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    Hi Ron!

    1. Certainly. There are lots of people here who could help by providing opinions and commentary. There are a subset of people here who are paid professionals who could certainly help as well. You have a professional, top level designer living halfway between Wasaga and Penetanguishene named Steve Killing (Google is your friend) who has been down the road you are suggesting before. "ancient_kayaker" here is a retired professional engineer who lives in Alliston (about fifteen - twenty minutes from you) - his opinion is worth soliciting.

    2. Sure. It depends on your specifications. There are people who prototype in every material you can imagine. Plastic can mean many things, so more detail is needed to determine if you mean fiberglass, thermoplastic or whatever.

    3. Sure, it is cheaper and easier to control things and it gives you the chance to test your theories before lots of money changes hands.

    4. Absolutely. The above items need further discussion to determine exactly what production process your will need, and once the process is clear there are lots of companies that will quote.

    Bill in Ottawa
    (my family comes from the Bruce Peninsula so I know your location well)
  3. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 16,679
    Likes: 344, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Cocoa, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Ron, sounds very interesting! I'd love to hear more details but before you do that give some serious thought to how you will protect your rights to the idea/design. In the US it is a good idea to disclose the idea to a patent attorney as soon as possible-they'll usually let you do it here for no charge. And in the US it's a good idea to get a good non-disclosure agreement signed by anybody you show it to.
    Good Luck! Looking forward to hearing more when you're ready....

    PS-one more thing: do exhaustive research on the internet to determine as best you can if what you've got is really unique. You can save money this way and get
    loads of info on the competition.
  4. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    Protecting your design is all well and good in theory. In execution however there are very few if any truly new unique design elements that haven't been tried before. The average intellectual property lawyer (at $300 per hour and up) doesn't know enough about the naval architecture field to fill a post-it note.

    Surprising report from Doug that he finds lawyers willing to work for free, but here in Canada I've found they aren't so charitable. I don't think I would highly value a professional willing to work and render legal opinions for free.

    I've been through the patent process here, and 99.99% of the time it is a waste of money. Although it is nice on the resume to indicate you are listed as inventor on patents, there has to be enough commercial potential (make that commercial reality) in a product to make the involved process worthwhile. In addition to the cost of the patent, you have to be able to afford to defend it, and the cost of defending a patent across legal jurisdictions is orders of magnitude more expensive than the cost of getting one. Legal battles are lengthy and expensive pissing contests, and the contestant with the most money can afford a longer stand at the urinal.

    One of the problems with patents is that it is easy to be issued a useless patent, and almost easier to have that patent disputed and rendered void. In many areas patents are issued with incomplete searches for prior art, and later disputes find prior art not in evidence during the patent issue. It is quite easy to get mired in intellectual property issues and chew up a major amount of capital.

    Copyright is cheap to establish and provides most of the same benefits at a fraction of the cost. Unless your design is stunningly unique and hugely commercial in it's appeal, I'd spend the money on development, not lawyers.

    A quick visit to a professional engineer like Steve Killing (who are obligated to respect your invention by ethical professional standards - The Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) here) will give you ideas about your boat's potential.

    Bill S.
    (my sister is a retired intellectual property/entertainment lawyer and former partner in Heenan Blakie LLP)

  5. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
    Posts: 3,497
    Likes: 147, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 2291
    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Not in my area of expertise but from what I have heard injection molds are very costly for the mold size you would need for a boat, assuming it can be done. Most plastic boats are roto-molded and assembled from 2 or more pieces, less throughput perhaps but lower startup cost.

    From the fact that you are considering such high-production methods I would infer you have a concept that is oriented toward the mass market rather than the custom built boat scene. That is not an easy one to startup and survive in.
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