Building and Selling Chargers and Power Supplies

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Joster, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. Joster

    Thread Starter Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    Hi All,

    I am asking this question purely out of curiosity. Let say I want to start building my own power supplies and battery chargers and put them on the market selling points would be all hand made, over-built, all discrete components etc etc

    In order to sell these do I need a patent? but how do you get a patent on a power supply? or a large battery charger? I would need some kind of protection against law suits incase a charger blows up if some connects it the wrong way and what about the "csa approved" sticker??

    anyway if someone has experience here that would be great
     
  2. MrSmoofy

    Member

    Jul 28, 2014
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    5
    I have no experience but I can tell you there will be certifications that are very expensive that you will need to have done by outside testing labs on your products. US and Europe have different requirements. You will have to have probably millions in liability insurance.
     
  3. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    You are entering a very competitive market and probably to get a patent, you would need to show that it has a unique feature never used before.
    Max.
     
  4. ramancini8

    Member

    Jul 18, 2012
    442
    118
    There are many patents that you will have to be cognizant of. You will be required to pass UL, VDE, and CSA testing...cost estimate of $20,000 includes some travel, consultants, fees, and build fees. The only way to protect your personal property from a lawsuit, remember that frivolous lawsuits are common and expensive, is to incorporate or form an LCC so the companies assets, not yours, are liable. Even doing that does give complete protection because a little thing like cashing a company check can be construed as mixing assets. Liability insurance for you when you are separate from the company is not bad, but liability insurance for a start-up company is wicked.
     
  5. Joster

    Thread Starter Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    yikes sounds intense..thanks for the insights!
     
  6. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
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    to sell them in the US, you would have to get UL listing, FCC certification as an incidental radiator, and many more. just think of the liability if someones rotten house wireing burns down their house and they have a good lawyer that says your product did it.
     
  7. adam555

    Active Member

    Aug 17, 2013
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    All that sounds discouraging for anyone looking to sell his own devices. :(

    What if you just sell them on ebay?
     
  8. adam555

    Active Member

    Aug 17, 2013
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    Forget my question... I saw ebay themselves cancelling cheap electronic cigarettes that did not have the necessary certifications to be sold in this country.
     
  9. Joster

    Thread Starter Member

    Jun 12, 2013
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    0
    yeah it is very discouraging wish there was a way for people to buy at own risk lol
     
  10. shteii01

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2010
    3,388
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    "Sold As Is"
     
  11. NorthGuy

    Active Member

    Jun 28, 2014
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    You can sell kits so that people can assemble them by themselves. Then you, obviously, do not need any certifications.

    If you have something that is worth being patented, you can get the patent and then sell it to a manufacturer.
     
  12. MrSmoofy

    Member

    Jul 28, 2014
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  13. adam555

    Active Member

    Aug 17, 2013
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    But you don't really need a patent to sell something; do you?

    I mean, obviously you risk anyone copying it and also selling it; but they would not be able to patent your device and then force you to stop sell it anymore.

    I'm asking because I wasn't planning to get a patent.
     
  14. Alec_t

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
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    There's no 'probably' about it. There has to be a novel and (at least in the UK and Europe) non-obvious feature, or the patent obtained won't be valid and enforceable.
    No, you don't. Even if you had a patent there is nothing to stop a rival challenging its validity in court. Legal proceedings costs could cripple a small company.
    If making and selling a product you would also have to make extensive searches to ensure you weren't infringing someone else's patent, or you could find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit.
     
  15. NorthGuy

    Active Member

    Jun 28, 2014
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    No.

    They can if you do not have a proof that you had your device before they filed for a patent. If a big company decides to take you to the court, they don't have to be right - the lawsuit itself will bankrupt you.
     
  16. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    There is a great deal of expense to engage a patent lawyer to research a certain product and file a patent application.
    So obviously the unique saleability of the product has to be taken into account.
    There are often two scenarios, and I have been through it to a certain extent.
    A product that is going to be the extremely popular, the 'Pattie Stacker' as-seen-on-TV type of product, where the market demand could be so high that you require someone to come on board and help in the production.
    OR,
    A limited market that although there is not that high a demand and the product is limited to a niche market where there is a void, generally because the large outfits do not want to put engineering resources into something that may not bring enough ROI, but for a small entrepreneur, the risk and production cost is minimal, so a product can be produced and sold with a mark-up that far exceeds the extremely popular type of product.
    And because the big guys do not want to get into it, there is no real need to file a patent, just remove all identification from components etc, or pot them.
    I happened to find one such limited markets and operated it with a financially beneficial outcome.
    Max.
     
  17. Sensacell

    Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    1,129
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    Most modern gadgets are powered by external power units- why? because this avoids a massive, expensive regulatory nightmare, you buy a pre approved power unit and you are done.

    Since power supplies are the interface between you and lethal voltages, the process of getting a new design past approvals is complex.

    Better off pushing a cinderblock up Everest - with your forehead.
     
  18. adam555

    Active Member

    Aug 17, 2013
    858
    39
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