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New product development

New Product Development is a business and engineering term which describes the complete process of bringing a new product to market. There are two parallel aspects to this process : one involves product engineering ; the other marketing analysis. Marketers see new product development as the first stage in Product Life Cycle Management.

Types of new products

There are several types of new products. Some are new to the market, some are new to the firm, and some are new to both. Some are minor modifications of existing products while some are completely innovative. These are displayed in the following diagram.

Types of New Products

The process

There are several stages in the new product development process:

These steps may be iterated as needed. Some steps may be illiminated. To reduce the time the process takes many companies are completing several steps at the same time (referred to as concurrent engineering). Most industry leaders see new product development as a proactive process where resources are allocated to identify market changes and seize upon new product opportunities before they occur (in contrast to a reactive strategy in which nothing is done until problems occur). Many industry leaders see new product development as an ongoing process (referred to as continuous development) in which a new product development team is always looking for opportunities.

Protecting new products

When developing a new product many legal questions arise, including: How do I protect the innovation from imitators?; Can the innovation be legally protected?; For how long?; How much will this cost?. The answers are complicated by the fact that several legal concepts may apply to any given innovation, product, process, or creative work. These include patents, trademarks, servicemarks, tradenames, copyrights, and trade secrets. It is necessary to know which are applicable and when each is appropriate. This varies somewhat from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The advice of a lawyer that specializes in these matters is essential.

Generally, copyrights are fairly easy to obtain but are applicable only in certain instances. Patents on the other hand, tend to involve complex claims and approval processes, tend to be expensive to obtain, and even more expensive to defend and preserve.

See also

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