Blog

Provisional Patent Outline

Posted on June 20, 2017

A provisional patent application offers a low cost way to reserve protection of an invention idea for one year. With a well written provisional in place you can (with some risk) present your invention idea to investors, designers, manufacturers and possible licensees. Patents are complicated and imperfect. If you're new to patents, here is a quick overview on things you should know. Professional patent agents or attorneys will help you avoid pitfalls in the patent process. But if you take your time and get help from a resource like Patent it Yourself, you can absolutely file on your own. Most ...

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Should the Inventor Be CEO?

Posted on May 16, 2017

Putting a Healthy Divide Between Inventors and Managers by Scott KeeleyKeeleyDeAngelo.com Karen James is a typical software developer: focused, methodical, binary. She is also inventive. She can envision a solution to a problem via lines of code. In the early 90s Karen wrote a software application that medical staff could use to keep track of patients and manage the back office. This was before electronic health records was a thing, and forward-thinking practices were steadily purchasing it. As business increased, Karen hired a team of coders, and soon found herself heading a 50-person shop. The coder had become a ...

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Space-X, Tesla, Now Brain Chips

Posted on April 30, 2017

Elon Musk is setting the bar for visionary entrepreneurship even higher with a new venture called Neuralink. The new company seeks to do nothing more than implant chips into human brains so that they can merge with computers. Read the story here.  The Singularity comes one step closer. ...

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Free Invention Evaluation App Helps Inventors Find Ingredients of Success

Posted on April 26, 2017

Inventors and investors can use the Inventicator™ for free to determine the odds of their new products succeeding while not disclosing confidential information. The Inventicator™ is a professional invention evaluation tool April 26, 2017 Boston, MA - Inventors and investors can now evaluate new product and service ideas online for free with the Inventicator™, a professional invention evaluation tool developed by Invention City®. The Inventicator™ provides a rigorous process for estimating an invention's potential for commercial success, without disclosure of confidential information. Users answer questions about an invention’s attributes by clicking on check boxes.  The answers ar ...

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Battles of the Bird Feeder

Posted on April 12, 2017

Cardinals, blue jays, black-capped chickadees and many other birds are regular visitors to the bird feeder at my home. So are squirrels and raccoons. Left to their own devices the fuzzy critters eat more than their fair share and crowd out the feathered ones.  Bird feeder designers try all kinds of clever mechanisms to stop them, but the furry fiends are highly motivated, dextrous and smart.  The last straw was when I saw a raccoon sitting buddha-style inside the bird feeder, the top having been ripped off. He was happily shoving handfuls of black sunflower seeds into his ...

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How a Corporation Says "No" to an Inventor

Posted on April 07, 2017

A Classic Invention Rejection Letter We just received a reply on two outstanding inventions we presented to a major US company for licensing consideration. Both inventions are engineered and ready for production. One has issued US and Chinese utility patents. The other has US, Chinese and European patents pending. Both have working prototypes that look like finished products. Target users love them. And they fit perfectly into  existing product lines of the company we pitched. The answer was "no" and offered nothing useful by way of explanation. But at least it was a clear no. That's something to be ...

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FREE Invention Submission

Posted on April 04, 2017

We'll Consider Your Invention for FREE. But you'll have to do some homework...(Scroll down for the submission form.) We have long wanted to offer a way for inventors to submit their ideas to us without spending any money. Here it is:  Inventicate your invention with the Inventicator™. Record the ICQ number.Inventicate a Benchmark Invention with the Inventicator™. Record the ICQ number.Fill out the form below. (You will not be asked to provide any Confidential Information). Sign and submit.We'll contact you if we're interested in learning more. If ...

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SF Start-up Makes Chicken Strips in Lab

Posted on March 15, 2017

Frankenchicken?A new company in the San Francisco Bay Area wants a piece of the $200 billion a year Americans spend on meat. The company, confusingly named Memphis Meats,  says it has successfully developed the world’s first chicken strip grown from self-reproducing cells. It will be years before these strips appear at your local KFC or Chick-fil-A, but a few lucky testers have had a chance to taste them. The verdict: "tastes like chicken." Read the full story at WSJ.com ...

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Costs for Invention Development, Patents and Licensing

Posted on March 09, 2017

It is ridiculously hard for inventors to find cost information on the various steps they'll likely take in developing, protecting and commercializing an invention idea if they go forward on their own. Prices vary because inventions differ in complexity.  But it is possible to give an example. Following is our estimate for the costs of taking a simple new invention concept from idea stage, through drawings, patents, prototypes, pilot production, licensing and manufacturing using Invention City and its providers.  Invention services are not like Big Macs. The quality of patent writing, prototyping, negotiating and other services ...

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Controlling Robots With Our Minds

Posted on March 08, 2017

The ability to move things with thoughts is no longer science fiction. Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab have created a system where humans can guide robots with their brainwaves. Read more at WBUR. ...

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Quest for the "Perfect" Pancake

Posted on March 04, 2017

One week ago, while spending a long weekend in the Berkshires (western Massachusetts) with my wife and daughters, we had breakfast at the Haven restaurant in Lenox. It's a pricey, yuppified, country-style, food joint that owes its existence to New Yorkers who frequently visit the area. The eggs and potatoes and bacon and coffee were excellent, but not any more enjoyable to my palate than what I get in a decent diner. However, the pancakes were something special and raised the bar in my quest to achieve the perfect ...

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Housewares Inventions Wanted!

Posted on February 24, 2017

Dan and I will be attending the International Housewares Show in Chicago on Sunday and Monday March 19-20, 2017. We'll be presenting potential licensees some of the housewares-oriented inventions we've licensed in the past few months and can take on a few more. If you have a great invention idea that's appropriate for the Home and Housewares Category, this could be a great opportunity.  Beyond the Housewares Show we'll also be running a Direct Response TV test for one of the best new products we've ever seen this coming spring. This new product could inspire an entirely ...

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Amazon Drone Delivery System - Patented and Ready to Fly

Posted on February 08, 2017

Last December an Amazon drone made its first delivery of an Amazon Fire TV and a bag of popcorn in Cambridgeshire England. It took 13 minutes from order to delivery (see a video of the event below). It seems that Amazon's plan for a fully deployed system will involve high altitude blimps serving as mother ships with packages that are then delivered by drones. A drone will be loaded with a customer's order at the blimp and then drop and glide with gravity before powering up and making delivery to the specified location. ...

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Find an Honest, Trustworthy, Legitimate and Real Invention Company

Posted on February 08, 2017

What makes Invention City different? Rated A+ by BBB with great reviews from real people.Over 25 years of real inventing experience.Revenue sharing.$95 one time fee for a Brutally Honest Review and no other fees. Some companies reel inventors into expensive development programs with the bait of a free invention evaluation or "inventor kit". Because those companies make money from service fees that can range to $10,000 and more, they have no incentive to tell inventors hard truths. Invention City does things differently.   We offer a Brutally Honest Invention Review for a one ...

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Invention City Comments

Posted on January 26, 2017

Here are some of the unsolicited emails Invention City has received in the past year after giving NEGATIVE reviews: January 25, 2017"Thank you for you and your teams time Dan. I have learned a great deal on how to proceed in the future. I now have more information and a better understanding of how to proceed before I ask you for another review in the future. Thank you for helping me save money. God Bless." - C.J. Walton September 12, 2016"Hi Mike -Thanks for your review, effort and feedback. You found a lot of stuff that I missed! I ...

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Accepting a Deal Offer... 1 Year late

Posted on January 17, 2017

Submit your invention for a possible licensing deal here. It happened again this morning. We received an email from an inventor we'd offered a deal to last year. Here's what it said: "Dan-surprise! A blast from the past. We spoke last March about marketing our invention, the _______________. You took our prototype to the housewares convention to show it off. When you returned you said there was only interest in a ____________version. Since almost a year has past, and with other developments, possible to restart that process? Original proposal still apply? Let me know-thanks!" What the inventor doesn't seem to remember ...

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How Long Does It Take to Turn an Invention Into a Product?

Posted on January 16, 2017

Inventors often ask how long it takes to turn an invention idea into a real product and begin making money. Of course it depends on the complexity of the product, the skills of the product developer, distribution channels, marketing, money and luck. Below is what the development process looked like for Joel Marks, a mechanically brilliant but totally inexperienced inventor working on his own with a limited budget. The product is the SqueezeDriver® rotary screwdriver. You can read about its (lack of) commercial success here. As you can see, the ...

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Selling Invention Ideas on Kickstarter

Posted on January 16, 2017

Kickstarter Basics: You have a great new product idea and have heard that crowdfunding on a platform like Kickstarter is the way to go.  In our experience it can be fantastic. But most of the time it fails to meet expectations. The reason is that launching on Kickstarter is pretty much the same as starting a new business and needs to be approached in the same manner. There is no shortcut to success.  Here are the basics you need to know: 1. Kickstarter is a platform that a creator builds on. It is as ...

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Nokia vs Apple - Patent Fights Are About Money Not Right vs Wrong

Posted on December 24, 2016

Apple says Nokia is partnered with "patent trolls." Nokia was one of the creators of the cell phone industry but its once booming business in making and selling devices was washed away by the incoming tide of smart phones, Apple's i-phone most of all. Meanwhile, Apple's hottest new product utilized dozens of Nokia patents. In 2011 a first round of patent litigation between the companies was settled with a 5-year royalty deal worth some $720 million. That deal ends this coming December 31st and Nokia wants to insure that income from royalties continues. Thus, earlier this week, Nokia filed a ...

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Moral Machines Making Life and Death Decisions

Posted on November 25, 2016

As artificial intelligence and robotics advance, human questions of morality have begun to arise. Consider self-driving cars. When a car driving itself faces an unexpected scenario, like a child chasing a ball into the road, it's easy to agree that the car should should automatically stop or move to avoid causing harm. But what if the situation presents only two bad options? What if the brakes fail and the car must choose between continuing straight ahead and killing the boy or veering into a cement truck and killing the driver? How should the car choose? As ...

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Invention Companies List

Posted on November 25, 2016

How to Find an Honest Invention Company Inventors search Google and Bing to find help in making their inventions a reality. Some want to control the process as much as possible and look for specific help with patents, prototypes and manufacturing. Others want one-stop shopping, they seek a company who will take their undeveloped idea and turn it into a successful product that pays royalties. Natural fears about having brilliant ideas stolen are amplified by stories about invention company rip-offs and scams. How does an inventor make an informed choice? The reputation of the invention business as a swamp of ...

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Inventor Wants to Proceed After "No" from Invention City

Posted on November 18, 2016

Invention City's program for helping clients works opposite everyone else in the industry. If you've been through our site you know that we look at inventions as prospective investors and mostly say "no". We explain the no and give suggestions on next steps. Our Brutally Honest Review process evolved from our own experience with our own inventions. We know that most inventions fail, even great ones. However, as inventors and entrepreneurs we also understand that passion and perseverance can sometimes win the day. We never say never. Here is an email I just received from a ...

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Re-inventing Chess

Posted on October 16, 2016

"Really Bad Chess" Changes the Game When I was in my early teens my fellow nerd best friend David and I would regularly play chess games to the 1812 Overture. I usually won in those early games and it got to the point where I would be declaring check mate as the canons were going off at the end of the piece. Victory was mine! Then David read some chess books and began kicking my butt. Sicilian Defense. King's Gambit. He eventually became a ranked player and it got to the point where the ...

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Fast Money from Inventing

Posted on October 08, 2016

Is it possible to make money quickly by selling or licensing an invention idea? Only under a lucky alignment of circumstances.  IF you have an invention that solves a problem that a company is actively seeking to solve AND you can find that particular company AND that company is open to innovation from outside of the organization AND you have a prototype that can be evaluated then, yes, it is possible to see money in the form of a royalty advance or a buyout once a deal is negotiated and signed. There's ...

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Should Email and Website Links be added to the USPTO Website?

Posted on September 12, 2016

The United States Patent and Trademark Office patent search engine is a great resource for anyone developing or utilizing technology. However, there is a serious problem with the USPTO patent search database. Contact information for inventors and patent assignees often becomes out of date after a patent has been issued, so it is difficult to contact inventors if you want to work with them. If manufacturers seeking patented technology are unable to reach the patent owner or inventor, then patents act as a barrier to commercialization of the technology they protect. This problem ...

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Certified Bear Proof!

Posted on September 09, 2016

Some decades ago the luggage brand American Tourister ran television ads that showed humans dressed as gorillas beating up on suitcases. The message was simple: our products are tough. Times change but the message of product toughness is timeless.Today anyone who wants to promote their product as tough can submit it to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Montana where their product can be tested by real grizzly bears. See for yourself: - Mike Marks ...

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The Importance of Patent Strategy

Posted on September 05, 2016

Once you file an application that gives your invention a priority date, be it a provisional, non-provisional, PCT or other application, a clock starts ticking and you need to make decisions about where, what and when you might file additional applications. In some cases you will want to establish a priority date and then delay additional expenses for as long as possible. In other cases you may want to launch a product immediately and have some sort of protection in place ASAP.  One thing that's especially important to consider is international patent protection. There is no such thing ...

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Robot Evolution

Posted on September 05, 2016

A story in the NYTimes about sailboat drones caught my eye this morning. The boats can gather all kinds of ocean related data regarding things like the eating habits of seals, the presence of sharks, sea surface temperatures, water salinity and so on. Measuring 15' from stem to stern they have 20' tall masts and are designed to withstand tropical storm conditions. All very cool as you can see below: <span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span> ...

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The Sewing Machine Exemplifies the Meaning of Invention

Posted on August 12, 2016

When an invention changes lives it's a big deal and Elias Howe's sewing machine is a great example. The sewing machine did more than enable faster sewing. It changed the way people lived and enabled common people to have clothes that fit as well as those of the rich. It also started the ready-to-wear fashion industry we know today. Often people assume that labor saving automation reduces employment and hurts the economy. Here's a short essay by the American Enterprise Institute that explains how the sewing machine enhanced lives and created new jobs. ...

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Inventing the Electronic Brain

Posted on August 05, 2016

Artificial Neurons Becoming a Meatspace Reality  The distance between physical and virtual realities is diminishing ever faster. In 2005 Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted that many people living on earth today would, in their lifetimes, see a merging of humans and computers and the reality of human life on earth would fundamentally change in an event called the Singularity.That event has come one step closer with the development of artificial neurons that mimic the neurons in our brains. On August 3rd, a group of researchers led by Evangelos Eleftheriou at IBM’s research laboratory in Zurich announced t ...

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Efficiency is the Magic of Successful Inventions

Posted on July 20, 2016

A few days ago I was speaking with our lead inventor Joel Marks (my brother) about finding great invention ideas and said, "All successful inventions have a bit of magic, how do we identify that?" Joel replied, "Magic comes from increased efficiency." Joel speaks with the precision of an engineer because he is one. When he uses the word efficiency he means this: ef·fi·cien·cyəˈfiSHənsē/nountechnical the ratio of the useful work performed by a machine or in a process to the total energy expended or heat taken in. I tried to come u ...

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Has Quirky Become a Flesh Eating Zombie?

Posted on July 19, 2016

Quirky Has Either The Worst or Second Worst Disclosure Agreement I've Ever Read. Maybe Even Worse than Apple (and that's saying something). Seven years ago a 23 year old entrepreneur named Ben Kaufman founded a community inventing platform called Quirky. At Quirky.com inventors could contribute ideas and others (with critical help from Quirky's staff) could help turn some of them into commercial products. Points were awarded to people who influenced the development of the product and somehow, magically, Quirky kept track of everything. If a product succeeded, the  ...

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$1 Million Inventor Competition

Posted on May 07, 2016

From Press Release:AMERICA'S GREATEST MAKERS / SEASON 2Now Casting: Designers, Engineers, Inventors and Makers!Calling all Designers, Engineers, Inventors and Makers!Intel, legendary Executive Producer Mark Burnett, MGM Television and Turner Broadcasting are looking for the most innovative makers to join Season 2 of America's Greatest Makers. Do you have an amazing idea for the next big smart connected device? Apply now for the chance to make your dream a reality using Intel's latest technology including the Intel Curie Module and upcoming advanced developer platforms that can connect to a broad array of input and output devices (including cameras and displays). ...

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Google Search - A Nearly Perfect Invention - ICQ 281

Posted on May 02, 2016

Google Search created an inflection point in human civilization by offering an elegant solution to finding relevant search results. That sounds like hyperbole. It’s not. That’s why Google is Google (or Alphabet as the case may be). Prior to Google Search, getting relevant information was hit and miss. Users would try sites like Altavista, Lycos, Yahoo and others and still not find what they were looking for. The PageRank algorithm created by Larry Page and Sergey Brin changed everything: one search at one site provided more relevant information in 10 seconds than an hour of banging around any of the ...

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Patent Filing and Litigation Statistics

Posted on April 29, 2016

The headline to this post could only be made more boring if it included the word "actuarial". But if you're an inventor, the stats on patent applications and lawsuits are actually pretty interesting. According to patent analysis firm Lex Machina, the number of patent lawsuits filed in 2013 was 6,092, 12% more than 2012 and more than double the number filed in 2010. At the same time, the number of patent lawsuits reaching courtrooms was around 100, a number that has been steady for nearly two decades. There are a fixed number of courtrooms and judges and that creates a bottleneck. This means getting to trial ...

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SqueezeDriver® - ICQ 96

Posted on April 23, 2016

SqueezeDriver® was the founding product of WorkTools Inc. and the inspiration for Invention City. With an ICQ of 96 SqueezeDriver® scores at high end of "maybe" on the Inventicator™; it was and is a fantastic product, one of our favorites. But it's also a hard lesson in what a "maybe" can be and what happens when you are unable to let something go. SqueezeDriver® Rotary action screwdriver. US Patents 4524650, 4739838, D303,204 SqueezeDriver® was conceived by Joel Marks as a squeeze-ratchet combination tool while working on his 1967 MGB in the early 1980's (a car he still drives today). While employed full time at ...

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Useful Article on Patent Claims

Posted on April 20, 2016

Beginning inventors often throw around the word "patent" like it's a force field that magically protects an invention idea. Reality is quite different. Patents are complex things that protect details. The heart of a patent is the set of claims. The claims specify exactly what the patent actually covers. Scott Keeley, a registered patent agent in Rhode Island, recently contributed a great article on the subject of patent claims.Read it here: A Patent is as Strong as its Claims. ...

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Inventor Competition in Washington DC June 10-12 2016

Posted on April 20, 2016

The Make48 inventor competition will be held June 10th-12th, 2016 at the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. From Press Release:Make48 is a competition fostering innovation and invention for everyday trailblazers. Teams have 48-hours to plan, prototype, and pitch an idea for prizes and licensing potential. Only 15 teams will be chosen for this special event. VIP’s, sponsors, and teams will all be hand selected for this ingenious, themed event. Speakers from all around the United States will share their insight on inventing products, b ...

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Talking to Whales

Posted on April 17, 2016

Free diving amateur scientists are pursuing a project that could shatter mankind's view of itself as the pinnacle of evolution - the ability to speak to sperm whales in their own language. Yes, conversing with Moby Dick: Sperm whales’ brains are the largest ever known, around six times the size of humans’. They have an oversize neocortex and a profusion of highly developed neurons called spindle cells that, in humans, govern things like emotional suffering, compassion and speech.“We finally have the technology and methods to significantly increase our understanding of one of the planet’s most intelligent animals,” said Mr. Schnö ...

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Where "Honest Inventing" Comes From

Posted on April 09, 2016

Invention City's promise of Honest Inventing isn't a slogan. It's built into our DNA. We started as garage inventors 25 years ago and maintain that perspective today. But I don't want to write about our long history right now. This morning I ran across a collage of a Kickstarter project I did in 2012 for a made-in-New England Beanie. That project wasn't the biggest or most profitable, but in every other way It was 100%. There was no compromise in anything and everything we claimed and said was 100% true. The product was sourced 100% in New England from the sheep and alpaca that grew ...

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Making Up and Choosing Names

Posted on April 05, 2016

Naming and describing things is one of the joys and burdens of inventing and product development. This thought came to me yesterday as once again I'm deeply engaged in creating a thing that needs names. In this case the thing I'm naming and describing can, with equal accuracy, be called an algorithm (sounds tech and cool), analysis tool (sounds valuable) or spreadsheet (boring). The thing is something Invention City uses to review invention ideas and determine their likelihood of commercial success. I've been calling it the "Inventicator" for a while now and the name is sticking. I notice that people ...

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Invention Overcomes Ick Factor

Posted on April 03, 2016

Today's NYTimes has an interesting story about the development of a new way to obtain blood from women for diagnostic tests: In 2014, an engineer at Harvard named Ridhi Tariyal hit on a far simpler workaround. “I was trying to develop a way for women to monitor their own fertility at home,” she told me, and “those kinds of diagnostic tests require a lot of blood. So I was thinking about women and blood. When you put those words together, it becomes obvious. We have an opportunity every single month to collect blood from women, without needles. (read the full story here: ...

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Inventication of "Pet-Rock II"

Posted on February 20, 2016

In a few short weeks Inventors will be able to set odds on their inventions like Jimmy the Greek Snyder with a new product called the Inventicator. The Inventicator is an analysis tool that collects 62 weighted data points in 8 categories to tally up a score that is benchmarked against other inventions. It is an outgrowth of our 25+ years of successes and failures with new products. We've been the guys at trade shows with a hot new product that has crowds filling the aisles. Sometimes those products have succeeded. Sometimes not. Trade shows are great but being the hot product at ...

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Gravitational Waves

Posted on February 13, 2016

This week's news includes the spectacular announcement that Einstein's prediction of 100 years ago has been proven true. Gravitational waves are real.Here is physicist Carlo Rovelli writing about what this means (LIGO is the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory):"The wave that LIGO has now been able to observe is the product of a catastrophic event: the merging of two black holes, each having the mass of several dozen Suns. The energy their spiraling impact radiated into space was that of three Suns vaporized in a fraction of a second. This cosmic explosion raised a galactic tsunami that has traveled more ...

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Minimally Viable Product a Different Kind of MVP

Posted on January 26, 2016

In the world of sports the MVP is the "Most Valuable Player" who makes the greatest contribution to winning the game. In the world of product development a different but equally important MVP deserves attention. This MVP is the Minimally Viable Product. Since most new product ideas fail, the goal is to fail as quickly and inexpensively as possible. That's the point of the MVP. The MVP embodies the core concept(s) of a new product idea and is developed enough to test for meaningful market feedback. If the feedback is positive, more investment is justified. If not, call it ...

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Space X Rocket Explodes

Posted on January 19, 2016

A spectacular failure on the path of product development took place on Sunday when the first stage of a two stage rocket returned to earth, landed precisely atop a platform floating on the ocean, then toppled over and exploded. Space-X is trying to radically cut the cost of rocketry by reusing the rockets that launch satellites rather than letting them sink into the ocean. In this case it seems a latch failed to secure one side of the rocket because of ice build-up. I had a similar problem with the ice maker last week. The results weren't quire as dramatic ...

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Coolest Stuff at 2016 Consumer Electronics Show

Posted on January 11, 2016

We couldn't get to CES this year but the good people of Wired Magazine did. In short, the coolest things going were drones, 8k TVs, a reinvention of the Polaroid camera, hoverboards and all kinds of smart gadgets. Among the most ill considered was a reintroduction of the Super-8 movie camera (with film!) by Kodak. As an aspiring photographer I once looked into my true love's eyes and drifting off to sleep sweetly muttered, "Kodak and Ecktachrome". Never mind that Kodachrome was far superior, my point is that I loved Kodak. But Super 8? Seriously? Even though Quentin Tarantino reincarnated 70mm ...

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Learn About Trademarks

Posted on December 19, 2015

Patents are expensive, hard to get, difficult to understand and can cost a fortune to enforce. Trademarks are simple and cheap in comparison. While a patent lasts just 20 years, a trademark can last forever. A round of applause for trademarks! However, creating value in a trademark is incredibly hard. The words and/or logo do not have value until they are imprinted in the minds of consumers. That takes years of great marketing and publicity in conjunction with a great product or service and more often than not, millions of dollars in advertising. As part of a commercialization strategy, along ...

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Inventor Review of Invention City

Posted on November 25, 2015

Inventor John Martinez was an early Invention City client. He offers perspective on what Invention City does and how a successful deal works over the long term. Have your invention considered for a licensing deal. Click here. ...

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Invention City Inventor Launches 2nd Kickstarter for Image Lock on His Own

Posted on November 15, 2015

Inventor Ali Nawaz has launched a second Kickstarter for his Image Lock combination lock. The Image Lock uses pictures instead of numbers to create combinations that are easy to remember and fun. Now the Image Lock is available with colors on the image dial and a key option in back. The new Kickstarter offers new rewards too. Image Lock makes a great stocking stuffer for Christmas and can be used for bike locks, school and gym lockers, treasure chests and more.Ali came to Invention City for help with his first Kickstarter last year and together we achieved success. This ...

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How Inventors Mess Up Licensing Deals

Posted on November 14, 2015

Over the years we've seen it happen at least half a dozen times. We find an invention we like, we find a manufacturer who likes it, we set up a meeting with the inventor and manufacturer, the manufacturer makes a good offer and the inventor walks away - only to come back 6 months to a year later and say, "on second thought, I'll take that deal." At that point the deal is dead. Trust is gone and the manufacturer has moved on.It happened again last month. The inventor hasn't come back yet but I fully expect him to. The ...

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Website Upgrade Update

Posted on November 14, 2015

Wow. Six months ago I wrote a blog post about upgrading our website. The upgrade experience since then has been like a home remodeling project where you find that termites have eaten away load bearing beams and the foundation is disintegrating because of water damage. In our case things were so bad that the entire house, including the foundation, needed to be demolished and rebuilt. In the event, we managed to save nearly all of our stuff and have a new foundation, walls, windows and roof over our heads. Things like furniture, curtains and paint can now appear on our ...

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Site Upgrade In Process

Posted on May 19, 2015

We're working to upgrade the look and functionality of InventionCity.com so that the site works better on mobile devices and it's easier to find what you're looking for. The Inventor Registry is going to be re-launched with real benefits. While the upgrade is taking place we'll still be providing first class invention reviews and possible licensing deals. Please feel free to email Mike Marks with any questions at mike@inventioncity.com. ...

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Apple Watch and the Taptic Haptic

Posted on April 28, 2015

by Mike Marks The Apple Watch has a feature that Dick Tracy never imagined. It's called "taptic" and enables the watch to tap your wrist with a gentle human-like touch. It sounds a little creepy, but in fact it's simply nice and feels good, like someone cares about you. The touch can alert you that an important call has come in, that it's time to do something and when the inevitable apps come out, that you need to stop at the store you just passed to buy some milk. It can even send you a lover's heartbeat from ...

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BASF Energy Storage Contest

Posted on March 04, 2015

LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany, Feb. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Open Innovation Contest BASF aims to find ideas to store energy from renewable energy sources. The context calls for sustainable technologies which are capable of storing power from the grid and feeding it back into it. Together with companies, scientists, start-ups and inventors, BASF is looking for efficient solutions to store electricity on a long-term basis, which are financially viable, for example through lower investment costs. Innovative chemistry should play a central role in the submitted proposals.   Ideas can be submitted online until June 2, 2015, at NineSights ( www.ninesigma.com/). BASF employees are ...

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BASF Energy Storage Contest

Posted on March 04, 2015

LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany, Feb. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Open Innovation Contest BASF aims to find ideas to store energy from renewable energy sources. The context calls for sustainable technologies which are capable of storing power from the grid and feeding it back into it. Together with companies, scientists, start-ups and inventors, BASF is looking for efficient solutions to store electricity on a long-term basis, which are financially viable, for example through lower investment costs. Innovative chemistry should play a central role in the submitted proposals.   Ideas can be submitted online until June 2, 2015, at NineSights ( www.ninesigma.com/). BASF employees are ...

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It's a Toilet Invention!

Posted on February 27, 2015

Anyone who's been to an invention show knows that Inventors love to invent toilets. But true innovations in toilet technology are rare. Now there's a new concept that really twists things around. It's called the Iota Folding Toilet and was designed by Elliott Whiteley and Gareth Humphreys while studying Product Design at The University of Huddersfield in England. It's intended to save space in small bathrooms. Read about the toilet of the future at Wonderful Engineering ...

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Rocket-Art from Thailand

Posted on February 27, 2015

Simple, inspiring and beautiful. The Chinese were probably doing this over 1000 years ago: The title is ridiculous though. Thailand is hardly "3rd world" these days and India and China have more active space programs than western countries. ...

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The People Who Make "Made in China"

Posted on January 28, 2015

So many products come from China today that it's easy for US consumers to think of that country as an impersonal machine that simply fills purchase orders for Best Buy and Home Depot. If we travel as business people we know China better through relationships and deep friendships with the people who run and own the factories. What we never know, are the lives of the people who work in those factories, the realities of how they live, what their families are like, what they dream of. Last Train Home is an extraordinary documentary about people who make "made in ...

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I-City Deals in Progress

Posted on January 24, 2015

Invention City Deals in Progress The best way to get a sense of what I-City does is to look at the chart below. Each deal is unique but falls into a general category type. Below are some of the current projects we're working on. Have your invention considered for a licensing deal. Click here. Updated May 3, 2016 Invention Deal Type Status Target Intro Altitude Drink Start-Up Prototyping Winter 2017 Shelf Mechanism License Presentations Spring 2017 Surf Accessory License Prototyping Summer 2017 Live Squirrel Trap Start-Up Sourcing Spring 2017 Snack Food Start-Up Sourcing Fall 2016 Saw Blade License Finalizing Deal Spring 2017 Reflect-All Growth http://www.reflect-all.com ...

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How to Avoid Invention Scams

Posted on January 12, 2015

How to Avoid Invention Scams by Ronald L Docie, Sr., President, Docie Development, LLC © 2010 All rights reserved - You could not create a better scenario for a scam than you have in the invention business. The real scam is the inventor’s attitude, fueled by misleading information. Consider these assumptions. Assumption Number One Arguably, 999 of every 1,000 inventions never make it from idea stage to the marketplace. This figure certainly could be off by a factor of 10 in one direction or the other depending on how far an idea has advanced before you start counting it, and your definition of w ...

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Supersonic Prototyping by 3DHubs

Posted on December 30, 2014

SUPERSONIC PROTOTYPING and a Happy New Year by Mike Marks A lot has been going on in the world of 3D printing recently. Pioneer rapid prototyping machine makers like 3D Systems and Stratysys sold expensive machines to large corporations. Now there is improved lower cost technology with offerings from fast moving upstarts like Makerbot (recently bought by Stratysys), who make machines for small companies and hobbyists. Where just a few years ago it was hard to find a rapid prototyping service, now it's easy to find one. It's especially easy now because of a fantastic new service offered by 3DHubs ...

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Kickstarter - Have a Backup Plan in Place

Posted on December 29, 2014

2015 is about to begin and designers and inventors across the US and around the world have crowdfunding projects planned to fund their "first production run" in the coming year. Crowdfunding is a fantastic way to turn a product idea into reality. But there are many pitfalls. If you are considering a project on Kickstarter, Indiegogo or other crowdfunding platform where the goal is to deliver a product, you should read this Inc. article by Eric Markowitz about designer Seth Quest's Kickstarter experience. The lesson is that you need to have all your ducks in a row before you hit the ...

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IMAGE-LOCK Kickstarter Success!

Posted on December 22, 2014

It came down to the wire, but with 10 hours to go and some clever entrepreneurship by inventor Ali Nawaz, the Kickstarter for IMAGE LOCK made its funding goal. This was a difficult Kickstarter project because the product didn't have an easily targeted audience and needed to be sold primarily on gadget appeal. Invention City produced and ran the Kickstarter for Ali and directly contacted 30+ writers at publications big and small who care about cool gizmos gadgets and inventions of all kinds. We had one hit with a nice review in Gizmodo. We also paid for Facebook posts and tweets and ...

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A Trillion Dollar Idea

Posted on December 05, 2014

Brutally Honest Review & Licensing OpportunitiesLearn About PrototypingLearn About PatentsLearn About ManufacturingAsk Questions: info@inventioncity.com $1,000,000,000,000 = a million million dollars  Maurice Ward's Invention of Starlight might have been one. Is a trillion dollar idea possible? Numbers can be hard to feel but we need to feel them to understand them. So, before moving on to answer the question, I want to try and give a feeling for what $1,000,000,000,000 feels like.   We live in extraordinary times. In 2014, according to Wikipedia and not counting Royalty and dictators, 1,645 individuals in the world can be counted as having net worth ...

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Help an Inventor, Help Invention City, Help Yourself

Posted on November 28, 2014

Message from Mike Marks, Invention City Hello Inventors and friends of inventors – I hope your Holidays are off to a great start. I’m writing to invite you to help a fellow inventor succeed with a Kickstarter campaign for his new invention. Ali Nawaz returned from serving as an Intelligence Officer with the US Recon Marines in Afghanistan with the idea for a new kind of combination lock, a lock that uses images instead of numbers on its dial. Invention City is now running a Kickstarter campaign for him – you can see it here: https://www.kickstarter ...

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Wireless Electricity by Witricity

Posted on November 25, 2014

Inventor Arteste Jones made us aware of a new technology that enables wireless electricity from a company called WiTricity. WiTricity offers a platform technology that can revolutionize thousands of old products and inspire thousands of new ones. If you're an inventor looking for a fertile field for inventing, new products that incorporate WiTricity might be just the ticket. An introductory product called Prodigy is available to developers for less than $1000. Invention City thinks WiTricity is fantastic and looks forward to seeing where it goes. ...

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The SqueezeDriver™ Lives Again

Posted on November 03, 2014

Twenty years after the last SqueezeDriver™ was assembled in Chatsworth California, nearly a decade after the patents expired, SqueezeDriver™ lives again. This time there's a licensing deal with Arrow instead of a new company. But original inventor Joel Marks is still involved and there is even a new patent (pending). The aha moment came in 1981 when Joel was working in a tight spot in the engine compartment of his 1967 MGB (a car he continues to drive daily). Frustrated by turning fasteners just one click at a time he conceived a squeeze-powered rotary screwdriver and ratchet. For three years, from 1982 to 1985, whi ...

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Another Invention Rip Off Question

Posted on October 30, 2014

Inventor feels ripped off by Invention Company. Is there anything to be done? S. Hemngway asks: "I submitted an idea to an invention company in 2002. I filled out the paperwork requiring drawing and descriptions of the idea. I never made a prototype or got a patent. It was a very good idea, especially since it's being sold today. The problem is that I am not the one selling it. I think the invention company stole my idea.back in 2002. I faxed them the paperwork with the drawing and description. They called me and told me it would cost x ...

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A Better Squirrel Trap

Posted on October 10, 2014

"A Better Squirrel Trap" is an invention project in the advanced prototype stage with a US patent pending. Final engineering and product sourcing are now taking place. The product is scheduled to launch in Spring 2015 with help from Invention City. It will be the first product for a new business. Details about how the trap is better, the inventor and partnership behind it, will be made public when the launch date is closer. If you'd like Invention City to help you commercialize your great product idea the first step is to sign up for a Brutally Honest Review here. ...

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Is Quirky Good for Inventors?

Posted on October 01, 2014

Many of you have heard of Quirky, a business/website that crowd sources inventions. While Quirky has enjoyed enormous success, it's never been clear if the company offers a good deal for serious independent inventors. Their processes of assigning credit to inventions, choosing which ones to commercialize, managing intellectual property and turning selected ideas into manufactured and distributed products are byzantine. Some inventors seem to be making money, but it's hard to say if the number of inventor success stories are commensurate with Quirky's efforts. What is undeniably clear is that Quirky is doing a great job of building a ...

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George Foreman Inventor Ad

Posted on August 06, 2014

After a successful career as a tough boxer who scared pretty much everyone, George Foreman put down his boxing gloves, created the grill that bears his name, made oodles of money and became a loveable, rich, grandfather figure. Recently he began appearing in ads for "his friends" at Invent Help, an invention service company. You can see the ad here. My observation is this - George Foreman didn't make his money by using Invent Help's services. He made his money by developing and commercializing his grill himself. He didn't know what he was doing when he started. Neither did I. ...

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George Foreman Ad and Inventing Services

Posted on August 06, 2014

After a successful career as a tough boxer who scared pretty much everyone, George Foreman put down his boxing gloves, created the grill that bears his name, made oodles of money and became a loveable, rich, grandfather figure. Recently he began appearing in ads for "his friends" at Invent Help, an invention service company. You can see the ad here. My observation is this - George Foreman didn't make his money by using Invent Help's services. He made his money by developing and commercializing his grill himself. He didn't know what he was doing when he started. Neither did I. ...

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"There's No One Way to Get to Heaven."

Posted on July 02, 2014

A young inventor asked for advice on how to get started. In particular he wanted to know how to get in touch with investors. Here was my reply: After graduating college I briefly worked for a reknowned photographer named Leigh Weiner. He told me a story about a photo shoot he'd done with J Paul Getty in 1967 back when Getty was the richest man in the world. He asked Getty for advice on how to succeed. Getty told him, "There's no one way to heaven." After three decades working in a wide range of businesses and with many inventions I've ...

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Computer Method Patents Get Slammed

Posted on June 20, 2014

A basic rule of patents is that a known idea cannot be patented. In practice the US Patent and Trademark Office has made an exception to that rule by issuing patents for known ideas that are implemented with a computer. Yesterday, the Supreme Court, with Clarence Thomas writing the opinion, said that merely using a computer to perform a known idea is not patentable. The decision helps to bring back logic, consistency and fairness to the patent system. This ruling should take some of the wind out of the sails of those who've been arguing that the patent system should ...

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Thank You for Saying "No".

Posted on June 17, 2014

How can a "no" be a good thing? The following emails were recently received by Invention City after Brutally Honest Reviews where Dan Fulford told the inventors that Invention City would not license or represent their inventions: June 17, 2014 I recently had a very important review of my invention with Dan at Invention City. I wish I could have this review two years ago because I wouldn't have lost my hard earned money to a company that wasn't being truthful at all. My mother used to say if you know the truth it will set you free. That is a true ...

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The RoboSnail

Posted on June 05, 2014

An Invention Story June 4, 2014 By Milan Rafailovich Evolution of the RoboSnail:  From Idea to Reality The saying that necessity is the mother of invention actually is more true than you may imagine.  In fact, this especially true when developing tools or new process methods in order to achieve a desired end result to already existing or potential problems.  This necessity to develop a better process was the driving force when it came to the development of my current item the RoboSnail, the world’s first and only automated aquarium glass cleaner. Coming Up With the Idea The “ah-ha&rd ...

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Patent Law Clarified...

Posted on June 05, 2014

June 4, 2014 - In today's NYTimes the Editors write that two recent rulings by the US Supreme Court have made it easier for people to understand how patents should be written and interpreted. "In Nautilus Inc. v. Biosig Instruments Inc., the court ruled that for a patent to be valid, its creators had to describe the essential elements of their invention and how it can be used clearly enough that a person skilled in the field could understand it with 'reasonable certainty.' ...The Government Accountability Office and legal experts have said that the Patent and Trademark Office has granted too ...

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6 Things Every Inventor Should Know About Patents

Posted on April 12, 2014

by Mike Marks Founder of Invention City NOTE: The following is a business perspective on patents and should not be taken as legal advice. "Meaningful patent" is a term we use a lot at Invention City. Getting a patent of some sort isn't especially hard. Having patent claims with real value is something else altogether. A great example of this is the Gator-Grip® universal socket invented by Joel Marks (my brother) of WorkTools, Inc. (I'm a partner). The Gator-Grip® is a 3/4" deep socket with a set of 54 spring loaded pins that grip a wide range of fasteners. Prior art patents c ...

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Are There Any Great Books on Licensing?

Posted on March 25, 2014

Hello Mike! this is Andres from Miami! I'm developing products and believe licensing is the way to go. My idea is to present my projects to companies in a professional way, combining my knowledge on marketing and branding with licensing. ...I find many books from authors who seem to be "successful " in their deals, but these experts are more successful selling books than explaining... the only good material on the entire web is Inventing 102 (at Invention City). Now my question, what would be the best way to start a good study on licensing? Which would be the best books? Thanks ...

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Live from the Housewares Show

Posted on March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014, International Housewares Show Chicago - Over 2,000 exhibitors and 60,000+ attendees have come together to see new and old product offerings at the International Housewares Show now taking place at McCormick Place. Dan Fulford and I have been walking the show and making presentations of invention ideas accepted by Invention City. It's never good to count chickens before they hatch or royalties before the check clears, but it looks like at least two licensing deals with strong housewares retailers will come out of this show. We'll see what happens in the weeks to come. Being at this show has reminded me ...

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Live from the Housewares Show

Posted on March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014, International Housewares Show Chicago - Over 2,000 exhibitors and 60,000+ attendees have come together to see new and old product offerings at the International Housewares Show now taking place at McCormick Place. Dan Fulford and I have been walking the show and making presentations of invention ideas accepted by Invention City. It's never good to count chickens before they hatch or royalties before the check clears, but it looks like at least two licensing deals with strong housewares retailers will come out of this show. We'll see what happens in the weeks to come. Being at this show has reminded me ...

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Live from the Housewares Show

Posted on March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014, International Housewares Show Chicago - Over 2,000 exhibitors and 60,000+ attendees have come together to see new and old product offerings at the International Housewares Show now taking place at McCormick Place. Dan Fulford and I have been walking the show and making presentations of invention ideas accepted by Invention City. It's never good to count chickens before they hatch or royalties before the check clears, but it looks like at least two licensing deals with strong housewares retailers will come out of this show. We'll see what happens in the weeks to come. Being at this show has reminded me ...

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Live from the Housewares Show

Posted on March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014, International Housewares Show Chicago - Over 2,000 exhibitors and 60,000+ attendees have come together to see new and old product offerings at the International Housewares Show now taking place at McCormick Place. Dan Fulford and I have been walking the show and making presentations of invention ideas accepted by Invention City. It's never good to count chickens before they hatch or royalties before the check clears, but it looks like at least two licensing deals with strong housewares retailers will come out of this show. We'll see what happens in the weeks to come. Being at this show has reminded me ...

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The Most Important Thing to Have in Every Licensing Agreement

Posted on March 03, 2014

by Mike Marks Founder of Invention City Recently an inventor hired Invention City to review a licensing agreement from a business perspective. Her invention idea was incredibly simple, so simple it was shocking that it hadn't been done before. In getting to the negotiation stage she had been advised by a patent attorney. No patent had been filed yet, but she did have a one year Confidentiality Agreement in place. The licensing agreement was a first draft written by the company. It was a product of prior discussions between the inventor and company. The inventor's attorney told her he wasn't ...

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The Magic of Inventory Turnover

Posted on February 12, 2014

Why it matters to inventors Businesses that make and sell tangible products carry inventory. Inventory is all of the stuff that's sold with a finished product including materials, subassemblies, packaging and printed instructions. When inventory is sold it's turned into cash. That cash pays for salaries, rent, operations and restocking more inventory. The inventory cycle is the process of turning inventory into cash, back into inventory and then into cash again. Each time you convert inventory into cash is a "turn". Along with profit margin, the rate of turn is a key factor that determines how fast a ...

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Dyson (the vacuum guy) Speaks About Inventing

Posted on January 27, 2014

Last week on NPR’s Science Friday, James Dyson, inventor of the eponymous vacuum cleaner spoke about the process of inventing. Dyson says he built 5,127 prototypes before completing his first bagless vacuum. “My life and my day are full of failures,” he said. “Failures are interesting.” He went on to say that inventors should never give up and shouldn’t listen to negative opinions. “Noooo!” I yelled at the radio. This idea, the idea that inventors should doggedly stick to their inventions through hell, high water and negative opinions is so commonplace ...

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The Singularity: Man and Computer Become One

Posted on December 27, 2013

Economist John Maynard Keynes famously said that in the long run we’re all dead. What happens in the not too distant future if that’s not strictly true? Imagine just twenty to thirty years from now when it’s entirely possible that everything you know about yourself and the world around you is stored in the ever growing electronic cloud. At some point there will almost certainly come to exist an alternate version of you that thinks, feels and desires, but lives its life in cyberspace rather than (or in addition to) the physical world. In ...

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Trademark Rip-offs

Posted on December 23, 2013

If you've received a trademark in recent years you may have also received official looking solicitations disguised as invoices from companies such as Brand Registration Office in Washington DC, Novislink in London and WIPT in Bratislava, Slovak Republic. The invoice amounts range from $1,200 to $2,738 but, to the best of our knowledge, the services offered are worth $0. If you seek to protect your trademark beyond US registration please check with a reputable trademark attorney. Similar so-called services are offered with regard to patents too. Pay attention. If you didn't agree to a service in advance you shouldn't pay for it. For ...

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Invention Review and Royalty Deals

Posted on October 27, 2013

Invention City Wants To Invest In Great New Product Ideas. Confidentiality Agreement and Submission - Frequently Asked Questions - Intro to Licensing Invention City is seeking to invest in product ideas that are likely to generate healthy royalties. The company is open to ideas in all fields, consumer, industrial, electronic, health, beauty and more and will pay for patents, prototypes, licensing and commercialization if an idea fits its criteria. Watch the video and read below to learn more. Invention City would like to learn about your invention idea and possibly offer you a licensing deal. Questions? Call Dan at 320-58 ...

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Prototypes Can Be Easy and Inexpensive

Posted on October 23, 2013

There are all types of prototypes, from virtual to real, from MakerBot to balsa wood, from crude to highly refined. The most important thing to know about prototypes is that they're important. Following is a link to a great short article on how to quickly, creatively and inexpensively make prototypes that will enable you to better understand, develop and sell your invention ideas The article is by Tom and David Kelly, the design team duo behind IDEO in Palo Alto, creators of Apple's first computer mouse and much, much more. Here it is: Why Designers Should Never Go to a ...

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A Few Notable Inventions By Kids

Posted on June 13, 2013

by Edward Lakatis Oftentimes, we don’t give kids enough credit on the things that they can do. Kids are actually pretty smart and very inventive too. On a number of occasions, they’ve been known to think up some pretty neat stuff. Of course, it goes without saying that kids may be especially talented in coming up with cool toys. Here, we’ve taken the time to feature some amazing toys that were invented by a bunch of extremely talented kid inventors. Read on and be amazed at the awesome inventions: Water talkies- we’ve ...

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Doing a Basic Invention Search

Posted on April 12, 2013

The first thing anyone considering an idea should do is to search on the Internet to see if they can find something similar. Go to Google or Bing and type in key words that describe your invention in various ways. Use descriptions of the similar things you find to come up with new ways to describe your invention. Amazon.com is also a great place to do some basic research. The information you find will help you discover whether or not your invention idea is already being made and sold. The next step is a simple patent search. It's far ...

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Invention Submissions

Posted on February 16, 2013

Can you handle the truth about invention service companies and patent attorneys? by Mike Marks Learn about Invention City's submission and evaluation program here. I've never wanted Invention City to be a typical invention company, a company that takes money for developing inventions that should never be developed in the first place. Most inventors have ideas they should NOT spend money on. While going forward with an invention costs a minimum of $10,000 with a typical invention service company, the cost to an inventor of doing the job right on his or her own can easily reach $200,000 and more. I have ...

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Recent Negotiations

Posted on December 23, 2012

This past year I've negoitiated licensing deals, partnerships, patent infringement settlements and buyouts. Some have been intense and acrimonious with expletives and threats flying at me and my partners. Others have been easy and friendly. In all of them I followed sage advice I received from my Uncle Jesse nearly 25 years ago: know what you need before you start, know what "yes" will be and try to get a little more. The biggest danger in a negotiation comes from worrying about what the other guy is getting, worrying that his slice of the pie is too big. If you do ...

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Apple v Samsung

Posted on August 25, 2012

Apple wins $1 billion+ in patent infringement case against Samsung Even before the trial began it was clear that Samung had been inspired by Apple's concepts. The question was whether or not Samsung had crossed the legal line that distinguishes inspiration from theft. Last Friday a jury decided that Samsung had crossed that line on six patents and awarded Apple $1.05 billion as compensation for actual losses. The jury further determined that Samsung knew it was violating the patents and proceeded to make and sell knockoff products anyway - this means the judge could punish Samsung for its willful patent violations by ...

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The Benefits of Negative Thinking

Posted on August 05, 2012

It goes against American culture, contrary to the advice of self-help gurus and business advisors: thinking negatively can be good for you. People who believe that tomorrow will be better should coldly consider that tomorrow could in fact be worse. Those sentiments roughly summarize the recent editorial by Oliver Burke, "The Power of Negative Thinking." His thoughts were inspired by the recent news that 21 participants in an Anthony Robbins motivational event badly burned their feet from walking over hot coals. Recognizing reality is what it's all about. Motivation and belief do not trump the physics of fire. Fears of failure ...

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