Thursday, September 20, 2007

04/27/2007

Confidential information


HotSmart®

THE INNOVATION CENTER FACTORS FOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL

According to the University of Oregon’s Innovation center

(Not done at the university, but using same methodology)



Legality: Will there be legal problems commercializing your invention?

None


Safety: Are there safety issues?

No, my family and I have been using the heat storage dishes (Heat Retentive Plates) for about 3 years.


Environmental impact:

None, no toxic components


Societal impact:

Favors conversation while eating with family and/or friends, eating slowly (the food does not get cold) may develop better eating habits (lose weight?)


Potential market? :

Restaurants, hospitals, catering services, etc., but mostly the general public worldwide (it is a novelty and once they start using it, they will not want to eat on anything else). Just in the USA there are about 100 million households with a microwave oven, the market size for plates (Just for plates) is 400 to 600 million units.


Product life cycle? :

Usefulness will not diminish over time.


Usage learning? :

As easy as: preheat one minute InstaHot™ and serve your food hot or set the timer to the time necessary to heat up your food plus one minute to heat up the dish. Zap and Serve™


Product visibility? :

Thicker and heavier than normal dishes (will probably need individual packing to accentuate the novelty and explain difference, but retail price will be higher).


Service: Will your product provide a valuable service?

Definitely. It is a valuable service but the problem had not been approached in the correct way (Crude attempts to cover the dish, hot and heavy bases expensive to manufacture, it will bring the luxury of eating on hot plates at home).


Durability? :

Tested for about 3 years, I do not expect any degradation of the material (the new composition of material, we know ceramic lasts thousands of years).


New competition? :

At present no competition which is extraordinary the product is very good and it is very likely that competition will appear but the simplicity of my design, low cost and my strong patent US 7,176,426 will give the licensee(s) or ourselves if we go in production a most favorable position.


Functional feasibility:

It works all the time with very predictable delay time (which can be incorporated in the design if and as wished), Temp. Max. and duration characteristics.


Production feasibility:

It can be produced with the existing manufacturing methods and my technology (using my design and my ” know how” is available now to anyone interested even if a license deal is not signed, for technical support: jjrb230@sbcglobal.net Ph.1-915-599-1777


Stability of demand:

Demand will grow as microwave ovens are more and more inexpensive. I dare to say that some people will buy microwave ovens to enjoy eating in these hot plates (The general public will continue buying them for as long as they like enjoying hot food). Even just for enjoying steaks will justify buying the plate.


Consumer/user compatibility:

Everybody likes his food hot, ideal for steaks, pancakes Chinese food etc (it fits with the American way of life; the French will love it, the Japanese, the Mexicans etc. (My family and I personally do not eat in anything else, except for salad and dessert).


Marketing research:

Only informal research has been done, people are surprised that such a product exists (or that it is possible preheat a dish for only one minute and that it stays hot for as long as it takes you to eat). Most people are willing to pay $8 to $12. (One person said that his wife hates cold food, he would pay as much as $20)


Distribution: how can your invention reach consumers?

Stores like Wal-mart, Target, small appliance companies TV sales, gift shops, etc.


Perceived function:

The public will probably need to be told that it is for use at home, they have only seen something similar (although much inefficient) in hospitals.


Existing competition:

None (as far as I know) I have conducted searches in the USPTO, EPO, the Japanese office etc,

VERY IMPORTANT the only ways to achieve the “similar” (but much less efficient in the first case and less versatility in the second, more difficult handling and inconvenience in both cases) results are:

  1. Heating normal plates in an oven which is inconvenient difficult to handle and dishes simply do not stay hot for the time desired (This also consumes lots of energy in restaurants since they need to keep a plate warmer ON during the whole day).

  2. Using a metal skillet with a wooden base. Same problems as above plus this method is only useful for steaks, while my dish can be used for virtually any type of food (It can be used as easily for steaks as for eggs over easy).


Potential sales:

There are over 100 million households in the USA. I figure very conservatively that we could probably sell 4 dishes to 25% of them in 5 years (probably sooner since it is a novelty). My goal is that eventually every household will have at least 4 dishes (it is not unreasonable considering that there are about 100 million automobiles in the USA, and that people expends $400 million in charcoal for barbecues every year). Worldwide

Sales: 95% of consumers are outside the USA (According to INC. magazine). See: http://www.heatstoragedish.com for market size, there is a section dedicated for this purpose.

Development status:

Working prototypes tested for about 3 years (It does work, working principle is explained in http://www.heatretentiveplates.com


Investment costs:

It can be manufactured with existing methods just modifying some tools. The Industry in the USA is facing serious problems and a product like this could create new and repeat sales, and new jobs. Anybody that knows how to make plates can produce Heat Retentive Plates (I am available for consulting).


Trend of demand:

Since no competition exists, We can use the Bass model to predict the market penetration, see: http://www.heatstoragedish.com the market will probably mature in about 5 years, but the dish can be manufactured in different colors, designs, shapes etc. and very important different particular uses(special for steaks, general purpose etc.). Let’s not forget that it will sell worldwide.


Product line potential:

The same technology can be used to produce tortilla warmers, coffee mugs, pizza transportation, and gravy boats and has other potential industrial applications for explanation of the principle of operation see: http://www.heatretentive plates.com


Need. Is there a need for your invention?

The need has always been there I have seen efforts by engineers of various countries to solve the problem including Engineers from the USA, Germany, Japan, etc. Apparently it has become a paradigm that a ceramic dish can not be heated up very fast due to thermal shock cracking (I solved the problem with a new composition of material and a heat storage device both of my design). Other approaches include covering the dish which of course you can not do once you start eating. The ceramic plate has existed for about 12,000 years and there are beautiful designs, but not a functional design change (the only functional change I have seen is baby dishes with hot water.


Promotion needed to sell:

Word of mouth. Everybody is surprised that such a thing exists, it is not the re-invention of the wheel, but it is the re-invention of the dish. (Everybody says: how come? really? You invented that? Heat up one minute? Stays hot for half hour? And you can handle it with your bare hands?).


Appearance: does your invention appearance add to its commercial appeal?

A nice final product needs to be developed; they can be made as beautiful as any plate4 in the market.


Price: Is your invention affordable for the general market?

Yes, they will probably buy one out of curiosity, and will probably be back for one for each member of the family (or two to four maybe 6 per household).


Protection: What forms of legal protection are available?

Trade secret, Utility Patent (US 7,176,426), Trademark HotSmart™, copyright. (Patent pending in China and Canada).


Payback period?

Short. Low re-tooling costs and high profit margin (no data available on tooling costs).


Profitability:

Profit margin will be about 2-4 times compared to a normal plate.


Product interdependence:

It is related to the volume of of microwave ovens in households and to the sales of the same (with microwave ovens costing as low as $30 the timing is perfect).


Research and development:

With the research we have done, it is possible to put a product in the market in a matter of months, although further research should be done to lower the cost of materials, and to optimize the process of manufacture.

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