It was seen that the works of founders of States, law-givers, tyrant-destroyers, and heroes cover
but narrow spaces and endure but for a time; while the work of the inventor, though of less pomp,
is felt everywhere and lasts forever.          - Francis Bacon Preface to a Treatise on Interpreting Nature

The Design of Everyday Things

Every inventor should take this free online course. Learn the basics of design and start observing and applying design principles.

How to Design Breakthrough Inventions

A CBS interview of IDEO founder David Kelley

How to Build a StartUp

In this free online course, learn the key tools and steps for building a successful startup (or at least reducing the risk of failure).

Thursday, October 4, 2007

September 2007 Summary

Marketing strategist Ms. Judy Knafel of Element Three helped us understand one of the most challenging topics with which an inventor must deal - the basics of marketing an invention - with a presentation entitled "Marketing in the Mix". Sooner or later, nearly every inventor must learn how to persuade a client to part with hard earned funds for a product that may seem far less valuable to the client than it does to the inventor. As defined by the American Marketing Association, "marketing is the process of planning and then executing the product, pricing, promotion, and place of ideas, goods, or services to create exchanges and satisfy individual and organizational NEEDs." Start with a business plan, which reveals opportunities a marketing plan can then exploit. In developing your marketing plan, think about:
  1. the end users of your product. Who are they? Where are they? How many are they? How will your product benefit them and improve their lives? Realize that most people base their decision to buy on emotion, which they later justify with reason. If you can't answer these questions, you may need to return to your workshop and improve your invention.
  2. your specific marketing goals and strategies. Do you want more customers? Better customers? More loyal customers? More customer awareness of your product? Better employees? Do you want your message to be distributed by radio, TV, newspaper, mail, cell phone, website (becoming more popular, and gives you information about your target group), in person?
  3. your competitors. Who are they? Don't forget about indirect competition.
  4. your marketing budget, based on a sales forecast. Do you have the money for this, or do you need financial help?
  5. your place in the market, based on a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).
  6. your product and its life cycle, design, branding, packaging and distribution, production strategies, pricing, and customer service.
If you are short on marketing dollars, imagine ways to attract attention to your company. Become recognized as an expert in your field, network online (YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, blogs), do "buzz marketing" (word of mouth), personal canvassing, or put a sign on your truck, car, or T-shirt. Read "Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days" (ISBN-10: 1932531297). When you begin marketing, focus on the one thing you do best. One market, one feature, one message, one audience. If you are successful - great! If not, study and build on your partial successes. How? Get help from: Marketing isn't perfect - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. You can't wait for perfection. We certainly appreciate Ms. Knafel's sharing this informative evening with us.

August 2007 Summary

Joe Palestino from SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) guided our discussion. He helped us understand how important a business plan is, not just as a required document which can determine funding, but as an overall guide to the whole business enterprise helping the inventor succeed. SCORE executives offer someone starting a new business a great combination of needed attributes. Each has worked in a managerial capacity for many years in areas unfamiliar to inventors. Unlike operators who view the newcomer as a cash cow, SCORE charges fees that are the minimum consistent with good advice. SCORE is a service group with a genuine personal interest in you and in your success. SCORE offices are distributed widely, so you can meet with an executive within reasonable distance.

Patent Drawings by Richard McVicker

Some inventions patented by our members:

Bob Brand
3,179,907 Tuning system for television receivers
3,219,933 Television tuner switching system
3,241,072 Tuning control system
3,538,466 Television tuner cast housing with integrally cast transmission lines
4,503,740 Optical cutting edge locator for a cutting apparatus
4,503,896 Dog system for veneer slicer
4,601,317 Veneer slicing system
5,511,598 Veneer-slicer with remotely controllable blade angle adjustment
5,562,137 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
5,590,700 Vacuum flitch table with self-cleaning vacuum valve
5,678,619 Method and apparatus for cutting veneer from a tapered flitch
5,680,887 Veneer slicer with timing belt
5,694,995 Method and apparatus for preparing a flitch for cutting
5,701,938 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
5,819,828 Method and apparatus for preparing a flitch for cutting
5,868,187 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
7,395,843 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
7,552,750 Method and apparatus for cutting veneer sheets from a flitch

Kenton Brett
6023685 Computer controlled event ticket auctioning system
6704713 Computer controlled event ticket auctioning system
6907405 Computer controlled priority right auctioning system
7647269 Computer-based right distribution system with reserve pricing
7698210 Computer-based right distribution system
7720746 Computer-based right distribution system with password protection
7747507 Computer controlled auction system
7769673 Computer-based right distribution system with request reallocation
7992631 System and method for seasonal energy storage
8073765 Computer-based right distribution system with password protection
8128407 Method and system for teaching math
8538856 Computer-based right distribution system
8732033 Computer-based right distribution system with temporal variation
9614733 Methods and systems for reducing burst usage of a networked computer system
9900220 Methods and systems for reducing burst usage of a networked computer system

James Dougherty
8622039 Rockerless desmodromic valve system
9488074 Rockerless desmodromic valve system
9366158 Unitary cam follower and valve preload spring for a desmodromic valve mechanism

Ron Jackson
4,886,110 HVAC zone control system
4,943,039 Adjustable clamp
4,987,409 Level sensor and alarm
5,132,669 Level sensor with alarm
5,381,989 Adjustable spring clamp
5,944,098 Zone control for HVAC system
6,145,752 Temperature monitoring and control system
6,322,443 Duct supported booster fan
D347,596 Audible security alarm
D376,747 Door security device

Jerry McQuinn
D689,343 Universal Nutcracker

Richard McVicker
3,261,937 Three position snap switch utilizing interference blade means
3,319,477 Timer Escapement
3,332,704 Manually propelled treadmill vehicle
4,625,616 Thumb pick
6,309,076 Light barrier, screen or reflector
D240,237 Sculpture or the like
D356,653 Yard light
8389839 Thumb pick

Bill Pangburn
5,943,831 Device for Hauling Objects

Matt Thie
4,940,162 Rolled coin dispenser
4,844,446 Multiple-compartment currency stacker-sorter
4,940,162 Rolled coin dispenser
7,298,280 Lighted fluid flow indication apparatus
7,617,826 Conserver
8146592 Method and apparatus for regulating fluid flow or conserving fluid flow
8230859 Method and apparatus for regulating fluid

Don Walls
D707090 Torque key lever
RE36209 Door lock apparatus

Dave Zedonis
5,637,926 Battery powered electronic assembly for wheel attachment

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