Blog

Thoughts on Getting a Software, App or Business Method Patent

Posted on November 14, 2018

Before spending a lot of time and money on any invention idea, you should take steps to confirm that the idea has a likelihood of commercial success. That means gaining an understanding of the market and doing online research of competitive and alternative products and methods, including searches at http://google.com/patents . You could then use Invention City's Inventicator for free to put your findings through an organized evaluation process. You might also choose to have Invention City do a Brutally Honest Review to get a third party perspective. What you learn from prior art research and get from other feedback ...

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Inventor Warnings, Education and Suggested Questions - Be Careful Here Too

Posted on November 11, 2018

Not Everything You Read on the Internet is Accurate or True - You Already Know That, But... Invention scams are in the news again and inventors looking for ways to avoid being scammed may run across websites giving them advice on how to avoid them. Some of the advice is good and some is not. The first thing to ask yourself when reading anyone's advice is, who is the person giving me this advice? What have they done that makes them credible and what is their angle? Invention City is very transparent about who we are and what we do ...

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World Patent Marketing in The News Again

Posted on November 09, 2018

The sleazy invention promotion company, World Patent Marketing, is once again in the news. I last wrote about them in July 2017, after they had been defenestrated by the FTC, and am pleased to note that the company has not been resurrected. WPM was uniquely evil in their success at scamming inventors out of tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars and delivering nothing of commensurate value in return. Inventors seeking help with their inventions should be careful in choosing a development and commercialization partners. Here is a helpful article. ...

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Inventing is a Form of Gambling: Consider The Odds of Success

Posted on November 08, 2018

Understanding how to value a bet can help in making better decisions about when to press ahead with an invention and when to walk away. A lot of guessing is involved: How big is the market?What percentage of the market might actually be penetrated?How likely is that to happen? There's no way to know for sure. But even with very rough guesses it helps to have a framework for thinking through whether or not an invention bet makes sense. Invention City founder Mike Marks explains: Why did we think that 0.1% odds of success rather than 50% or 10% or ...

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Review of Invention City

Posted on November 06, 2018

Inventor Speaks About His Experience Two Years After Signing A Deal Invention City said "yes" to Bill S. and licensed his invention two years ago. The project moved ahead quickly and within 18 months Invention City developed a final design, built prototypes, filed for patents and did a deal with a TV marketing company. The TV company made and tested a well produced 2 minute spot. Unfortunately the spot didn't work, even after re-edits. Invention City and its partners have paid an estimated $235,000+ on Bill's invention to date. How much has Bill paid? Just $95 for a Brutally Honest ...

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Amazon Listings Force Focus on Keyword Features - VertiGrille™ Changes Its Sales Message

Posted on November 02, 2018

Online sales are powered by keyword searches. If your invention idea is not expressed in the keywords people are actually using, no one will ever find it. VertiGrille™ universal rib and chicken rack does the job of 10 grilling accessories When we developed the VertiGrille™ we thought that the primary selling feature was expanding grill, oven and smoker space. We spent a lot of time trying to come up with a way to communicate that idea quickly and eventually settled on the tag line, "Grill in 3D. Cook 3X More." It's a fine tag line and has the benefit of ...

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Roy Orbison Hologram Gives Concert. Soon, We'll All Live Forever (kinda sorta maybe).

Posted on October 07, 2018

Does living require breathing, having a beating heart and firing brain synapses? Roy Orbison's body passed from the world of the living and into the realm of the dead thirty years ago. But his presence in music remained very much alive. Now, a holographic Roy Orbison is giving concerts. Read more at the LA Times. Will his digital embodiment next be endowed with artificial intelligence and an android body, will the next incarnation of Roy Orbison be a replicant? Mark these words. The next Facebooks and Googles will be businesses that animate digital personal profiles with artificial intelligence and virtual reality so ...

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Two Questions Every Inventor Should Ask

Posted on September 21, 2018

How to hedge your invention bets and minimize the risk of losing a lot of money Inventing is a great way to spend a lot of time and money with the guaranteed result, if you spend enough, of having some pretty pictures, a prototype, maybe some production samples and your name on a patent application or maybe even an issued patent. But making a profit is hard and inventing is best considered as a form of gambling. The guys and gals who count cards in black jack, know odds and can bluff at poker, can make a living as professional gamblers. Most ...

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How to Get Good Information From an Invention Survey

Posted on August 18, 2018

Brutally Honest versus Guaranteed Good News There are two good reasons to do a survey with your invention. One is to learn for yourself what people think about your idea - get suggestions for improvements and determine if enough people will buy it at a profitable price to make further investment of time and money worthwhile.  The second good reason is to offer proof of market potential to partners and investors. In both cases it is important that your survey accurately reflects market realities. A survey done for good reasons does not prejudice answers with leading questions; it informs respondents about alternative ...

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What Kinds of Inventions Does Invention City Say "YES" To?

Posted on June 04, 2018

When inventors submit their inventions for a Brutally Honest Review well tell them to expect to hear "no" and to benefit from learning why we say "no" along with suggestions on next steps. Beyond helping inventors help themselves, the reason we provide the Brutally Honest Review service is to find inventions we think are good bets for licensing and investment. Commercializing great ideas is how we make our real money.The YES inventions cross a wide range of commerce, technologies and industries. Click below to see some examples: Examples of YES. ...

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Robot Meets Banana

Posted on May 28, 2018

Worried about robots taking over the world? Fears of Terminator tormenting your dreams? The future doesn't need John Connor. It just needs a healthy supply of bananas. See the action at the 1:29 mark. Am I imagining that the robot looks a bit embarrassed as it slowly gets back to its feet? ...

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What Happens When a Kickstarter Fails to Kickstart?

Posted on May 23, 2018

Ossic X: Kickstarter for 3D Audio Headphones Raises $2.7 Million But Fails to Deliver the Goods. May 22, 2018 - The backers are understandably angry. They each ponied up $200+ for a pair of super cool headphones that most will never see. You can view the campaign here. Was this a scam or an unfortunate confluence of bad luck, poor timing, inexperience, and miscalculation? I don't think it was a scam. The company did deliver a few units and just getting those units out the door cost far more than the amount raised by the Kickstarter. Ossic says it had private investors who lost ...

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Free Legal Help for Writing and Filing Patents

Posted on May 15, 2018

Free patent help is available to low income inventors.  A bad word choice or even a misplaced comma can change the meaning of a patent claim and render it worthless. You can lose your rights entirely if you miss a filing date; failure to properly disclose prior art can result in your patent being declared invalid. There are dozens upon dozens of ways to screw things up. That's why paying a professional makes sense. But what do you do if you can't afford one?The US Patent and Trademark Office offers two programs for inventors who don't have the resources to pay for ...

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Intuitive Artificial Intelligence

Posted on April 28, 2018

Do We Really Want AI Everywhere?  My biggest concern for the future isn't politics or the environment, it's technology, specifically, the accelerating integration and connection of everything in the world in conjunction with artificial intelligence. Below is a TED Talk by Maurice Conti on intuitive AI, artificial intelligence that thinks and "feels" more like Captain Kirk than Mr. Spock. Cool stuff, but... Artificial Intelligence seems to be accelerating humanity toward something like singularity, the point at which civilization as we know it radically changes and the way we relate to each other and the world is so profoundly different that we no longer reference ...

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Update on Ali Nawaz and Image Lock®

Posted on April 10, 2018

Three and a half years ago Invention City helped inventor Ali Nawaz launch his Image Lock invention on Kickstarter. Ali continues to press ahead with his invention and is making steady progress.  Last summer he got it onto the Today Show:  And now he's selling a great looking new version on Amazon (Prime). Keep it up Ali. You're doing great! ...

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How to Get a Patent on Anything

Posted on April 03, 2018

Want to patent something? Add this one feature and you can get a patent on almost any idea you can think of - even ideas that are well known and products that already exist. (Satire... but you could actually do this). by Mike MarksInvention City Founder and President NOTE: The following post makes a serious point but is not intended as serious advice. It's intended to further understanding of patents and to help inventors spend their money wisely. Not all patents are created equal. Are you stressed about getting a patent? There's no need to worry. The easy method I'll disclose to you ...

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Self Driving Manslaughter?

Posted on March 22, 2018

Earlier this week a self-driving Volvo XC-90 being tested by Uber killed Elaine Herzberg who was walking her bike across a street in Tempe Arizona. Ms. Herzberg was crossing between intersections in an area where the presence of a pedestrian or bike or any kind of crossing traffic is unexpected. She was crossing at night wearing a black jacket, blue jeans and white shoes. A human safety driver was in the driver's seat, but wasn't looking at the road when the accident happened. It should also be said that even if she had been looking she might have hit Ms. Herzberg anyway. A video from ...

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Birth of a New Product

Posted on February 04, 2018

Invention City Developed VertiGrille™ and Will Now Be Making and Selling It Too. Invention City is in the process of launching a fantastic new product called VertiGrille™. It came about when Dan Fulford's sons showed him a bent up fireplace grate from Wal-Mart used to cook hot dogs by a campfire. Dan saw potential in the idea, spoke to our lead inventor Joel Marks and voila, a new product concept was born.  The premise behind VertiGrille™ is simple and obvious. Putting food on vertical skewers enables a grill, oven, bbq or smoker to cook more food than a horizontal orientation. This basic ...

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Rethinking Crowd Funding

Posted on January 27, 2018

Is it time to abandon Kickstarter and Indiegogo? For nearly a decade, the irresistible promise of funds in advance has driven entrepreneurs and artists to  Kickstarter and Indiegogo. I've done three Kickstarters and found the process to be a fantastic way to focus: it's like launching a business with everything running at such speed that what typically takes place over two to three years is compressed into two to three months. Now, as Invention City is planning to launch 6 new products itself, I'm questioning whether or not Kickstarter/Indiegogo is the right way to go.  Consider that to succeed on Kickstarter ...

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CES 2018 Las Vegas - 4 New Products You Should Know About

Posted on January 14, 2018

Four Noteworthy New Products at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. We’ve waded through the writings and musings of tech editors from around the world to narrow down to this list of four interesting products that were presented at this year's CES in Las Vegas. Rethinking TransportationToyota has come up with a new concept for an electric transportation module. It’s a self-driving rectangular box on wheels that can be configured to serve as a truck, mini bus, shop, movable office, hotel room, anything you can think of. The exterior sides of the e-Palette are pixelized and can display branding, news, advertising ...

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Reza Khadem's Puzzle on Amazon

Posted on January 10, 2018

Two years ago Invention City had the pleasure and opportunity of working with inventor Reza Khadem on his unique folding puzzle toy called the REZQUARE™. We had high hopes for it and thought it would be a fantastic promotional item for many different types of businesses. Unfortunately, after honest effort, we couldn't get big companies interested and handed the project back to Reza. Going forward on his own he had the REZQUARE™ manufactured and is now selling it on Amazon. We hope he has huge success! The puzzle is a lot of fun and is great for traveling.Get it on ...

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Looking Back at the "Best Inventions" of 2017

Posted on December 30, 2017

December 30, 2017 - Christmas has come and gone and my inner Scrooge has been let out of the closet to consider Time Magazine's list of the Best 25 Inventions of 2017. With an eye as hard and cold as the weather forecast for tomorrow night's New Year's Eve in New England, I look at that list and see bupkis. Nothing. Well, that's not totally true; the e-sight glasses for the legally blind look genuinely amazing and the Vicis Zero1 helmet may save the game of football. But a do-nothing robot, low cost Tesla and Stevia-sweetened ice cream, to name ...

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Speeding in a Self Driving Car

Posted on November 29, 2017

Will Cars Issue Speeding Tickets to Themselves? November 29, 2017 - I'm one of those guys who drives at least 10 mph over the posted speed limit whenever it's safe and I can get away with it. On Route 3, heading north past Plymouth into Boston, the enforced speed limit is 80; on that stretch of road, where the posted signs say "60 MPH," no patrolman tickets me and some cars pass me by, if I motor at 33% over the line. It's not so much about getting to my destination quickly as it is about going a bit faster ...

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Is SurveyMonkey Good for New Product Surveys?

Posted on November 18, 2017

When you pay SurveyMonkey for responses are the survey takers actually reading the questions and considering their answers? Gathering useful data from a survey requires two things, a well designed survey and an appropriate target audience. SurveyMonkey provides both: a great platform and paid access to target audiences that will answer the questions your survey poses. The company monitors how their audiences respond to your survey and will suggest changes to a survey's design and targeting to help insure its performance. But even with a great platform and A+ customer service (we know this from our own experience), the question remains ...

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Four Ways to Fail as an Inventor

Posted on November 13, 2017

Most success comes after repeated failure. For that reason it's important for us to fail in such ways that we can fail again and again and again, until, eventually, success is achieved. We start with a flash of inspiration, an itch we need to scratch, a problem to be solved, but our first steps in doing something are usually in the wrong direction and always can be improved upon. In the inventing of his vacuum cleaner Sir James Dyson says he built 5,127 failed prototypes over 15 years, roughly one prototype per day, for a decade and a half. That's a lot ...

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Promoting Your Invention Project With Adwords

Posted on October 07, 2017

If you're selling your invention directly yourself or running a crowd funding project on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you need to find cost effective ways to get prospective buyers and backers to check it out. With a great story and the right circle of friends you can do a lot for free on social media and via press releases and outreach. After you've done that and especially if you don't have social media resources to draw upon, paid advertising should be a part of your promotion plan.   With a budget of millions you could advertise on network TV and millions ...

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How to Disclose an Invention Without a NDA

Posted on August 12, 2017

Peter asked us a question familiar to all inventors: "My invention does not have a lot of hidden secrets.  If I tell people what it is, most people in this industry would be able to go away and figure out how to do it themselves.  I have taken out a provisional application for a patent on it.   If the companies I approach are not prepared to sign an NDA which helps to protect me from them stealing my idea, what can I tell them in the initial approach?" We call this the Catch-22 of inventing and have an article ...

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Opportunity for Inventors with Retail Ready Products

Posted on July 25, 2017

The innovation lab area at the National Retail Foundation's 2018 NRF Big Show provides a unique platform where innovators can introduce their new product lines to retail purchasing industry influencers and product development experts. The Innovation Lab will consist of different areas focusing on consumer products and technologies. NRF will be showcasing innovators/Inventors in a 30 booth section of the Lab that will be highlighted in a high traffic area. There will be 500-600 media outlets represented at the event that will be sent press releases long before the event occurs along with the opportunity for in person meetings. If ...

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What Happened to World Patent Marketing?

Posted on July 14, 2017

Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission put the kibosh on World Patent Marketing ("WPM"), an invention promotion company that rose from out of nowhere in 2014 to become one of the most hyped invention companies on the Internet. WPM is said to have defrauded inventors out of more than $10 million with promises of patents, licensing, manufacturing and distribution agreements. None of the inventors WPM worked with made money and many ended up in debt or losing their life savings. I first became aware of WPM when one of their clients submitted an invention to Invention City for a Brutally Honest Review. He ...

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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 maintain your claim of patent priority when presenting your invention idea to investors, designers, manufacturers and possible licensees. With respect to United States law, a provisional patent application can be filed by a citizen of any country. However, some countries, like China, require inventors to obtain a foreign filing license for all inventions completed in their country before seeking patent protection elsewhere. Professional patent agents or attorneys will help you avoid pitfalls ...

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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 CEO.  ...

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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 are weighted scored and ...

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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 mouth. I ...

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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 thankful ...

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FREE Invention Submission

Posted on April 04, 2017

We'll consider your invention for FREE. You'll learn a lot on your own. And we might even offer a licensing deal. But you'll have to do some homework... 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 you don't hear from us within 5 business days ...

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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 and timeline vary because inventions differ in complexity.  But it is possible to give an example. Following is a rough estimate for the costs and time of taking a simple new invention concept from idea stage, through drawings, patents, prototypes, pilot production, licensing and manufacturing using third party providers.  Invention services are not like Big Macs. The quality of patent writing, prototyping, negotiating and other services can ...

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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 pancake at home.  Before getting to details, I want to put a philosophical stake in the ground and declare that I do ...

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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 new category of cooking and create a massive opportunity ...

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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. Amazon received US patent #9,305,280 on this concept in April 2016. Amazon is not alone in ...

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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. Free submission option. 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 time fee of $95. If we say "yes" we'll offer you a ...

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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 will investigate and ...

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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 ...

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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 first prototype took just three days. Turning it into a manufactured product took Joel another five years. An experienced product development ...

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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 successful as you make it, it doesn't make you successful ...

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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 lawsuit against ...

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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 machines take on more human tasks they must have ...

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Best 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 former client we said "no" to.  Hello guys ...

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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 only way I could play him would be if he played without a ...

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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 a small chance the process could be completed in three months from the time the licensee ...

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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 could be alleviated by including optional email addresses of the inventors in the patent ...

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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 as a single "world ...

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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> Loitering at the sailboat drone video after it ended, YouTube began playing other videos it thought I'd find interesting. This led to videos showing a robotic donkey that could be used by ...

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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 that they had built a working, artificial version ...

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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 up with examples where there is magic without improved efficiency, even reaching into Harry Potter ...

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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 people who contributed to its creation and influenced its development shared some royalties. It was a big beautiful kumbaya concept and it kinda sorta worked.. ...

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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). Winner ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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) ...

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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, being entrepreneurs ...

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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. Schnöller ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 than ...

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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 a ...

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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:https://www.instagram.com/p/BAqirNbwEc0/- ...

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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 ...

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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 year's ...

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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 ...

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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 a thousand ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 October 30, 2017  Invention Deal Type Status Target Intro Leak Detector Consulting/Representation User Survey Winter 2018 Storm Door Closer License Prototyping Spring 2018 Altitude Drink Start-Up Testing Spring 2018 Electronic Sleep Toy for Children License Prototyping Spring 2018 Shelf for RV License Pitching to Licensees ...

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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 ...

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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.com ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 kings, queens, sultans 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.com/projects/inventioncity/image-lock-fun-easy-to-remember-combination-lock Please take a minute ...

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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 ...

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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 line ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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” moment ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 business can ...

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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 that it’s almost trite. Unfortunately it’s not trite. It’s ...

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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 cyberspace you would have powers far ...

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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 ...

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Invention Review and Royalty Deals

Posted on October 27, 2013

Reviews of Invention City Read honest reviews of Invention City at the Better Business Bureau (A+ Rated) Video review by Inventor Bill S: Video Review by Inventor John Martinez: 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 ...

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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 all heard of walkie talkies, but an eleven ...

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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 easier ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Air Conditioning

Posted on July 11, 2012

The desire to cool air for comfort predates history. The record begins around 200 AD when Chinese inventor Ding Huan of the Han Dynasty invented a human powered 7 wheel fan that was nearly 10 feet in diameter. 500 years later Emperor Xuanzong built a water-powered fan that included fountains in the Imperial Palace. In 1758, Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley, a chemistry professor at Cambridge University, studied evaporation as a means of cooling. They found that highly volatile liquids such as alcohol and ether could be evaporated to cool a thermometer down to 7F in ambient air of ...

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Soda Bottle Lights

Posted on March 05, 2012

In low income communities across the globe, natural light is often unavailable in windowless homes crowded together under corrugated metal roofs. Even on the brightest days interior lighting is provided by expensive electricity. Innovators in the Philippines are now implementing a low cost solution using discarded soda bottles. ...

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Ask Mike: Glass Cleaner on DRTV?

Posted on February 02, 2012

Irina asks:"You have mentioned that the product needs to be a stand alone and not an add-on to an existing product. Now this got me a bit confused in regards to my product which I am thinking of putting on DRTV. My product is a streak-free, natural, safe, glass cleaner that can be used for glass, mirrors, electronics, screens on tvs, computers, ipads and more. The market test was very positive. From your professional point of view do you think I should launch DRTV, is it an add-on?, any suggestions will be appreciated? Thank you."Stand-alone products are much easier to ...

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Talented Inventor-Engineers Sought For TV Show

Posted on October 27, 2011

October 27, 2011 - UK based Renegade Productions, (makers of Planet Mechanics), are looking for innovative design and engineering brains to front a new, 6-part science television series. Two teams of top problem solvers will design and build prototype solutions to real-world problems. Whether the Chief of Police in Villamoura, Portugal, throws down the challenge to STOP JOY RIDERS, or the Norwegian Mountain Rescue challenges them to come up with a new AVALANCHE RESCUE DESIGN, our teams will come up with inventive solutions which demonstrate hands on skills and lateral thinking. Solutions to problems like these could genuinely make ...

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Steve Jobs - Inventor of a Generation

Posted on October 20, 2011

A century from now Steve Jobs will be remembered alongside Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers and Walt Disney. He ushered the new light of personal information into the world, mass produced it, made it fly and coupled it with new forms of entertainment. Jobs once said that all computers do is pick up and rearrange numbers, but if they do it fast enough, the results appear to be magic. His career was spent packaging that magic into sleek boxes with user friendly form and function. Jobs was among the first to recognize that computers could be sold ...

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First-To-Invent Era Is Over

Posted on September 13, 2011

September 13, 2011 - Last Thursday, just before President Obama's speech on jobs, the House of Representatives passed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. The new law is considered the biggest change to the U.S. patent system in decades. The US will now join the rest of the industrial world with a system that gives priority to the first to file rather than the first to invent. The legislation allows challenges to patents after they have been allowed for a set period of time — so-called post-grant review — a process similar to that of trademarks. Further, a re-examination of an ...

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The $100,000 Razor

Posted on August 20, 2011

There are real inventions like the integrated circuit, the airplane and the cotton gin and then there are marketing concepts like the Pet Rock and now, the $100,000 Zafirro Iridium razor blade.The company says that the Iridium is the world’s first razor with sapphire blades. According to Zaffiro CEO Hayden Hamilton, the 80 atom wide sapphire blade provides a finer tip than steel. The razor's handle is made up of stainless steel and iridium, with the iridium comprising the handle’s skeleton. Hamilton says iridium is "10 times rarer than platinum and made mainly from meteorites... It’s the strongest functional metal ...

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The World's Greatest Light-bulb

Posted on July 07, 2011

Farhad Manjoo has posted a glowing review of a new LED light-bulb from a company called Switch Lighting. He writes that the most remarkable thing about the new bulb is that the light it produces is totally unremarkable - it looks just like a typical incandescent bulb but uses roughly 1/5 the power. And it doesn't have the huge toxic drawback of compact fluorescent bulbs, namely, mercury. The new bulb is beautiful too. The main drawback today is that it's expensive. A 60 watt bulb costs $20 and should last for nearly twenty years. Even at today's high price ...

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First to File Patent Law Coming Soon to USA

Posted on June 25, 2011

On June 23, 2011 the House of Representatives passed the "America Invents Act." A similar Bill passed in the Senate last March. Both Senate and House passed their Bills by large majorities. They will now merge the two Bills into one (a process called "reconciliation") and pass it on to President Obama. The President has said he will sign it. The law will switch America from a first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system. The law will also expand the type of ‘prior art’ that can be considered for patentability and sets up a new process for challenging patents at ...

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Old World Inventing in the 21st Century

Posted on June 20, 2011

Joel Marks is the lead inventor for WorkTools, Inc. He has over 75 US patents in his name and is the creator of PowerShot "forward-action" staple guns, Gator-Grip universal sockets, PaperPro desktop staplers and much more. Joel develops his inventions like an old world craftsman coupled with a zen master. He touches and feels with both his hands and his mind. He understands how a spring feels as it compresses and releases, from both the perspective of a user working a spring-powered device and from the perspective of the spring itself. Joel recently put down some thoughts on his methodology ...

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Artificial Leaves

Posted on June 03, 2011

Photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert and store energy from the sun, is the most powerful energy conversion process on the planet. Imagine if that process could be reconfigured to turn sunlight into fuel that could heat homes and power cars and trucks. That's what Nathan S. Lewis, a chemistry professor at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena is working on. He is the principal investigator for a five-year artificial-photosynthesis project that was awarded a grant of up to $122 million by the federal Department of Energy. “We will be leading a national and international effort to ...

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Licensing Inventions to DRTV Companies

Posted on April 06, 2011

by Mike Marks Founder of Invention City GW asks: I have an invention which I believe best suited for the DRTV infomercial marketplace. The prototype works and market research says go. I'd like to license it to _______. However they say they do not sign NDA agreements! In fact all of the verbiage on their inventor submission page seems to basically say they can do whatever they want with your invention. That seems very suspicious to me, like they are trying to take advantage of inventors who are eager to get their ideas heard. When the president of the company ...

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Invention Bubbles Friction Away

Posted on March 07, 2011

Blowing a bubble blanket under the hull of a large ship can cut down fuel consumption by 5-20%. This works because air offers less resistance than water. A few things must come together for this invention to function. The bubbles must be created fast enough to keep the bottom covered and kept in place as the ship cruises forward and, at the same time, the bubbles must not diminish the hydrodynamics of the propeller. Damen Shipyards Group, a Dutch firm that builds more than 150 ships a year, has found that bubbles trapped in specially designed hull cavities cut ...

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Prototyping Company Now Offers "Mini Me" Service

Posted on February 24, 2011

Sculpteo, a European prototyping company, is now offering the ability to shrink yourself! With the ability to transform digital files into real-life, physical objects, Sculpteo allows digital dreamers to turn 3D files into 3-dimensional creations, as well as create easily 3D objects based on 2D drawings or simple text. Sculpteo makes it easy for users to edit or customize items by allowing them to select size, material, and color or monochrome printing options -- all done conveniently online. That means you never have to speak to a customer rep and deal with back and forth. Once you approve your design ...

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Prototyping with Insects

Posted on February 22, 2011

Inventors use wasps as bedbug detectors and more. The Wasp Hound is the invention of two Georgia scientists, Glen C. Rains and W. Joe Lewis. The hand-held device contains five stinger-free, flying, parasitic wasps that can do a better job than dogs in detecting cadavers, explosives, drugs and even bedbugs. The wasps are bred to respond to different scents and can be taught to react to the whiff of bedbugs’ pheromones. Mr. Rains and Mr. Lewis are now seeking to raise $200,000 to take their invention to the next level. Here's the full story from Amy Wallace at NYTimes. ...

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Improving the US Patent Office

Posted on February 22, 2011

New director wants faster invention patents. The Internet era has been raging for over a decade but only in the last three years has the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) begun to accept a majority of its applications in digital form. David J. Kappos is the new head of the USPTO and his goal is to quickly bring the office into the 21st century. At the moment the patent office’s pipeline is so clogged it takes two years for an inventor to get an initial ruling, and an additional year or more wrangling with examiner objections, for a patent ...

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Hugh Bradner - Neoprene Wetsuit

Posted on February 15, 2011

Hugh Bradner was an American physicist at the University of California whose invention of the wetsuit first revolutionized scuna diving then surfing and other water sports. Bradner took a position studying high-energy physics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1946 under Luis Alvarez, whom he had worked with at the Manhattan Project. Bradner's job at UC Berkeley required him to do a number of underwater dives. He had previously talked to United States Navy frogmen during World War II concerning the problems of staying in cold water for long periods of time, which causes the diver to lose large ...

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Rocket Science in a Rut

Posted on February 02, 2011

Rocket science is stuck in a rut and it's all Hitler's fault. If he had invested Germany's waning resources into Messerschmitts instead of V-2s we probably wouldn't have had ballistic missiles, or a space program, and we'd now be using cool alternatives like space slingshots. This is the interesting argument put forth by Neal Stephenson in an excellent article at Slate. Stephenson reviews the history of rocket development and finds that the 8 trillion dollars spent by the USA and USSR created a process for putting things into space that's impossible to get away from. There is no shortage ...

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Defying gravity is a matter of perspective

Posted on January 25, 2011

Kokichi Sugihara has invented a way to trick our eyes into believing that gravity can be defied. He doesn't use magnets or trick photography or special editing. He's made a model with cardboard that takes advantage of the assumptions our brains make about reality. In the following short video it looks like balls are rolling uphill. Click here to see Impossible Motion. Sugihara teaches at the Meiji Institute for Advanced Study of Mathematical Sciences in Japan. See more of Sugihara's illusions in a longer video here. ...

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Getting a Hand Fan Invention on the Market

Posted on January 19, 2011

Kevin asks: I designed a unique hand fan a while back and had a patent search done on it. The patent attorney told me not to get my hopes up because there’s a 50% chance that it has already been invented. Well, 2 weeks later, he told me that he couldn’t find anything on the market like it, and that I have a really good chance of getting it patented. So, about a week and half ago I filed for a provisional patent with the USPTO and now I’m waiting to get a patent number “Hopefully”. Other than that, I ...

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Bionic Legs

Posted on January 17, 2011

Israeli inventor Amit Goffer spent ten years perfecting the technology that goes into “Rewalk”, a device that works like bionic legs and soon will help wounded American soldiers get back on their feet. Rewalk is a set of mechanical legs attached to a backpack battery system that allows a paralyzed patient to “walk” all day and even climb stairs. The invention strikes a balance between the man and the machine – the machine has to move the man but the man has to control the machine. It uses a simple remote control worn like a wrist watch. When the user ...

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New Patent Covers Breakthrough in Anti-Aging

Posted on January 13, 2011

T.A. Sciences Announces the First U.S. Patent for Compositions and Methods for Increasing Telomerase Activity from a Natural Source. NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Telomerase Activation Sciences, Inc. (T.A. Sciences) today announced the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 7,846,904 to the Geron Corporation. The patent covers the use of certain compounds to upregulate telomerase expression in cells. T.A. Sciences has exclusive worldwide rights to technology under this patent for nutraceutical and cosmetic applications. "This foundational patent is a validation of the millions of dollars and more than 8 years of effort we have invested to bring TA-65, the ...

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Staples Guilty of Infringing Stapler Patents

Posted on January 11, 2011

Staples Found Guilty in PaperPro® Patent Case PaperPro® stapler manufacturer wins patent infringement case against Staples NEWTOWN, Pa., Jan. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In Los Angeles Federal District Court, a jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict on all claims against office products retailer Staples (SPLS) in a patent infringement case filed by Accentra, Inc., makers of the PaperPro® stapler and its partner WorkTools, Inc.. At issue were three patents for Accentra's innovative spring-powered staplers - which convert the light touch of a finger into staple-driving power. The jury found that Accentra's patents were valid, and that Staples willfully infringed on ...

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Consumer Electronics Show Wrap-Up

Posted on January 10, 2011

Each year the Consumer Electronics (CES) Show in Las Vegas brings the latest high tech offerings to public eyes for the first time. Here are three items that the technology writers at the NYTimes found interesting: Android - A few years ago industry experts and analysts doubted that Android’s one-size-fits-all approach to software would be successful with phone makers But many hardware manufacturers are now focusing on creating products that run on Android. Inductive Power - The most well-known applications of inductive power are pads that can charge smart-phones without wires and cook-tops that can heat pots and pans, but ...

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How much does it cost for international patents?

Posted on December 23, 2010

International Patent Costs Ask Professional Patent Agent Scott KeeleyHow to Get a Patent on AnythingSix Things to Know About PatentsMore About Invention Development, Licensing and Patent CostsBrutally Honest Review & Licensing OpportunitiesProvisional Patent Outline (Do It Yourself and save $$$) Note: The following information on patents is presented from the perspective of an experienced inventor. It is not legal advice. To understand how patent laws pertain to your invention and to manage the complexities of patent filings you should consult with a registered patent attorney or agent. Updated July 2016. There is no such thing as an "International Patent" or a "World Patent", no single patent filing that will protect your ...

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Ear Muff Inventor Celebrated

Posted on December 13, 2010

On December 4th the town of Farmington, Maine celebrated inventor Chester Greenwood for his invention of ear muffs in 1873 at the age of 15. He reportedly came up with the idea while ice skating, and had his grandmother sew tufts of fur between loops of wire. His patent was for improved ear protectors. He manufactured these ear protectors, providing jobs for people in the Farmington area, for nearly 60 years. Chester also patented a tea kettle, a steel tooth rake, an advertising matchbox, and a machine used in producing wooden spools for wire and thread. He invented, but did ...

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Apple Patents Advancement in 3D Display

Posted on December 04, 2010

On November 30th Apple was issued US patent #7,843,449 for a "Three-dimensional display system."  The patented technology enables different people at different places in a room to view a screen with images in 3D without special glasses.  As each viewer moves from one position to another, a sensor tracks their location and projects a custom view by beaming a split image onto a textured, reflective screen. The separate images are then reflected back into the targeted eyeball to create an un-altered 3D image in any location at any angle. Read a more detailed description from Kevin Parrish at Tom's Guide.   ...

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Inventing Project Software/Guide by NventNode

Posted on December 03, 2010

Inventors follow well worn paths in creating, refining, protecting and commercializing their inventions. There is no simple formula or magic wand to wave and find success. But there are some established steps that nearly all successful inventors take. Information on those steps can be found in the free articles at Invention City and on the electronic bookshelves of Amazon. But as good as that information is, it's disconnected from when and where you'll use it. NventNode software minimizes that disconnection with a powerful step-by-step invention/product development process that guides the inventor and enables conficential collaboration with advisers and partners - ...

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Expedited Review of Green Tech Patents Continues

Posted on November 22, 2010

On November 10, 2010, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) announced extension of its Green Technology Pilot Program for fast review of Green Tech patents to include applications filed on or after December 8, 2009 through December 31, 2011. The program had been scheduled to expire on December 8, 2010. The program remains limited to 3,000 applications in all.The Green Tech prrogram expedites its review of patent applications for “green technologies” ahead of other applications and also waives the $130 fee for expedited review. The goal is to get green technology market faster by jumping the line for ...

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How Do I Decide to Move Forward With an Invention Company?

Posted on November 18, 2010

Pamella asks: I am contacting you in search of a real, brutally honest answer regarding an invention company. I have paid several hundred dollars for the first stage of my invention. I am now at stage 2 - where the dollar amount substantially increases to nearly 10K as you indicate on your site. With the economy the way it is and my personal finances recovering, I am now reluctant to continue to move forward based on finances alone. Do you have any recommendations for me? Should I research investors? etc.... Is this company reputable? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank ...

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Invention Keeps Fingers Warm While Texting in the Cold

Posted on November 16, 2010

Hunter Patrick Patercsak was freezing his fingers numb while texting friends from a tree stand in the woods. After typing a few words he'd have to shove his hands into his fur lined muff to thaw them out. That was his Eureka! moment. He came up with the idea of a warming muff with a window in it so that he could text in the cold without numbing his fingers. His friends thought the idea was great. He refined the idea and took it into production. He calls his creation Textpac. It's useful for anyone who wants to text ...

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Time Magazine's Top 50 Inventions for 2010

Posted on November 12, 2010

Top whatever-the-number lists are good ways of learnng about things that other people feel are important. Some lists are well considered and presented. Others, not so much. Time Magazine just came out with its Fifty Best Inventions of 2010. We could quibble with the fact that it's not even mid-November and the year has more than six more weeks to run. Leave that aside. Time has done an excellent job. The choices are superb and the descriptions for each one are well written and informative. The inventions run the gamut iof society and are hyped by Time as follows ...

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Inventing With Hardware Store Parts?

Posted on November 11, 2010

Dale asks: I have an invention idea that consists of a few pieces you can buy separately at most hardware stores. Is it worthwhile to pursue this idea or once people see it would they go out and get the materials and assemble it themselves? Thanks and have a great day! ============================== Combining existing items for a new and useful purpose is a classic form of invention. The fact that people could easily make the same combination once they learn about it is not a reason to drop the idea. However, if the patent examiner thinks the idea is "obvious" ...

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Stem Cells from Fat to Fix Breasts and Hearts

Posted on November 10, 2010

Chris Calhoun, the 44-year-old CEO of San Diego-based biotech company Cytori Therapeutics, has found a way of removing stem cells from fat tissue and processing them for breast restoration and augmentation. His technology can be used to repair hearts and kidneys too, but getting FDA approval for fixing breasts is far easier. His business and invention have gone through many phases. Now after $200 million in R&D, he has a “box” known as the Celution System. It looks like a souped-up photocopier. But instead of taking in originals and spitting out replicas, it turns liposuctioned fat into breast-making gold. Here's ...

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Using Ratios In Patents

Posted on November 08, 2010

Blair asks: I am working on developing a product that is contingent on the size/measurements of a preexisting product that varies slightly from one type to the other. Is it possible to design my product using ratios rather than static measurements? For example, "Plane A of new invention is equal to a 1:0.9 the preexisting product's plane A." Plane A's Measurement will be written as "0.9:1"--thus making it 0.9 inches if the preexisting product has a length of 1 inch. Is this an acceptable practice? ================================ Disclaimer - I am not a patent attorney and am not qualified to give ...

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Next New Thing - Gesture Technology

Posted on October 30, 2010

Nintendo's Wii is about to become seriously old school. On Friday Microsoft said that it was buying Canesta, a small Silicon Valley company that specializes in gesture-recognition technology. The technology uses depth perceiving video cameras that see a user's gestures and facial expressions and translates them into computer commands - similar to systems shown in movies like “Minority Report.” The technology will likely have impact far beyond video games like xBox and become integral to many other aspects of daily life. Here's more from Ashlee Vance at NYTimes. See a demo video of Canesta's gesture recognition technology here. ...

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Fed Gov't Says No More Patents on Genes

Posted on October 30, 2010

Reversing a longstanding policy, the federal government said on Friday that human and other genes should not be eligible for patents because they are part of nature. The new position could have a huge impact on medicine and on the biotechnology industry. Full story from Andrew Pollack NYTimes. ...

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Solar Powered Refrigerator

Posted on October 29, 2010

October 29, 2010 - 23-year-old Emily Cummins re-invented the refrigerator in her grandfather’s shed, when she was in high-school. The 43F (6°C) temperature that it maintains helps people in various African countries like Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe keep their food for longer without using any electricity or atmosphere-harmful gas. Basically, the device is made from two concentric cylinders, with some space between them. The inner one is made of metal, to be thermally-conductive, and the outer one can be earth pots and plastics. Sand fills the space between them, which the users impregnate with water that evaporates when ...

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15th Annual Independent Inventors Conference Nov 4-5

Posted on October 28, 2010

The 15th Annual Independent Inventors Conference, co-sponsored by the United States Patent Trademark Office (USPTO), and Invent Now® will be held in Alexandria, VA at the US Patent and Trademark Office campus on November 4 - 5, 2010. A pre-conference workshop (November 3, 2010 from 5pm – 7pm) is included with your registration for anyone interested in learning patent basics and how they protect inventions. This workshop is for beginners and is a good foundation for the conference. Presenters will include the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, David ...

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No Flop Flip-Flops

Posted on October 24, 2010

George Darmis's eureka moment came when was repairing the fiberglass liner of a swimming pool and some overspray of the gel coat got on his flip-flops. The gel coat made the flip flops stick to his feet so that when he walked there was no flopping. “The comfort level was so incredible,” he said. “All of a sudden, I didn’t have to scrunch my toes to keep the flip-flops on. It’s so relaxing, it’s unreal.” He found some sticky material from 3M that renews its stickiness when it gets wet, mounted pieces to the heels of some flip-flops and voila ...

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No Flop Flip-Flops

Posted on October 24, 2010

George Darmis's eureka moment came when was repairing the fiberglass liner of a swimming pool and some overspray of the gel coat got on his flip-flops. The gel coat made the flip flops stick to his feet so that when he walked there was no flopping. “The comfort level was so incredible,” he said. “All of a sudden, I didn’t have to scrunch my toes to keep the flip-flops on. It’s so relaxing, it’s unreal.” He found some sticky material from 3M that renews its stickiness when it gets wet, mounted pieces to the heels of some flip-flops and voila ...

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Mining Patent Numbers for Dollars

Posted on October 17, 2010

Lawyers have found a new gold mine - digging for products marked with expired, erroneous and false patent numbers. It used to be that if a company had a wrong patent number on a product it would be subject to a $500 fine for all of the products it had mismarked. Now it may be subject to $500 for EVERY product that has been mistakenly marked. If a company sold a 1,000,000 units of an item with a wrong patent number on it that could mean a liability of up to $500,000,000. Half a billion dollars for what might have ...

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Rube Goldberg Machines

Posted on October 09, 2010

Rube Goldberg machines are the opposite of practical. They are just plain fun, taking the maximum number of steps to achieve a goal. See videos of some recent ones here. The popular 1963 board game Mouse Trap, as well as its sequels Crazy Clock (1964), and Fish Bait (1965) are based on Rube Goldberg machines. Some examples of Goldberg-inspired videogames are Incredibots, LittleBigPlanet, the 1990s-era series of The Incredible Machine games, and Crazy Machines. It is also possible to construct a Rube Goldberg Machine by using Garrys Mod, a game mod for Half Life 2 and other computer video ...

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Gum Delivers Taste of 3-Course-Meal

Posted on October 07, 2010

Willy Wonka did it in a book and a movie. Now it may be possible in reality. Researchers say they may have cracked the secret to replicating the flavor of a 3-course meal in a single stick of chewing gum. Scientists at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) say that the latest nanotechnology could be used to turn Willy Wonka’s eccentric invention into reality - but without the unpleasant side effects. Nanotechnology, which deals with structures just millionths of a millimetre in size, could capture and release flavours in a precisely controlled way. Food scientist David Hart explains, "The ...

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Gum Delivers Taste of 3-Course-Meal

Posted on October 07, 2010

Willy Wonka did it in a book and a movie. Now it may be possible in reality. Researchers say they may have cracked the secret behind creating replicates the flavor of a 3-course meal in a single stick of chewing gum. Scientists at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) say that latest technology could be used to turn Willy Wonka’s eccentric invention into reality - but without the unpleasant side effects. Recent advances in nanotechnology, which deals with structures just millionths of a millimetre in size, could capture and release flavours in a precisely controlled way. Food scientist David ...

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Graphene - New Material May Revolutionize Electronics

Posted on October 06, 2010

Discoverers of Graphene Win Nobel Prize October 6, 2010 - Konstantin Novoselov and his collegue Andre Geim were just awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of graphene. Graphene is a 1 atom thick wafer of carbon atoms that is as clear as glass and can transmit electricity. Its special properties could transform electronics, from solar cells to computers and sensors. Geim and Novoselov's breakthrough came in a deceptively simple experiment in 2004 that involved a block of carbon and some Scotch tape. The two used the tape to strip off layers of carbon that were only one ...

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Invention Licensing Agreement

Posted on October 04, 2010

Examples of non-dislosure agreements are easy to find online. Finding an example of an invention licensing agreement has been much harder. Until now. Now you can find an example of a Licensing Agreement here. These agreements vary greatly in how they are written and in the specific terms. But the basic elements are generally shared.     ...

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Motorized Shoes

Posted on October 01, 2010

October 1, 2010 - Peter Treadway's motorized shoe invention is a finalist for the James Dyson Award which will be announced next week. The motorized shoe looks far more useful than the Segway* and, significantly, will not require cities to be redesigned around it. Unlike the Segway this could actually be the beginning of a revolution in personal transportation. One thing is certain. If Treadway's shoe has commercial success there will be many imitators. Here's a video of a prototype in use. *The Segway is a masterpiece of innovation but it is an expensive and cumbersome solution to a ...

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How do I talk about my invention?

Posted on September 27, 2010

Gene writes: Relate to your comment on a blog post for going after company number two, rather than, the #1 company in a particular field. While watching the movie, "Flash of Genius", it struck me that his biggest downfall was having a friend who was a big shot at Ford. Then, he tried to manufacture the intermittent wiper himself. Seems to me, he should have been looking to speak to the companies who already sell wiper motors to Ford or want to. My idea is big on the order of magnitude of the intermittent wiper. It is a Continuously Variable ...

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Light Powered by Dog Poop

Posted on September 23, 2010

Dog poop is powering a light at a Boston area dog park as part of a demonstration project that its creator, artist Matthew Mazzotta, hopes will get people thinking about not wasting waste. The "Park Spark" poop converter comprises two steel, 500-gallon oil tanks connected by a pipe and attached to a gaslight-style street lantern. After the dogs do their business, signs on the tanks instruct owners to use biodegradable bags supplied on site to pick up the poop and deposit it into the left tank. People then turn a wheel to stir its insides, which contain waste and ...

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I Have a Patent Number - Now What?

Posted on September 16, 2010

Catherine writes: I made prototypes and gave them to a number of people with a list of marketing questions on fit, comfort and how much they would pay for the item... the response was good, so I wrote and illustrated drawings, and submitted a patent application. I have now received a patent number. What do I do now? I am a graphic designer but have no contacts for manufacturing my idea or know what the next steps should be. My intention is not to manufacture this item myself, my intention is to get royalty payments from a company that is ...

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3-D Printing Spurs Manufacturing Revolution

Posted on September 15, 2010

September 15, 2010 - An outgrowth of computer design driven rapid prototyping, 3D printing is giving rise to a string of never-before-possible businesses that are selling prosthetic limbs, surgical and dental implants, along with phone cases, lamps, doorknobs, jewelry, handbags, perfume bottles, clothing and architectural models. And while some wonder how successfully the technology will make the transition from manufacturing applications to producing consumer goods, its use is exploding. Read the full story by Ashlee Vance at NYTimes. ...

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Football Gear Maker Loses Patent Fight - Files Bankruptcy

Posted on September 14, 2010

September 14, 2010 - Schutt Sports, an Illinois-based maker of football helmets and other sports gear filed for bankruptcy on Labor Day, a month after it was hit with more than $29 million in damages for violating a patent on helmets held by arch-competitor Riddell. Schutt was struggling prior to losing the patent case. Riddell will now have the field entirely to itself. Here's more from Ameet Sachdev Chicago Tribune. ...

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I'm afraid an invention company stole my money and invention

Posted on September 09, 2010

Alfrida asks: We trusted a company to submit our invention but now we feel alone and that nothing is going to happen. We paid them $13,000 and all they did was send 120 letters to the manufacturers. Seven letters came back to us because the address was incomplete or incorrect. We also asked to them to give us the production drawings but they want more money to give us that information. Now they said that the construction of the prototype will cost around $100,000. We feel that we were very naïve now think that they just stole our money and ...

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5 Year Old Inventor Honored in UK

Posted on September 07, 2010

September 7, 2010 - At the age of three Sam Houghton of Buxton, England, was watching his father clean up leaves and fine debris with two different brooms when he came up with his idea - a double-headed broom designed to collect large debris and fine dust simultaneously. Sam's invention was patented and is now on display in an exhibition at the British Library. He is believed to be England's youngest ever patentee. Here's more from the Telegraph. ...

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Video Call Centers

Posted on September 07, 2010

September 7, 2010 - Plano, TX (PRWEB) - TelePresence Tech has been granted a US Patent for its invention of TelePresence Centers with capabilities of transmitting agents to appear at customer sites with eye contact for live two-way communication. Existing call centers with VOIP phone systems can upgrade to transmit IP video to be received by customers on computer monitors, laptops, video enabled tablets, home cable televisions and smart phones. Instead of having faceless communication by phone, companies can reach out to customers for face-to-face interaction in real time. In the five years since Duffie White, CEO of TelePresence Tech ...

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Paul Allen Sues Google, Apple and Others for Patent Infringement

Posted on September 01, 2010

September 1, 2010 - Last Friday Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen filed lawsuits against 11 major internet search and e-commerce companies alleging that they have infringed on four patents held by Interval Licensing, a company that he owns. The eleven defendants are AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube. Microsoft was not named. Interval Licensing holds patents of Interval Research, the former company founded by Allen and David Liddle in 1992 to perform advanced research and development in the areas of information systems, communications, and computer science. The patents in the lawsuit cover fundamental ...

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Moore's Law Continues

Posted on August 31, 2010

August 31, 2010 - Moore's law says that the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit will double approximately every two years. Co-founder of Intel Gordon Moore described this trend in 1965 and expected it to last for ten years. But the trend has continued to this day and now we have multi-gigabyte memory cards as small as a pinky nail. How much longer can it continue? In today's NY Times John Markoff describes developments that could result in single chips that store as much as today’s highest capacity disk drives within five years ...

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World's Richest Invention Company Has Not Commercialized A Single Product In 10 Years.

Posted on August 27, 2010

August 27, 2010 - Nathan Myhrvold, the former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft, is certifiably brilliant and undeniably rich. Ten years ago he founded an invention company called Intellectual Ventures. The home page of IV's website makes a big fat claim: "Intellectual Ventures is the global leader in the business of invention. We collaborate with leading inventors, partner with pioneering companies, and invest both expertise and capital in the process of invention. Our mission is to energize and streamline an invention economy that will drive innovation around the world." So I was surprised, to say the least, when I read ...

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Do You Really Want a Patent?

Posted on August 26, 2010

August 26, 2010 - The patent system is messy, far messier than most inventors realize. Here's some perspective from Attorney Erik J. Heels. Written prior to the Bilski decision (which he feels was worthless) it's especially relevant for software and business method patents: Patent law is currently broken. Especially software patent law. A pending Supreme Court case (Google Bilski for more info) may fix it or make further break it. In short, you can expect to pay more for, wait longer for, and get less from your patents than you would have 5 or 10 years ago. Cost – At ...

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Dyson Award

Posted on August 25, 2010

August 25, 2010 - The James Dyson Award, "seeks to single out the best in problem-solving student design" from around the world.  The eventual international grand prize winner will be announced on October 5 and will receive more than $15,000, with another $15,000 going to the student’s university department. The fifteen international finalists will be announced on September 14th. See all of the entries here.   ...

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Biz Method Patent Invalidated

Posted on August 24, 2010

August 24, 2010 - Last June the Supreme Court upheld a business method patent in the specific case of Bilski. The ruling gave hope to holders of business method patents who had feared that all such patents would be found invalid. Their worries are not over. On August 13, the first patent lawsuit to be decided in the wake of the Bilski decision ended decisively in favor of the defendants when a Los Angeles federal district court judge invalidated a patent on a method of online advertising held by Ultramercial LLC. The judge's dismissal of the patent—before claim construction had ...

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Smell detector Uses Engineered Frog Eggs

Posted on August 24, 2010

August 24, 2010 - Researchers in Japan have created a highly accurate sensor that can detect smells and gases using genetically engineered frog eggs. In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday, they said they hoped to use the invention to design better machines to detect polluting gases such as carbon dioxide. More at Reuters. ...

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Finding Money To Get Started

Posted on August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010 - Doug in Birmingham asks, "How do I get money to patent and prototype my invention?" This is a big question that every inventor faces unless he or she is independently wealthy. It goes to the heart of what's required to be successful. In the beginning stages it's easy to think big and find ways to spend huge piles of money. The trick is to find ways to advance your project inexpensively. My view is that until you've created a prototyope you haven't invented a thing. The first step in getting money is to make a prototype ...

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Prototype Hard Hat Alerts Workers of Danger

Posted on August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010 - Matt Reynolds, an assistant professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at Duke University, wanted a way to alert workers that dangerous equipment was nearby in the noisy environment of a construction site. He quickly came up with the idea of a beeper inside a hard hat. The trick was to find a way to make a beeper that worked without batteries. He's now done that with a prototype hard hat that uses radio waves to power a tiny microprocessor and beeper. The beeper gets all the power it needs from the transmitters on backhoes ...

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Anthony Fejes - Thoughts on Patents

Posted on August 22, 2010

August 22, 2010 - Anthony Fejes recently received a software/algorithm patent. He has mixed feelings about it but does not believe that the entire patent system should be trashed. Here's a snippet:Ultimately, My own patent: I have seriously mixed feelings about the patents filed during my time at Zymeworks. In fact, they were filed slightly after I left, though I had put a lot of work into them before leaving, I was not the one to finish and file them. They may have even been a contributing part of my departure, as the investors probably perceived my distaste for software/algorithm ...

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Sony Ordered to Pay Inventor 5 Million Yen

Posted on August 20, 2010

August 20, 2010 - Japan's Intellectual Property High Court on Thursday ordered Sony Corp. to pay a former employee about ¥5.1 million ($60,000) for inventing a technology used in the PlayStation, reversing a lower court ruling that rejected his demand. Hidehiro Kume, 58, wanted ¥100 million for his invention of a small optical pickup used to play and record data on optical discs for the popular game consoles sold through 2003. Here's more from Japan Times. ...

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From Concept to Market in 10 Months

Posted on August 20, 2010

August 20, 2010 - Magnus Hammick wanted to listen to loud, crisp music from his iphone but couldn't find anything on the market that worked for him. In late 2009, Hammick developed a pocket-sized speaker that delivers room-filling sound with amplified bass when it's placed on a flat surface. He created the $80 WOWee ONE that connects to anything with a 3.5-millimeter audio jack and has a rechargeable battery for 20 hours of play. Since the product's launch about nine months ago, more than 150,000 WOWees have been sold. Hammick's success cannot be easily emulated by others. He had 1 ...

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Patent Wars: Oracle Sues Google And The Wright Brothers Solution

Posted on August 19, 2010

August 19, 2010 - There is a growing movement against patents in general and software and technology patents in particular. The recent move by Oracle to sue Google is a case in point. Mike Masnick at TechDirt.com presents background for the prosecution, citing the story of how IBM sued Sun Microsystems for patent infringement long ago. In response to Sun's engineers saying that their patent claims were ridiculous, IBM's lawyers said: "OK, maybe you don't infringe these seven patents. But we have 10,000 U.S. patents. Do you really want us to go back to Armonk [IBM headquarters in New York] ...

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Patent Office Will Keep More Money & Act Faster

Posted on August 18, 2010

August 18, 2010 - President Barack Obama has signed legislation that will enable the the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to keep more of the revenue it generates from patent-filing fees. For years, the USPTO has been overwhelmed by a gargantuan backlog of unexamined patents, many of them for technology innovations. The under-funded agency currently has 1.2 million applications pending, of which more than 700,000 have not even been opened for preliminary examination. Cash generated by filing fees has previously disappeared into Federal funds and has not been kept by the USPTO. The new law gives the USPTO the ...

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Re-inventing the Wheel

Posted on August 17, 2010

August 17, 2010 - About a dozen years ago John Scott saw a Lexus sedan so overloaded that its tires cambered inward at the top. This gave him the idea for tires with built-in negative camber that would improve ride, lateral traction, fuel efficiency and tread life. In 1999 he received a patent 5,975,176 for “Tire having a constantly decreasing diameter." Last spring auto writer Don Sherman tested a prototype of Scott's CamberTires. Sherman was impressed: His prototype... demonstrated shorter stopping distances, higher cornering speeds and a markedly improved ride. The tires’ breakaway at the ragged edge of adhesion was ...

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Ask Mike

Posted on August 12, 2010

Do you have a question about inventing that needs answers?  Ask Invention City Founder Mike Marks. If he doesn't know the answer he'll try to find it out for you and answer it here. Just be sure you don't give away any confidential information with your question. ...

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Amazon's Secret Prototypes Lab

Posted on August 12, 2010

August 12, 2010 - Amazon's secret Lab 126 has been looking into building gadgets beyond the Kindle that it could sell to consumers. Rumors have it that Amazon even considered making a music player and cell phone, but decided against it citing huge competition. Here's more from Ray Willington at HotHardware.com.   ...

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Retractable Mud Flaps

Posted on August 12, 2010

August 12, 2010 - Reggie Hansen invented a sysrtem that enables you raise and lower the rear mud flaps on your truck with the flip of a switch. The invention is in the prototype stage. But that hasn't stopped Hansen from asking lawmakers in his home state of Wisconsin to get rid of the mud flap exemption for dump body construction trucks. Here's more from Neil Johnson at GazzetteXtra.com. ...

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Apple Patents Personalized Videogame Comic Books

Posted on August 12, 2010

August 12, 2010 - After you beat a game like Mass Effect 2, Apple wants to send you a comic book that re-tells your unique videogame story... and they've applied for a patent on the process. Here's more from Tom Goldman at EscapistMagazine. ...

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Supreme Court Rules on Business Method Patents - Sort Of

Posted on August 05, 2010

August 5, 2010 - One of the more interesting developments in the world of patents has been the emergence of a class of patents known as business method patents. these patents do not describe a mechanism of a machine or a process of manufacturing, they describe a series of steps used in conducting business. The most infamous of these patents is the patent held by Amazon.com for "1-click" buying which essentially patents the use of a shopping cart for buying things from a website. Amazon sued Barnes and Noble with this patent and licensed it to Apple. The incredibly broad ...

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