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Submit Your Invention

We want to make it easy for current and potential partners to reach out to us with products ideas that may be of interest to our business. Whether you're a previous partner or brand new to The Hillman Group, the information in this section will help answer your questions about how to reach out to The Hillman Group.

How to Submit Your Idea to The Hillman Group

Follow the process below to submit your product idea to The Hillman Group.

Review the criteria for submitting your ideas

The below submission criteria describes what types of submissions Hillman can or cannot consider.  This information will help you decide whether to submit your product idea.

If your product idea fits the criteria below, we invite you to submit your idea.

We are looking for matches for the product or business needs of Hillman. Please look at Hillman’s products on this website to see the types of consumer products Hillman sells.

Product ideas should also include protectable intellectual property, typically in the form of a granted patent or trademark or published patent application or published trademark application. Hillman cannot advise you on whether or not to pursue a patent, trademark or other form of intellectual property protection. For more information regarding the nature of intellectual property and its uses, you should consult your legal representative or appropriate government agencies, for example, the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Please do not submit the following:

Product ideas which you do not own or do not have the full legal right to represent, or about which you are unable to provide information on a non-confidential basis.

Confidential information or documents. Remember, all information submitted must be non-confidential. Do not submit confidential information. We will not review any documents that are marked ‘Confidential’ or the equivalent. The documents will be deleted from our system, and the submission will be automatically declined.

Ideas, suggestions or thoughts that do not include protectable intellectual property.

Designs for use on any product you do not own or control. This includes designs for use on current Hillman products.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following frequently asked questions provide helpful information about our submission and review process, including more about how to submit a product idea to Hillman, what happens to the information you provide after it reaches us, and what kinds of responses you can expect to receive.

Will Hillman sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement before I share my product idea?

No. Hillman will only consider non-confidential information for its initial review of your submission. If after our initial review of a submission, we find that we may have interest in learning more, we will contact you to discuss how to proceed and any needed agreements.

How can I arrange to present my product idea in person or via electronic means?

You cannot arrange for an in person presentation or any presentation via electronic means (including phone, internet, or teleconferencing methods). Our initial review is based wholly on the non-confidential information you provide in your submission. Face-to-face meetings, phone conferences, internet conferences, teleconferences or live demonstrations are typically not required at this stage. If Hillman desires any such meeting, conference or demonstration, Hillman will notify you.

How can I present my product idea to Hillman in a manner different than outlined in Hillman’s New Product Submission Process?

In order to submit any new product idea to Hillman, you must fully comply with Hillman’s New Product Submission Process. Thus, you cannot present any new product idea to Hillman in any other manner. If you attempt to submit any product idea to Hillman in any manner other than as outlined in Hillman’s New Product Submission Process, it will not be reviewed, everything you submit will be deleted from our system, and the submission will be automatically declined.

Who will review my submission, and how long will it take?

Each submission is handled by Hillman’s New Product Coordinator who manages the process and determines how to route it to ensure it reaches the relevant personnel within Hillman. In many cases, this means review by multiple people to evaluate merit or strategic business fit for Hillman.

We are committed to reaching a decision as quickly as possible. However, a thorough initial review may take as long as twelve weeks to complete.

In the event that we need additional information or samples, we will contact you.

In the meantime, we ask that you be patient and not contact our executives or other employees regarding your submission. Unfortunately, we will not take your calls or respond to any communication you send us other than the initial submission. Even if you have not yet heard from us, we are working on it!

What is my protection? How can I be assured my product idea won’t be taken?

Hillman is committed to doing the right thing. It’s who we are. We also know that we’re only as good, only as trustworthy as our last partnership. We enter every business arrangement with that in mind!

We appreciate the value of protecting the “intellectual property” behind any product. If you have something of real value, you want to protect it so others can’t duplicate it!

That’s why, when you submit a product idea to us, we state over and over again: only send non-confidential information. Anything that is proprietary – anything that would enable someone to duplicate your product idea – should not be part of your submission. We do this to protect your interests; but also to protect us, as well. We urge you to consult with your attorney prior to making any submission to us to protect your interests. Please understand that just because you send us a product idea does not mean you have rights to it or that Hillman hasn’t already been developing the same product or someone else has already submitted the same idea to Hillman or the product is already in the marketplace. If you truly have a protectable interest in the product idea submitted to Hillman, Hillman simply can’t sell that product unless an arrangement is worked out with you.

If Hillman likes my submission, how much money will Hillman pay me for it?

Compensation is an important component of any business deal. Value is determined through discussions between Hillman and the party which controls the rights to the intellectual property and the product. Each deal is evaluated on its own merits. As a result, there is no standard amount.

What type of business deal with Hillman could result from my submission?

The type of business relationship that might result from a submission of interest to Hillman could take a variety of forms, depending upon the specifics of the innovation and both the potential partner's and Hillman’s needs. As examples, this may take the form of a licensing, purchase or supply agreement, or other type of collaborative venture.

For what reasons might Hillman decline to pursue my submission?

We realize that those who submit product ideas to Hillman desire feedback, including the reasons why we may decide to decline an opportunity. However, we are not at liberty to give reasons. Generally speaking, submissions are most frequently declined for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The proposed product idea is already known to us.
  • We already have work in progress in the area encompassed by the submission.
  • The product is not a strategic match with where we want to take our businesses or brands.
  • The size of the opportunity does not fit with our business plans.
  • There is a lack of protectable intellectual property associated with the submission.
 

What does Hillman do with personal information that I provide with my submission?

Hillman uses this information to communicate with you about your submission. It is not used for any other purpose, nor is it shared with any third parties unless you have expressly indicated your agreement for us to do so.