Theoretically, liability covers the area of law which manufacturer, distributors, supplier, retailers and other who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries the product caused. These people are also carry responsibility to compensate for injury caused by defective merchandise that it has provided for sale. Product design is the process of creating a set of specifications. Product development is the process of designing, creating, and marketing an idea or product. The product can either be one that is new to the marketplace or one that is new to your particular company, or, an existing product that has been improved. In many instances a product will be labeled new and improved when significant changes have been made.
Issues rise from product design and development is whether product contains a defect, which is a flaw that makes a product unsafe for its future use. Design defects are in a manner of speaking, intended. This type of defect is inherent in the design of the product. For example, a chair that is designed with only three legs might be considered defectively designed because it tips over too easily.
Design defects exist when a whole class of products is inadequately planned in such a way as to pose unreasonable hazards to consumers. For example, an automobile manufacturer's design of a vehicle with the fuel tank placed in such a position that it will explode upon low-speed impact can be classify as flawed. In that case, products manufactured in conformity with the intended design would be defective. A production defect arises when a product is improperly gathered. For example, frames of automobiles that are improperly welded to the body at the assembly plant would be classified as a production defect.
There are 7 factors analyzed to determine defect (Edward B.M, 1997)
· Product usefulness
· Availability of safer product to meet the same need
· Likelihood and probable seriousness injury
· Obviousness of danger
· Public expectation of the danger
· The avoidability of injury by cate in the use of product,including the effect of instructions and warnings
· Manufacturers or seller’s ability to eliminate danger of the product without making it useless or expensive
Product development creates the demand for goods through print and broadcast media has the responsibility to determine that the product has the qualities represented to the general public. Some courts allow injured consumers to sue even if they have not read a certain label or advertisement. The standard is that if the advertisement is directed toward the public at large and makes claims that a normal consumer would take into consideration when deciding to make a purchase, then the manufacturer must stand behind that claim for every member of the public.
All product development goes through a similar planning process. Although the process is a continuous one, it is crucial that companies stand back after each step and evaluate whether the new product is worth the investment to continue. That evaluation should be based on a specific set of objective criteria, not someone's gut feeling. Even if the product is wonderful, if no one buys it the company will not make a profit. Brainstorming and developing a concept is the first step in product development. Once an idea is generated, it is important to determine whether there is a market for the product, what the target market is, and whether the idea will be profitable, as well as whether it is feasible from an engineering and financial standpoint. Once the product is determined to be feasible, the idea or concept is tested on a small sample of customers within the target market to see what their reactions are.
Process of product development :
Write down everything we can think of that relates to our invention, from what it is and how it works to how we’ll make and market it.
· Complete an initial patent search.
· Research the market.
Making a Prototype
A prototype is a model of our invention that puts into practice all of the things you have written in our inventor’s journal. This will demonstrate the design of our invention when we present it to potential lenders and licensees. Do not file a patent before making a prototype. We will almost always discover a flaw in our original design or think of a new feature we would like to add. If we patent our idea before we work out these kinks, it will be too late to include them in the patent and we will risk losing the patent rights of the new design to someone else.
Rules of thumb when prototyping your invention:
1. Begin with a drawing. Before you begin the prototyping phase, sketch out all of ideas into inventor’s journal.
2. Create a concept mockup out of any material that will allow to create a 3-D model of your design.
3. Once satisfied with the mockup, create a full-working model of idea.
Filing a Patent
Now that you have all of the twist worked out of your design, it's finally time to file a patent. There are two main patents you will have to choose from: a utility patent (for new processes or machines) or a design patent (for manufacturing new, nonobvious ornamental designs).
Marketing Your Invention
This is the step where we bring our product to market. Following these five steps will ensure an easy road to patenting your invention. Just remember that an easy road doesn’t necessarily mean a short one. From the time you conceive your idea to the time you see your product on the shelf is a very long process. Most inventions take years to come to fruition. Have patience and follow due diligence in your steps to patenting your invention and your years of hard work will finally pay off.
There are four theories as a foundation for liability of one product. Those theories are Negligence, Breach of Warranty, Misrepresentation, and Strict Tort Liability. Negligence refers to the absence of failure to exercise appropriate care. A manufacturer can be held liable for negligence if lack of reasonable care in the production, design, or assembly of the manufacturer's product caused harm. For example, a manufacturing company might be found negligent if its employees did not perform their work properly or if management sanctioned improper procedures and an unsafe product was made. Breach of warranty refers to the failure of a seller to fulfill the terms of a promise, claim, or representation made concerning the quality or type of the product. The law assumes that a seller gives certain warranties concerning goods that are sold and that he or she must stand behind these assertions.
Misrepresentation in the advertising and sales promotion of a product refers to the process of giving consumers false security about the safety of a particular product, ordinarily by drawing attention away from the hazards of its use. An action lies in the intentional concealment of potential hazards or in negligent misrepresentation. The key to recovery on the basis of misrepresentation is the plaintiff's ability to prove that he relied upon the representations that were made. Misrepresentation can be argued under a theory of breach of express warranty or a theory of strict tort liability. Strict liability involves extending the responsibility of the vendor or manufacturer to all individuals who might be injured by the product, even in the absence of fault. Injured guests, bystanders, or others with no direct relationship to the product may sue for damages caused by the product. An injured party must prove that the item was defective, the defect proximately caused the injury, and the defect rendered the product unreasonably dangerous.The legal requirement of both negligence and strict liability are closely related to what most engineers consider to be good design. All these methods are use to eliminate product hazard.
The liability is an area of law which manufacturer, distributors, supplier, retailers and other who make products available to the public are held responsible for the injuries the product caused. These people are also carry responsibility to compensate for injury caused by defective merchandise that it has provided for sale. Product design is the process of creating a set of specifications. Product development is the process of designing, creating, and marketing an idea or product. There are several theory involve in this issue of product design and development. Those are Negligence, Breach of Warranty, Misrepresentation, and Strict Tort Liability.
B.M, E. (1997). Integrated Product and Product Design and Product Development. United States America: CRC Press LLC.