It is an inherent part of invention that there will be trial and error in coming up with a final product, but at the same time you want that process to cost as little as possible.
Often in creating a product of your own design it is necessary to contract with other companies to help you produce the finished product. They may produce a specific part that you need or, as with Tesla, claim to be able to produce a part to your particular specification. As such it is important that a well prepared contract is in place to govern your relationship with them.
It is very easy to trust and rely on the good nature of others, but this can be a sure fire way to end up in trouble down the line. Questions that you need to ask yourself are:
- Can I trial their product before committing to a long term supply from them?
- Do I have a time scale for production and are they going to be able to meet it?
- Will they be able to produce the amount I need if things go well?
- If things don't go well, will I be able to alter the terms of the contract? Could a break clause be built in?
- If things go wrong how is the contract to be ended? Can we agree to an independent arbitrator to be specified in the contract to keep costs down?
You may be just starting out and a smaller party to an agreement, but that doesn't mean that the contract should be heavily weighted in their favour. It is in their interest that you do well as the better you do, the more money they can make.
Ask the important questions and don't be afraid to get legal advice in negotiating the contract, a lawyer may well think of commercial points that have completely slipped you by.
Remember, prevention is almost always cheaper than the cure.
The super-cool, futuristic looking doors on Tesla’s Model X might be eye-catching, but they were apparently a source of consternation for the company and one of its suppliers, according to a new lawsuit.