One important thing to consider when evaluating the offers of different design contracting services, is the final ownership and even delivery of design files (IP).

What this means, is many product development companies in this industry will claim copyright ownership over all or some part of the IP in your product, and may not even provide design files to you at all.

Yes, any standard product design contract will mean the release of production documentation to you or your manufacturing partner, then you can make products without paying a royalty to that contractor forever.

But without the design files in your hands, when you want that product changed or upgraded  (and you eventually will) they are the only people you can go to without incurring a slow and costly reverse engineering or even re-engineering cycle.

Now, what if something happens to a business with an arrangement like this, while owning the IP for your product and holding the only copy of all design work in their systems? They could become very busy and unresponsive to your needs. They could shut up shop and just disappear. For those who like imagining worst case scenarios – what if you have a competitor who buys this business?

This is why it’s so important to look for this little detail. It may not seem like much to give up if you can’t and don’t ever plan to develop the product yourself anyway, but it can have a big impact in your future.

Also consider that it highlights a mindset in the development contractor where a customer is captured by default for future work. Wouldn’t you rather have an ongoing relationship with a product development service because you believe they are the best for your job, and  you love the service they provide?