So I have (what I think) is a good improvement for an existing pet product that I use daily. There are also many people who use the same product that I think would like the modification I've thought of. The problem is that I don't know where to begin. I'm glad I came across this forum because I am constantly running into the "where do I begin" problem and when I don't find an answer, I just get sidetracked by something else and forget about it. This happens to me all the time.
Ok, I know it would be stupid to try to contact the company that makes the existing product. What if I designed a new product that was exactly like theirs (which I already think is well designed) and just add the modification that I think would improve on their product. Am I infringing on their patent?
Secondly, once I have the design (assuming it's legal to produce), how do I go about getting the thing made? Do I need an actual prototype first or is the design good enough? How do I even locate manufacturing companies?
Third, would a scenario ever come up when a company (such as the one that makes the product I use and enjoy - well my pets enjoy) is presented with such a prototype or design and then offers to buy that design from the creator (i.e. me)? In other words, do things like this ever happen in the real business world?
I really appreciate any input as I am one of those people perpetually coming up with ideas but never knowing how to get them off the ground. I am really grateful to whoever (or whom...whatever) came up with this site. What a great place for all of us whose wheels never stop turning.