Family Products Case

A Family of Products: Setback or Comeback?

Minnette Bumpus, Bowie State University, Garthen Leslie, Independent IT Consultant, Dominique Turner, University of Maryland, Global Campus
January 12, 2021
North America
15 pages
product line extension, Design Thinking, improvement patents, Crowdfunding
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.72)
Average rating: 

Garthen Leslie was thrust into the public spotlight after inventing a smartphone application that could control and monitor the operation of window air conditioners. This invention evolved into the Aros smart air conditioner, a Quirky and GE cobranded product. To expand his product line, Garthen began developing a family of air conditioners shortly after the first Aros air conditioner was commercially available. Unfortunately, plans for product line extensions with GE and Quirky did not move forward because Quirky declared bankruptcy after the first marketing cycle with Aros. However, Garthen had the opportunity to pursue relationships with other companies that helped inventors bring new products to market. The feasibility of the product line extension would be greatly impacted by the type of partner chosen.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Analyze the feasibility of using improvement patents to build a family of products.
  2. Assess a product line extension strategy.
  3. Illustrate the three phases of the design thinking process (inspiration, ideation, implementation).
  4. Compare and contrast potential crowdfunding platforms as potential partners for bringing an idea to market.