In our 7th, last, post, we focus on LEGALITIES”, as in something so uncertain like product development and entrepreneurship, still, there should be some... order.
disclaimer: The examples presented below are nor Projects/Products 03 designed/developed unless otherwise stated. All rights remain with their owners.
PATENTS - “To be copied  imitated is the highest form of flattery” - Coco Chanel. Indeed, for a Designer’s and Development Team’s pride, or even vanity. It is a kind of affirmation that maybe they may have not received even from managers and colleagues during the development process.
Patents play a twofold role when a new Product is developed. First, a distinctive design or even a function that can be patented, provides a strategic advantage to the Company. Secondly, Patents, create a minefield within the Product’s design has to fit without infringing any existing Patent. Patents create opportunities and set threats. Be aware though, Patents are an expensive and extreme sport.
Strida is an originally UK company, launched by a designer, that developed Strida bike, an  iconic triangular folding city-bike. Strida was granted design and utility patents and started manufacturing its product. Soon, copies of inferior quality Products  appeared. But as Strida’s founder, Mark Sanders, mentioned, it was impossible for his company and partners to go after the infringing companies, mainly because of the fact that enforcing the Patents required a great sum of money that they couldn’t allocate.
We have our own fair share of such stories around furniture and accessories we designed and the reason our Clients did not enforce the Patents was the same as Strida’s. Quartz e-magazine, in 2017 published an interesting article, titled : “Data shows US inventors aren’t just good at science—they come from rich families”.
REGULATIONS - We hate freedom, we love constraints. Freedom paralyzes, constraints liberate.  It's the rules, the obstacles that clarify the area of creativity. Safety, environmental, technical Regulations ensure the introduction to the market of safe and efficient Products. These, may prescribe to Designers and Development Teams material and surface finishing choices, Product and component dimensions, graphics (indications, labels), user interfaces (lights, alarms etc.) and much more. These are common to all competing Products in specific industries and it is the role of the Designers to find new ways to cope with, manage these regulations and come up with novel ideas.
Designers, especially the ones working in industries like furniture, children’s accessories/toys and automotive, need to constantly check that every line, thickness, radius they sketch complies with the respective Regulations. For example, the car’s front and rear lights have very specific requirements in terms of minimum/maximum height from the ground, surface area, visibility from different angles, color and much more. But this is the beauty of Regulations. The challenge to transform the initial overwhelming feeling of futility to inspiration and creation.
Do not repel, embrace.

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