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).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 2009

Want to realize the market value of your invention?  Create an image of your invention that attracts the market (people willing to buy and invest in your invention, products and services that embody your invention, and a small business that connects your invention to the market).  Rachel Jackson (of Peacock Publicity & Marketing Services) offered us practical advice on how to develop and manage relationships with credible reporters (bloggers, broadcasters, and journalists) who can help us to create forceful meaningful images of our inventions and to relate those images to the public.

Start with a business that gives meaning to your image.
Stock enough service capacity and products for expected sales, provide a convenient ordering system based on current technology, and use a robust customer service plan.  Predict risks and plan solutions for them.  Most importantly, communicate!  Tell your customers what to expect from you (and tell them if you are temporarily overwhelmed), ask them how they heard about you and what their thoughts are about your business.  Treat every link to a new customer as if it were gold.

"It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much." - Yogi Berra
There are advantages in hiring a public relations professional to design and build your image.  A professional knows what images attract the market, has credibility with reporters, and knows how to get things done - like how to start and maintain an interesting conversation with the market.

With patience and hard work, you can create your own image.
Help yourself by collecting and organizing all of your public relations information in a binder divided into 8 sections:
  • Goals     Relevant, newsworthy, timely.  Tie them to economic or demographic trends. 
  • The industry and its potential press outlets  
    • Who is your market and where are they?  
    • Who can help you communicate with your market?  
      • Bacon's radio directory: directory of radio stations programming contacts.  Indianapolis library call number 384.54025 BAC.  
      • Bacon's business media directory: directory of print and broadcast business media.  Indianapolis library call number 659.2025 BAC.  
      • Gale directory of publications and broadcast media.  Indianapolis library call number 071.3025 GAL.  
      • Magazine mastheads that identify editors and circulation size  
  • Angles     Give them a reason to care.  Reporters are credible because they care about their audience, not about you.  Tell a story that will interest a particular reporter’s audience.  Is your business new, selling a new product, helping to solve an important problem, the focus of a large group’s attention, or part of a popular trend?  Find out what interests audiences by searching a library subscription database (such as EBSCOhost),, or for terms related to your product or service.  
  • Press materials     Just the facts.  A reporter, not you, decides whether your business is interesting.  Fit your facts to each reporter and audience.  Describe an interesting problem that the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your business solves.  Back up your claims with case studies and testimonials.  Consider giving reporters easy access to this information by putting it on your website.  
  • Calendars  
    • General  
      • Chase's annual events. Indianapolis library call number 394.26.  
      • Trade show dates, holidays, and events that help or hurt promotion of your business.  
    • Strategic  
      • Time your press releases to help reporters.  Maybe John Doe publishes an article about noteworthy inventors on the third Monday of each month.  
  • Contacts     Create a directory of reporters and record your communications with them - who, what, when, where, why, and how.  
  • Tracked clips and media     Know where you have been.  Record all of your publicity.  
  • Plans for enhancing a placement     Maximize return on your investment in public relations.  
    • Quantify queries and sales from your website, and figure out why people visit your website but don’t buy.  
    • Help your customers, investors, vendors, media, website viewers, and Twitter followers believe in your business by telling them about any publicity you receive. Others like your business; they should too.  
    • Give your publicity momentum.  
Thank you Ms. Jackson for sharing your expertise in public relations with us!

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

Rick Hanson
6,240,579 Unitary pedal control of brake and fifth wheel deployment via side and end articulation with additional unitary pedal control of height of patient support
6,253,397 Deployable siderails for a wheeled carriage
6,256,812 Wheeled carriage having auxiliary wheel spaced from center of gravity of wheeled base and cam apparatus controlling deployment of auxiliary wheel and deployable side rails for the wheeled carriage
6,264,006 Brake for castered wheels
6,507,964 Surgical table
D474,446 Sterilizable battery component

Bob Humbert
4,281,368 Keyhole illuminating apparatus

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

Al Robbins

3,882,960 Ride quality control for surface effects craft
3,946,689 Air dynamo pressure regulation and modulation device for surface effect ships and air cushion vehicles
6,588,702 Lighter-than-air device having a flexible usable surface

Matt Thie
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

Richard Tucker
5,833,751 Powder coating booth having smooth internal surfaces
6,840,367 Material handling and manufacturing system and method
6,976,835 Manufacturing system and process
7,018,579 Manufacturing system and process

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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