From an idea to a gadget. The Samurai Way in Russia (Part 2)

    Good afternoon!
    I will continue the story of creating a secure Samurai flash drive. You can read the first part of the story here - From an idea to a gadget. The path of "Samurai" in Russia .
    When the idea was more or less formulated, we started to implement it.

    Prototype ( November 2007 )

    First, a flash drive layout was developed, the dimensions of which did not particularly bother us. As a result, it turned out the size of a pack of cigarettes.
    At the time of development, a client appeared who immediately acquired 20 such “flash drives”. It was a shrink-wrapped board with bulges from the keyboard buttons.

    Here is the “evolution" of the circuit board with examples.

    Patent ( January 2008 )

    If you come up with something, and even in the modern world, which is especially rich in various “inventions,” you should patent it right away. Until it was invented, and most importantly, someone else did not patent it!
    There are so many nuances in patent law that you can gain as much as you can and lose everything.
    For example, if you received a patent in Russia, things went "uphill" and you decided to patent the device around the world, then you will be told that Russia already has a similar one and you cannot get an international patent. And skating on the floor and screaming, "This is my patent!" - they will not help.
    Also, it's no secret that a flash drive with a password is not a novelty. But there is a specially trained person - a “patent attorney”, so he will find loopholes and draw up a patent firstly, uniquely, and secondly competently, and he will be approved and registered.
    It is for these reasons that we turned to the “trusted” attorney.
    Search for patent attorneys in the registry . This state site is working terribly. He already lies - without the habroeffect, so the request is "not all at once."
    First, the patent attorney must find analogues and prototypes, that is, check whether our device contradicts other people's patents. It takes about a month. And worldwide patent search will take about three months.
    Search engine for patents in Russia

    One of the patents:

    A huge number of Korean patents for such flash drives were found. But there are patents, but no production. They do not let out, apparently they are waiting for someone to start production, and only then they will immediately begin to sue their percentage.

    Finally, they compiled a competent patent, which did not conflict with any other patents.
    It all cost about 200 thousand rubles. in 2008. We applied immediately for three devices:

    International patenting also costs about 200 thousand, but already American dollars.
    Although it is written on the patent that it expires in 2018 ( see photo ), but if you do not pay annually for “maintenance” from 1,5 thousand rubles. up to 4 thousand for each, then appeal to them in the case of patent disputes will be impossible. We do it through the same attorney.

    Over time, we received new patents, as the form factor or the principle of operation of the equipment changed.

    Industrial Design ( February - March 2008 )

    Industrial design (as Wikipedia says ) is a design industry whose purpose is to determine the formal qualities of industrially manufactured products, namely, their structural and functional features and appearance.
    In short, exactly what we need: the development of design and documents for the further creation of the mold of the cases.

    For a long time they could not find a company that would do industrial design. We will not hide why. See for yourself:
    Commercial offer:

    As you can see, it's worth a million rubles! We didn’t have that kind of money, and loans have not yet become fashionable :)
    We lurked about, but found a solution in the form of a freelancer named Ilya Melekhov. A car designer by training, an artist and, in general, a creative person, he took up this task with excitement and enthusiasm. He did everything that was in the above “price”, but for less money and in excellent quality.
    We provided him with a drawing of a board with dimensions, and soon we received pencil sketches.

    Well, what we have chosen - you already know. Then they played with color. The cases were black and white, and even yellow.

    Everything that was up to this point was something immaterial and depended only on us. Then begins the most difficult part of the Samurai journey in Russia.

    Molds ( May 2008-August 2009 )

    What is this mold can be found in the same Wiki
    . In short, this is an iron mold for the manufacture of cases ( as in children in the sandbox, only for more serious ).
    With Ilya’s drawings in hand, we began to look for those who would make it for us. Because Since it was initially decided to make plastic cases, we also needed a mold for this material.
    In 2008, mold making was tight. And the company search took quite a while. And those whom we found quickly began to strain us. People who forever disappear and do not pick up the phone, asked for a 100% prepayment i.e. 300 thousand rubles But they agreed on 50% and for good reason! Instead of the planned 2-4 months of manufacture, they managed to stretch the terms to 14 months. Every month they reported on the progress of the cases, but in fact things were completely different.
    After the manufacture of the mold, they had to start the production of cases. And they even discussed the quantity: 1000 pcs.
    As a result, what came out from under their molds had to be really finished with a file, something to bite off with nippers or to pick with a finger. Some elements in plastic parts, despite the clear drawings, pictures and computer 3-D model, were completely different from the approved model.
    To the question: Why did it happen ?! ( not the original question )
    Such an answer was received: We thought that it would look better.
    Well, you realized that they did not receive the remaining 50%.

    As the saying goes "find 3 differences":

    Production of cases ( May 2010 )

    As soon as we received the first cases, we realized that we were mistaken in the material. It was the last nail hammered into the coffin of the plastic case)))) - it was cheaply “felt” in the hand, there were scratches and burrs on it.
    Although we made a model on a 3-D printer to “poyuzat” a flash drive, but then it did not cause such sensations.
    Designer Ilya, even when he was developing sketches for us, already then said that an aluminum case is more suitable than a plastic one. We decided to try aluminum. Our mold was not suitable for this.
    An attempt to enter a plant was unsuccessful. So, as lots of 100-300 pcs. nobody is interested in a month, orders start from thousandths of lots.
    Again, I had to, using personal contacts, “get attached” to companies making large orders and ask them to make cases.

    Now the bodies are made of aluminum for us, all according to the same drawings. They do it like this:
    • Take an aluminum bar and process the edges - round off;
    • From it they “select” the core with a mill, and then make holes for the keyboard;
    • After they carry out a protective treatment of the metal - “anodizing”

    I want to warn you right away that anodizing is prohibited in Moscow, because the work is carried out using acids and alkalis. Therefore, buildings are manufactured for us in the Moscow region, which complicates the delivery and production process.

    And even in such a streamlined process, we either grind the walls of the body to the thickness of a piece of paper, or burn the bodies with anodizing. As a result, up to 30% of the marriage, which is returned.
    In the end, we understand that we need employees who check the quality of the cases, and such a wasteful turning of the case translates into a cost equal to the cost of a finished 32GB Chinese flash drive with delivery and customs.

    The birth of the brand and style ( spring 2011 )

    While we went this difficult path, the company went along with us: offices and employees changed, and the direction of the company changed. As a result, it was decided to abandon the resale of safety equipment, develop a brand and engage in one direction - information destruction systems.
    There were enough options for the brand name, from “Susanin” to “Pavlik Morozov”))))))), but they decided that the name “Samurai” would sound more clearly in the world. A new website for the company was created and the designer developed a commercial style: logos, envelopes, instructions, etc.
    Rebranding cost about 100 thousand rubles.
    These were our logos before rebranding.


    And the "cherry on the cake" in the development of any gadget is packaging. This is the last stage in the development, but the first thing that the buyer will see, so it is important to make it the most creative. We are still arguing about the appearance of the package, at least because we need to assemble the current box for the flash drive within 30 minutes.

    In custody

    The next stage in the life of Samurai is obtaining a certificate from the FSTEC and the FSB. But there is also a huge number of pitfalls: starting with the fact that preparing documents at the FSTEC costs from 200 thousand rubles. and only 9 companies are doing this for the whole of Russia and ending with the fact that it lasts at least six months.

    From our experience we want to advise: when trying to develop any gadget in our country from scratch, be prepared for several years of a difficult path and the disgusting work of enterprises.
    If you want to significantly save money and take an individual approach, then contact freelancers. Also, naively believing that having a plant here by your side, everything will turn out faster - a cruel mistake. Our friends made the mold for other products in China, it cost them both cheaper and faster, and most importantly - better.

    If you have not looked at our profile yet, I would like to say that we are located in the territory of the Strogino industrial park in Moscow . They help us here both organizationally and financially. And the state allocated a subsidy to us for the development and the opportunity to "get on our feet." A double-edged sword: we can not buy or manufacture cases or other elements for our flash drive outside of Russia.

    So, if you approach the matter correctly, then there will be people, and money, and help in your startup! Go for it!

    After the first article was published, we were asked questions of what and how. I tried here to indicate as many details as possible in order to simplify your path. If you have questions “how to start production in Russia?” - Ask directly in the comments so that
    1) everyone sees the answer;
    2) those areas that did not concern us could be covered by other readers who are well versed in these matters.

    Subscribe to our blog. In the near future we will arrange the sale of our equipment for Khabrovites.

    The first site of the company
    Technopark Strogino
    Company for the production of printed circuit boards
    Designer Ilya Melekhov
    Search for patent attorneys in the registry
    Search engine for patents in Russia

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