The industry of martial arts has moved from the study of traditional, classical martial arts to one focused more on combat sports. Where does this leave those who are still involved in the business of the classical martial arts methods? Such professionals embrace niche marketing, which can be lucrative. After all, not many people are producing equipment designed for traditional striking and training methods. Those choosing to handcraft old-time equipment may find enthusiastic customers. Changing and upgrading the equipment to be more appropriate for modern times further expands the niche and opens the door to reselling to repeat customers. Yes, niche markets are great to explore. Word to the wise here -- any home business martial arts equipment manufacturer attempting this business model is best served by implementing a patent strategy as well.
Instituting a Change
Handcrafting a training apparatus that has been around many centuries entails duplicating something that has been around forever and infusing a personal touch of quality craftsmanship. Making a major change, however, could open the door to a patent claim. For example, there are wall-hanging kung fu wooden arm attachments designed to train "sticking" and bridge contact. Losing arm-to-arm contact with the attachment is an error. An electronics-savvy designer could integrate sensors into the arm attachment to notify the user he/she was lost contact. If no one ever thought of this before and no patent was filed for such technology, the possibility exists to file a patent on the new innovation.
Profits from Patents
A small, home-based business may not be able to mass produce martial arts equipment. Bigger companies can. These bigger companies could be legally required to pay a fee to a patent holder if they choose to procure the idea for their own mass production. Amazon makes a fortune from the patent on "one-click" shopping. A martial arts equipment designer may be able to tap into a similar type of revenue stream if various other manufacturers opt to integrate his/her patented design. And remember, if there is no patent in place, there is no need for any type of financial ownership agreement.
Working with a Patent Professional
Before attempting to patent anything, discussions should take place with a patent attorney or consultant.The patent process is not complicated to someone with experience. A patent professional can assist with necessary research prior to filing a patent and also plan out a patent strategy for an innovative client. Time and money won't be allocated improperly if a patent consultant is helping through the various steps.