Five Key Networking Tips for Inventors

February 13th, 2008

While the swift cut-and-parry of creation is the heart of an inventor’s life, there is another important component – networking. Let’s face it; no matter how great your invention may be, you can always benefit from talented professionals in your field that might be willing to lend a hand. Maybe it’s that database programmer you’ve been scouring the earth for, or that distributor you need to get your product on store shelves, or a patent attorney to make sure your intellectual property is protected. Whatever the case may be, there are steps you can take to put yourself in the path of networking success. In this article, we will examine five of the most helpful. By applying these tips to your day-to-day efforts, you will increase your odds of meeting the people you need to move your invention forward.

1) Have a clean, approachable website.

The benefit of having a simple website to send people to cannot be stressed enough. Let’s say you are at a party or industry conference. Suddenly, you meet a new colleague and the two of you get to talking about your respective projects and goals. As the conversation comes to a close, the colleague asks you, “So, how can I stay abreast of what you’re up to, how can we keep in touch?” If you are networking-savvy inventor, you will reply, “Oh, no problem! My website is www.JohnDokes.com, it has all my contact information and what I’m working on. Check up on me there from time to time!”

This is extremely simple to do. Your website does not have to be flashy or fancy; a clean, black text on white background HTML layout will do just fine. As mentioned, your website should include your name, profession, hobbies, and areas of expertise, achievements, and maybe a periodical blurb about what things of importance you are working on at the time.

2) Print business cards and carry them at all times.

But what happens when you meet someone on the fly? There isn’t always time to scribble down web URLs or phone numbers, and lack of preparedness could kill an otherwise great networking contact. Fortunately, this does not have to befall you. The solution is a timeless standby of professionals everywhere: business cards! Simply visit your local Kinkos and print up 200 standard business cards with your name, e-mail address, mobile phone, and anything else you deem relevant. Then, make a point of carrying 5-10 of them in your wallet with you at all times. With business cards in tow, you will be able to capitalize on networking opportunities wherever you happen to be – on vacation, at restaurants or coffee shops, even in the grocery store. You truly never know when you will meet someone important.

3) Consider a separate phone line or wireless phone for professional purposes.

While not an absolute necessity, you need to consider how a potential contact or partner might perceive you. If they call your house line and hear lots of family commotion in the background, it might send the message that you are ill-prepared to take on a serious venture of any kind. Whether this is reasonable to infer or not, perception is reality for many people. Therefore, it might make sense to get a separate landline or wireless phone for your professional needs. You would then print this number on your website and business cards instead of your house phone. A wireless phone is best because you can carry it with you and never miss an important call. In addition to upholding your professionalism, doing this also helps you delineate between different areas of your life.

4) Follow leads wherever they may appear.

Anyone who has been in business for long knows that leads and opportunities can crop up almost anywhere, at any time. It is not uncommon for new business partners to meet on vacation, over dinner and drinks, or while playing golf at a country club. Therefore, you should keep this in the back of your mind and be ready to pounce on new opportunities as they arise. If you are out on the green with someone and you get to talking about your professions, there is no shame in “testing the waters” and seeing if he is interested in new projects. Do not assume that just because you aren’t in a business setting, you cannot pursue business leads. Truly successful inventors are creative and resourceful.

5) Use the direct approach whenever possible and appropriate.

Many people take a passive approach to life. Instead of acting to bring about some outcome, they simply hope it comes to be through osmosis. When it comes to networking, this attitude is a death sentence. If you want to meet the best people and bring them into the fold, you need to proactively seek them out. Let’s say you are in desperate need of a graphic designer, for instance. Throw up an ad on Rent-A-Coder that says you’re looking for one! Better yet, ask around your circle of friends and contacts to see if they know anyone with the skills you need. This is how networking happens. Of course, you should seek to establish some kind of relationship with a person before you just mine them for contacts. You wouldn’t want to bombard someone you just met. But by all means: once you are on good terms with someone, feel free to ask them who they know.

Apply these tips to your inventing and you will soon find that networking is not so difficult and it can make the difference between a successful invention and a failed one.

Eric Corl is the Founder and CEO of IdeaBuyer.com, the online marketplace for intellectual property that gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. You can email him at EricCorl@IdeaBuyer.com.

Butanol: The Gasoline of the Future?

February 8th, 2008

Ethanol, the long-time front-runner among gasoline alternatives, might have to step aside for a new technology from British energy company BP. As early as this spring, gasoline stations in Britain could begin offering butanol, an easily transportable and more energy-efficient substitute to ethanol. It will be distributed as part of a trial period that will determine public response to the new fuel and its marketability.

The process by which butanol is created is very similar to that of ethanol. “[It] is a type of alcohol that’s made by fermenting sugars with microbes, such as bacteria or yeast,” said Popular Science magazine. “Most ethanol is produced from corn, wheat and sugarcane.” It’s important to note the similarities between the two, but the differences are what make butanol a more plausible fuel alternative.

Butanol is a more viable energy source than ethanol in part because of its superior energy density. Philip New, president of BP Biofuels, explains that ethanol only provides about two-thirds the energy density of gasoline compared to the upper 80 percent that butanol provides. This means that one gallon of butanol will provide only 10-15 percent less energy than one gallon of gasoline – a huge achievement in a world that isn’t quick to sacrifice performance for a cleaner environment.

Another considerable benefit is the easy storage of butanol. “It isn’t as corrosive [as ethanol], so we don’t have issues with it at higher concentrations beginning to eat at aluminum or polymer components in fuel systems and dispensing systems,” New said. The inability to store a volatile substance could easily affect its practicality as a gasoline replacement.

Additionally, butanol can be transported using existing gasoline pipes. Water gets in pipes with any fuel system; gasoline and butanol allow the water to settle out of the bottom. Ethanol, however, mixes with the water, causing potential problems with the integrity of the final product. New said the big problem, though, is that if the same fuel line used to transport ethanol is then used for aviation fuel, there is the potential of water contamination of the aviation fuel, which could be a very serious problem.

Although butanol has many advantages over the more commonly known ethanol, it is not flawless. According to Popular Science, butanol is far less-efficient to make than ethanol largely because it is more toxic to the microbes that ferment it. Because of this, every bushel of corn produces less than two percent butanol in comparison to 12 percent ethanol.

This variation in the amount of fuel yielded is bringing the affordability of butanol into question. The less butanol extracted from a particular feedstock, the more resources required to produce a certain quantity of butanol. Technology Review said ethanol relies heavily on government subsidies and questions the affordability of butanol if they do not receive any. In response, New said he is unsure if butanol will need subsidies from the government. He thinks that it is important, however, to change the way subsidies are offered. “A transition away from subsidizing biofuels on the basis of volume towards subsidizing on the basis of energy content would represent a level playing field,” he said. “By subsidizing volume, you’re effectively supporting less-energy-efficient alternatives.” It is a valid point considering the high energy efficiency of butanol as compared to ethanol.

Steps, however, are being taken to improve butanol’s fermentation yields. BP has enlisted the help of chemical company DuPont to help engineer microbes that can better sustain themselves in the fermentation process. According to Popular Science, “John Ranieri, head of biofuels development for DuPont, [said] this will drastically improve butanol’s yield, clearing the way for what is potentially a much more useful fuel.”

Though the primary, short-term goal of butanol use is providing alternative fuel to the automotive industry, it is not limited to that. Boeing has teamed up with Virgin Green Fund, a sub-brand of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group conglomerate, to explore the use of alternative fuels, including butanol blends, in aviation, said Popular Science. With increased efficiency through the work of DuPont, there are better chances that butanol use in aviation could become a reality.

Butanol and ethanol both have significant potential as permanent alternatives to gasoline. Although ethanol has provided an excellent renewable source of energy, butanol promises to be a much more reasonable substitute. Its superiority in energy output far outweighs its issues with low yields from feedstock. Further, the collaboration between BP and DuPont will undoubtedly minimize its production problems. With improved efficiency, butanol might become an important player in the future of biofuel.

John Gerbich is the Staff Writer for IdeaBuyer.com, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. Visit the site by clicking here > Patents for Sale.

Logging – So Easy an Environmentalist Could Do It

January 29th, 2008

The solution to the bitter war between environmentalists and the logging industry might have finally been realized with a creative innovation from Canada-based Triton Logging Inc. Their new underwater saw capitalizes on the 45,000 forgotten forests that have been drowned through the damming of reservoirs to produce hydroelectric power all over the world.The saw, aptly named the Sawfish, is the first fully submersible saw that can dive up to 1,000 feet underwater, making it a valuable resource in the harvest of about 300 million trees that were previously unreachable. According to a feature on the Sawfish on NBC’s “Today” show, the device provides a ‘green’ alternative for Triton Logging to avoid the many common problems that come along with deforestation in conventional logging. These problems include acceleration of soil erosion, disruption of animal habitats and clear cutting of trees that absorb the carbon dioxide fueling global warming.

Not only does the Sawfish provide an environmentally friendly alternative to on-land clear cutting and deforestation, it does not harm the lake in which it is used. It never touches the bottom of the lake or disturbs the soil. Additionally, according to a “Fox News” report, water readings taken before and after a harvesting project have shown no elevated levels of toxins. This is vital in proving the environmental integrity of the product and its true contributions to the industry.

While the Sawfish’s environmental merits are extremely important, its creative operational elements also deserve discussion. Triton uses maps to determine the location of underwater forests to which they will bring the unmanned Sawfish. The Sawfish is then tethered to a barge from which an operator maneuvers the device. The saw is equipped with eight cameras and SONAR technology that allow the operator to effectively locate target trees.

The actual process of collecting the trees is relatively straightforward. “The remote-controlled Sawfish clamps onto a tree with its five-foot-long pincers, attaches inflatable airbags, and chews through the trunk in seconds with a 54-inch blade,” said Popular Science magazine. The attached airbags pull the logs to the surface for easy retrieval.

A legitimate concern for many interested in purchasing and using this new timber is the quality of the wood itself. Many of these trees have been underwater for decades and one would assume that there must be some amount of damage or decay in this timber. The truth is, said the “Today” show, that the combination of cold water and little oxygen exposure actually acts as a preservative. Aside from increased drying time before cutting, there is little difference between this wood and conventional wood.

Because of the obvious environmental advantages of using this timber, there looks to be a significant market for it. Despite its higher cost, the benefits outweigh the price for many people. Many “green” builders will undoubtedly want to incorporate it into their building plans; ecologically aware consumers will definitely appreciate the use of salvaged wood in homes they purchase. According to The Wall Street Journal, the wood will also be marketed as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional wood at home-improvement stores for those wishing to use it on an individual basis. Concerned consumers will without doubt feel more comfortable using wood they know came from a “green” source.

The market for these 300 million sunken trees will certainly be a significant one, with early profit estimates at around $50 billion. This is a remarkable number considering that these trees were almost unrecoverable and lost forever.

The ideals of lumber companies and environmental groups have begun to mesh with this new innovation from Triton Logging. With the days upon us of increased interest and concern with global warming and the way we treat our planet, a compromise has to be made. We need to realize what is in the true best interests of society as a whole and think more seriously about where we can make compromises that are agreeable to everyone. The introduction of environmentally friendly technology like the Sawfish is critical in these compromises.

John Gerbich is the Staff Writer for IdeaBuyer.com, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. Visit the site by clicking here > Patents for Sale.

Product Development and Design

January 22nd, 2008

product development and designDeveloping a product is when the rubber meets the road, when theory meets practice, when ideas become real. While it would be impossible for any one article to give a blow-by-blow list of specific steps for making every kind of product imaginable, there are some definite principles that can and should be followed. Doing so ensures that your product development efforts result in something far more likely to succeed on the open marketplace.

With that being said, let’s dive in!

Do not get overly attached to your original conception.

Some inventors make the mistake of worshiping their original idea for what the product will look like when it is done. Many do this because they are afraid of becoming like entrepreneurs on the other extreme of the product development spectrum: those who never make any progress because they keep junking the product and starting from scratch. In fact, both of these approaches are wrong. The key to successful product development is to hold true to your idea without being so rigid that you refuse to make rational changes.

For example, let us say you are developing a new kind of water filtration system that is going to put the existing models to shame with its never-before-seen, super-accurate and top-secret filtration technology. In conceiving this new filter, you have decided to make it as an add-on to the sink faucet. That is, it will attach to the faucet and automatically filter water when someone turns it on. But let’s say you come across a questionnaire or focus group. It says that faucet filter sales have been in decline for two years. However, it shows consumers are quire enthusiastic about pitchers that will filter the water they pour into it.

If you are a smart product developer, you will strongly consider adapting your incredible new technology to this method. Refusing to acknowledge this trend and make anything other than what you originally thought of is the kind of stubbornness that kills otherwise great products. Do not let that become your story!

 

Set realistic deadlines for yourself and adhere to them.

Without deadlines, product development can devolve into endless “do-overs” and “back to the drawing board” sessions that become little more than a sinkhole of wasted time. Of course, a certain amount of mistake and retries are to be expected when developing a product. Trying to eliminate all of them would be impossible. Instead, the goal is to set reasonable deadlines for yourself.

If you are vexed by a particular problem, give yourself a set amount of time to solve it before moving on to the next issue. If you cannot resolve the problem in that amount of time, make a judgment call. Will a few more days suffice? Or is this something you should put on the back burner while you satisfy other pressing demands of developing the product? Prioritizing is key, and learning to do so will be an incalculable benefit to you. It will give your progress a sense of physical reality and keep you anchored to a plan.

Of course, your ultimate deadline should be one for completion: when do you hope to have the product developed by? Impose a deadline on yourself even if there isn’t one. The sooner your product is developed, the faster you can get it to market and begin reaping the fruits of your labor.

 

Get feedback from those outside your family and friends.

As you develop the product, show it to people at various stages. Collect feedback from them on what they like, what they do not like, and what they would like to see instead. Many inventors forgo this valuable feedback loop because they fear that sense of rejection. No one likes to hear that what they have worked on for months might not be so great after all.

So rather than seek the cleansing of truth, many inventors simply hypothesize to themselves about what people would think about the product. This is completely insufficient. Instead, your goal should be exposing your product to as much critical scrutiny as possible. This means to look outside your family and friends. While they are often concerned first and foremost with not hurting your feelings, outsiders will often be quite blunt about what you should do differently. Far from being a bad thing, this is actually invaluable.

If you show your product at various stages to say 20 people, and 14 of them make the same suggestion that you never thought of, that is an enormous help. You can be reasonably sure that this suggestion is something the people in your market would want as well.

To develop a product, you need to walk the tightrope of maintaining your vision while also respecting reality. By keeping an active mind, you will only strengthen your product and increase its chances for success.

Eric Corl is the Founder and CEO of IdeaBuyer.com, a marketplace for new technology and products that gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. You can email him at EricCorl@IdeaBuyer.com.

Sun Safety Has Never Been So Easy

January 14th, 2008

It is no secret that unprotected, repeated overexposure to the sun will cause skin cancer. More than that, daily exposure to ultraviolet light will cause premature aging and wrinkles. Despite these undeniable facts, many people refuse to easily prevent these problems by following the simple routine of applying sunscreen when they go outdoors; people are constantly putting themselves at risk for serious health problems. With the introduction of an invention from Aquea Scientific, the daily application of sunscreen will be something that is already a part of your daily routine.

California-based research company Aquea Scientific’s flagship product, Aquea SPF, has taken off in the field of cosmeceuticals. This multi-patented creation blends, for the first time, the importance of applying sunscreen with the ease and necessity of taking a shower or washing your face. Through their ground-breaking product they have formulated a way to introduce their sunscreen formula into ordinary body wash, soap, shampoo and facial cleanser. According to the Aquea Web site, it is all-day protection ranging from SPF 2 to SPF 15+, depending on the formula.

Additionally, the introduction of Aquea SPF to soap, according to the Aquea Web site, does not reduce the lathering qualities or functionality of the original product. It does not leave the greasy or oily film that results from the use of many common sunscreens either. This makes the product not only more convenient, but more manageable than traditional sunscreens.

The secret to the functionality of this innovative technology lies in its creative formula and is as easy to understand as the attraction between negative and positive charges. According to a feature on the product in Popular Science Magazine, “Aquea Scientific encapsulates (Aquea SPF) in tiny silica shells and bombards them with protons, giving the silica a positive charge that helps it cling to negatively charged skin.” This positive/negative attraction allows the product to stay attached to the skin through washing and drying. The technology in this formula is referred to as “Wash-On” by Aquea. A visual representation of the science behind the formula’s function can be found on the Popular Science Web site.

Since Aquea does not manufacture soaps or shampoos, they must offer their product to a company that can use their Aquea SPF as an additive for efficient UV protection. The first company to do so was Freeze 24-7 for use in their Ice Shield facial cleanser, offering SPF 15 protection. Freeze has marketed their product highlighting the UVA anti-wrinkle and anti-aging properties of the Aquea technology.

Aquea SPF has been acknowledged as a significant development in the field of cosmeceuticals. With the initial introduction of the product in 2006, the company was recognized by Health and Beauty America and Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine with the Best New Technology award. That was a considerable achievement for a company if its size. “For Ventura‘s Aquea Scientific, a private company with about 10 employees, taking the award was equivalent to a small independent film grabbing that Oscar,” said an article in the Ventura County Star newspaper. Further, Popular Science has included Aquea SPF in their Best of What’s New 2007 awards. They were recognized as the grand award winner in the personal health category.

The Wash-On technology used to attach sunscreen to the body through charged particles is not limited to the Aquea SPF sunscreen. It can be used for a variety of active ingredients that are inconvenient to apply regularly, including insect repellent, anti-aging products and anti-acne medications. According to the Wash-On technology Web site, plans are in the works to expand their offerings beyond sunscreen. The future of a Wash-On line of products is extremely promising.

Aquea SPF has been an exceptionally important advancement in cosmeceutical science. Aquea Scientific has employed creative innovation and science to produce a product that appeals to many people looking for quick, easy access to healthy living. The modern world’s obsession with convenience will undoubtedly drive the technology forward.

This article is provided for your personal use by http://www.IdeaBuyer.com. Idea Buyer is the online marketplace for intellectual property and gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and retailers who are looking for new products to bring to market.

Please do not redistribute or reproduce this article without written permission.

John Gerbich is the Staff Writer for IdeaBuyer.com, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. Visit the site by clicking here > Patents for Sale.

Chinese Intellectual Property Violations

January 4th, 2008

If you are looking to manufacture your product in China, beware. It seems that no matter where you turn, opportunistic Chinese companies are flat-out stealing intellectual property from American companies, be it in the form of designs, processes, algorithms, and even entire products. In this article we will share several examples of well known products being blatantly copied and explore the rising tide of intellectual property violations being made by Chinese companies.

One prime example of Chinese intellectual property theft is a device called the miniOne. To the naked eye, the miniOne looks identical to the popular new iPhone from Apple, right down to the smooth button-less interface. However, the miniOne offers some things the iPhone does not. It runs popular mobile software that the iPhone will not support, in addition to being compatible with every worldwide wireless provider and not just AT&T. As if that were not enough, the miniOne promises to cost half as much as the iPhone and be available to 10 times as many customers.

Now, the troubling aspect of all this is not the additional capabilities this Chinese company is seeking to add. On the contrary, these are all welcome additions to the sphere of wireless technology. The problematic element is simply the wholesale theft of the iPhone\’s design and aesthetic properties, the “grifting” of its style, and applying it to a separate product as though it were their own.

But the intellectual property violations do not stop at iPhone clones. Vehicles are another prime target for cloning and cheap resale by Chinese entrepreneurs. Take the Laibao, for example. It’s a small SUV that would pass to any casual observer for a Honda CR-V. Indeed, many in the automotive industry speculate that the engineers at Laibao simply copied the CR-V, virtually part for part, in creating their own car. Or take the Geely Meerie, a carbon copy of a Mercedes C-Class. All the style and sophistication of Mercedes for a fraction of the price: 120,000 yuan, or $15,000 US dollars to be exact.

However, the problem of cloned vehicles is made most clear by the “sweet spot” of the Chinese market; vehicles that sell for around $5,000, which is just a bit shy of the typical middle class Chinese family\’s income. When it comes to this segment of the market, the Chery QQ is top, front, and center.

The QQ is a part-for-part clone of a car known either as the Daewoo Matiz or the Chevy Spark. (The actual car is a joint venture between General Motors and the Korean company Daewoo.) In fact, Sparks are sold worldwide. In the United States, an upgraded $10,500 version called the Aveo is cheaper than any other car available. This helps explain the astonishment of American officials when the rock-bottom priced $5,000 QQ first surfaced on the marketplace in 2003. The shock and awe of Congressman James Sensenbrenner (Wisconsin) after a 2004 jaunt to China sums it up:

“If you didn’t have name tags on the cars, you couldn\’t tell them apart. It’s such a good knockoff that you can pull the door off the Spark and it fits on the QQ, so close that the doors match right up.”

Clearly, the complete and shameless cloning of other companies’ products for cheap resale is an alarming problem in the IP community. To understand all the developments that led up to the present state, it helps to analyze the history of IP theft in China. In fact, the problem evolved through several distinct stages on its path to today’s frightening condition.

Chinese industry did not become capable of piece-by-piece cloning overnight. Far from it. A report from consulting firm A.T. Kearney segments the growth of China\’s clowning prowess into five separate periods. The first period was the 1980\’s, marked by primitive, fragmented efforts to produce cheap textile knockoffs like t-shirts. Few were alarmed at this point because the violations in question were trivial. The second period ocured during the 1990\’s. Clothing and accessories were the primary focus of this period as well, but with a twist: high-quality merchandise fakes from Reebok and Nike began to flood the market and gain acceptance by budget-minded westerners. By the mid-90’s, Chinese copycats had moved from simple trademark infringement to low-end tech wares: things like Duracell batteries and DVDs.

From this springboard, says the study, an era of “advanced technology piracy” was launched. Difficult-to-detect knockoffs of Callaway golf clubs, counterfeit auto safety class, and other products appeared beginning in 1998. And by the new millennium, Chinese piracy had become so adept at cloning that they successfully duplicated Intel computer chips, Viagra sex tablets and Bosch power tools.

One practical way that Chinese cloners go about their actions is using “ghost shifts.” That is, a factory contracted out to make authentic goods moves to a 24 hour operation, during which it pumps out copies. Some may be made with inferior materials, others are made properly, but all are destined for sale on the black market: from midnight until morning. The only problem with ghost shifts was that they could not run full time. To solve this problem, developers began in the mid 90’s to build shadow factories – entire plants identical in composition and function to the original, often created from the very same blueprints that actual manufacturers used to launch. Using these and other tactics, the Chinese are literally siphoning American brainpower and innovation into their own pockets by way of making cheap knockoffs.

Clearly, this is a serious problem that anyone involved in intellectual property would do well to be mindful of. Chinese IP violations could create a whole host of adverse incentives for inventors if the problem is not addressed.

Luckily, there are still reliable Chinese Manufacturer representatives out there that can help inventors and companies take advantage of the pricing benefits that Chinese manufacturing can offer. However, be sure to conduct due dilligence to protect yourself from predatory manufacturers. Request references from their current clients and ensure that all of your proper documentation is in place. Ideally, try to find an American manufacturing representative (US Citizenship) that is on site in China. This typically reduces much of the friction in doing business overseas.

Eric Corl is the President of Idea Buyer LLC, a new product development company that operates IdeaBuyer.com, marketplace for new technology and products that gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, investors, and manufacturers. You can email him atEricCorl@IdeaBuyer.com. You can visit the site by clicking here >New Technology and Products, Patents for Sale


Selling Your Patent

January 4th, 2008

A Simple Guide to Selling Your Patent, Selling a Patent, Sell a Patent

Selling Your Patent Selling a patent can be a great way to turn stagnant but valuable intellectual property into cash. Selling a patent is a great option for those who don’t necessarily have the resources to bring a product to market themselves yet can show the potential the patent would have if produced and marketed. This article discusses how to increase your chances of selling your patent and provides a basic education on the subject.


Selling A Patent: Critical Elements

To sell a patent, it is critical that one can demonstrate that it is valubale, that potential customers are interested in it, and have an idea of how much they want to receive in exchange for the patent. It is also critical that the patent is presented for sale to companies in a professional manner and for what it is; a business opportunity. While selling a patent can get complicated, that is a good problem to have. The key is to market your patent as much as possible and get interested parties to the table. It is better to fire and then aim rather than get locked into paralysis analysis. If companies do not know about your patent, they cannot make you an offer or plan on putting the product into their product line. Get out there and do what it takes to reach companies.

Selling Your Patent: Sacrifices

That said, there are some potential drawbacks to selling. After all, what if it becomes a huge hit? More concretely, what if you sell your patent for $100,000 and it generates $10,000,000 in profits for the new owner? This is a very real possibility that you must reckon with before selling. For many people, this possibility is enough to scare them (irrationally) into rejecting perfectly good offers and holding onto their patent indefinitely. However, you can and should make this decision intelligently. Think long and hard about your idea. Is it so innovative, so groundbreaking, so over-the-top revolutionary that it is going to redefine an industry? Or are there similar products out there for sale already? In the former case, you might want to hold on to your idea or hold out for a higher sum. In the latter case, however, you need to realize that as the intellectual property ages it could become worth less money and you could be missing out on big opportunities. Our recommendation is to also consider licensing if you are interested in future profits (There are many companies that are open to licensing as it provides less up front cash and puts some of the risk on the patent owner. Licensing your patent grants exploitation rights to a licensee in exchange for royalties and performance options to ensure the licensee acts to make the patent a success for you. For a more in-depth explanation of patent licensing, see our article on the subject.)

Selling Your Patent: Making the Pitch

How do you actually go about selling a patent? Several options exist, and you should choose the one that best matches your strengths and resources. One way to sell your patent is through direct contact. While working with personal contacts is ideal, many patent holders do not have the network to be personally introduced to executives. When you do make contact with a firm, you want to present yourself as a business man or woman (I.E.- Product Developer, Founder, etc), not a mere inventor. This exudes an air of professionalism that established companies prefer. Then, request a face-to-face meeting with a Sales Manager or Product Manager within the company. Now, a word of caution is in order. You only want to schedule such a meeting if and when you have secured a patent for your idea. Otherwise, you have to ask the company to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements which they are unlikely to sign for standard business reasons. Therefore, a patent is your best (and often, only) means of selling your patent through direct contact methods. Here, you will encounter companies or people interested in your product and potentially buying it.

Selling Your Patent: Focus on Generating Interest

If you have secured the patent already, you are in prime position to market it to interested parties and evaluate potential buyers in your quest to profit from your labor. You can create a listing on our website in less than 10 minutes and immediately expand your network to thousands of companies that are looking for innovative new products to license or purchase in their industry.
Eric Corl is the Founder and CEO of IdeaBuyer.com, the online marketplace for intellectual property. The site helps innovators generate interest among consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. You can email him at EricCorl@IdeaBuyer.com. You can visit the site by clicking here > Patents for Sale.

Top 10 Inventions of 2007

December 28th, 2007

Top Inventions The year 2007 saw a number of groundbreaking inventions from many sectors. Medical technology, personal communication, sports safety, energy saving breakthroughs, and other gadgetry saw huge advances throughout the year. However, some inventions simply outshine the rest of the pack and deserve higher mention. In this article, we will examine the top 10 inventions of 2007 and what makes them a cut above the rest!

1) Air conditioner that controls “superbugs”

The Kunne air conditioning system is a tremendous breakthrough in climate control: the first ever AC that controls both heat and humidity! By controlling both of these elements, buildings such as hospitals can regulate the flow of viruses, mold, and germs in the air. This will, in theory, help prevent such buildings from becoming “sick buildings” where people get sick simply by working there or visiting. If the Kunne system becomes widespread, the days of catching “that bug that’s been going around” might become a thing if the past!

2) Electro Needle Biomedical Sensor Array

Tired of sticking needles into your flesh just to run a blood test? With the electro needle biomedical sensor array, this painstaking task might not be necessary for much longer. It is a small patch of a device that contains electro-chemically treated probes. When it gets applied to a patient’s skin, the probes perform an astonishingly accurate determination of chemical readings in the patent’s bloodstream without having to withdraw any actual blood. In this way, a patient’s electrolytes, toxins, carbohydrates, proteins, bacteria, and even viruses can be spotted without a single needle, all through this one patch. This patch could spell a whole new era in disease prevention, as those who refuse to get needle tests out of fear no longer have an excuse to avoid those annual checkups!

3) Diesel Exhaust Purification System

In these environmentally conscious times, it seems that everyone is looking for ways to protect the environment and lower pollution. This is exactly what Raymond Covit, a Los Angeles mechanic, did with his diesel exhaust purification system. This incredible invention forces diesel engines to re-breathe their own exhaust fumes, a drastic change from the engines of today which simply spew their fumes into the air we breathe. If Covit’s system catches on, we can expect a significant reduction in vehicle-based air pollution, not to mention those hideous black clouds we see pumping into the air during our morning commute. That’s something we can all be happy about!

4) Sports safety clothing that hardens on impact

The Dow Corning Active Protection System (named after its creator) is a new type of clothing material for athletes and bikers. The clothing is soft and flexible in the normal course of events, but contains a never-before-seen security feature: the clothes harden and become rigid upon any type of hard impact! This protects the wearer in the event of nasty falls and collisions, during which their clothes will protect any skin that is covered by them. Best of all, the material bounces back to its regular, flexible consistency after you are out of harm’s way and is completely washing machine safe. Anyone involved in extreme sports like skateboarding, BMX bikes, rock crawling, or rugby may soon find that these clothes are the standard apparel!

5) Organic light-emitting diode

Organic light-emitting diodes (or OLEDs) are said to have the potential to change the way we light our homes and design clothing. OLEDs are simply thin strips of plastic with the ability to conduct electricity and harness solar power for later use. The applications of this technology are virtually limitless, such as changing the color of clothing. Another novel use (no doubt suggested by the owner of a sports bar) is OLED strips on beer cans that display up-to-the-minute sports scores. The best part is that OLEDs are significantly more energy efficient than today’s light bulbs, paving the way for guilt-free innovation and lighting possibilities!

6) Steam-O-Lene Engine

Enraged over high gas prices and wasteful engines, Bruce Crower decided that it would be more productive to do something about it than complain about it. The result? The fascinating Steam-O-Lene engine that makes more efficient use of steam to squeeze more life out of every gas tank. While the typical engine wastes ¾ of its energy in the form of heart, Crower’s engine (a single-cylinder diesel with 8HP) uses that heat to create steam, thus recapturing some of that precious lost energy. It runs much the same way that conventional four-stroke combustion engines do, but just as the Steam-O-Lene finishes the fourth stroke, water is squirted into the 1,500 degree cylinder. This intense heat and the ensuing reaction of the water creates steam, which generates a 1,600-fold expansion in volume and drives a piston down to create some more power.

The end result is more of that lost heat being converted to power strokes that actually move the car forward instead of evaporating into nothingness.

7) The Green Brick

While clay bricks have become a fixture in American construction, inventor Henry Liu has a new vision: a green brick. His brick is made entirely of fly ash, which is a major waste product of coal power plants that simply sits in a landfill after it is produced. And rather than solidifying under extreme heat like regular bricks do, the green brick forms under pressure. This saves a considerable amount of energy and costs some 20% less, which puts a smile on manufacturers’ faces. They are even desirable from a construction standpoint because the way they are molded leads to smoother, more uniform surfaces that slash precious time off of the bricklaying process.

8) StarChase Pursuit Management System

If you were planning on orchestrating a heart-pumping police chase anytime soon, this device might give you reason to reconsider. The StarChase Pursuit Management system uses a laser-guided “gun” that is mounted on the front grill of squad cars. The beam can tag fleeing vehicles at almost any speed with a GPS tracker that will retain the data and forward it in real-time back to police headquarters for further analysis and use in assisting backup patrols. Bad news for thieves and drug dealers, but great news for the crime fighters.

9) Blood type conversion

It used to be that if you needed type-O blood, nothing but that would suffice. This has long been a vexing problem for blood banks, as type-O negative is by far the most valuable blood commodity there Is. However, testing is underway for “Blood Simple”, a device that Danish researchers created to convert other blood types to O with the aid of bacteria. The crux of the discovery? Two isolated enzymes made by bacteria that can erode the sugar molecules which demarcate types A, B, and AB-negative blood from one another. This would more or less convert them to type O, greatly increasing the potential supply of this highly sought-after blood type. With technology like this on the horizon, blood transfusion shortages may not plague us for very much longer!

10) Apple iPhone

Named Time Magazine’s 2007 Invention of the Year, the iPhone has delighted critics since Steve Jobs dramatically unveiled it at the MacWorld convention earlier this year. In one device, the iPhone consolidates a wireless phone, an iPod, a web browser, a camera, and an e-mail communicator. The Internet is rendered much as it looks on normal computers and easily navigated with a super-intuitive touch screen. The iPhone also boasts a massive 8GB of storage for your music, movies, pictures, or documents. And gone are the days of cheap, fast-dying cell phone batteries: the iPhone offers 24 hours of life for continuous music playback, and as long as 12 hours for continuous video. With so much power and capability packed into one gadget, it is no wonder the iPhone took home Time’s top invention honors!

Solution to Our Oil Addiction?

December 19th, 2007

What is old becomes new again with a high-power microwave

John Gerbich

Inventor Frank Pringle might have begun the end of an era of wasted energy with the introduction of his new “Hawk” microwave.

Do not let the name fool you; it is not any ordinary microwave. According to Popular Science magazine, this microwave is capable of extracting the hidden oil and natural gas bound together inside of almost everything around you, including such items as tires, plastic cups and even rocks.

The secret is that all of these items contain a base of hydrocarbon. This giant microwave can break down the old strings of hydrocarbon that the item was originally composed of into component parts. One tire, when broken down to a size that the microwave can handle, can be broken in to four different parts: diesel fuel, carbon black, combustible gas and high-strength steel, said an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The process is fairly straightforward. The item is placed into the microwave in manageable pieces and the microwave is turned on. Once separated, the diesel fuel goes into a glass container and the natural gas goes to a tank. The only thing left in the microwave unit itself is the carbon black. Video of the microwave in action is available online.

This new process is a huge advancement in the world of recycling. Many experts have been unsure as to what to do with these materials once they are no longer usable. Stockpiles of old used tires are often stored in large tire dumps – wasted energy. This new microwave provides a solution. As many of these materials were once thought of as useless, they are now able to be renewed and reused.

The development of the microwave took Pringle 10 years, much of that time spent perfecting the correct microwave frequencies to extract resources from a variety of materials. Because of this, many materials can be extracted, all at different wave frequencies – hundreds of materials. His exhaustive efforts have not gone unnoticed. With this large number of workable materials, his invention can appeal to an extremely large market.

The most obvious market is that of the scrap metal industry. According to NewScientist.com in reference to a particular auto recycling company, “for every ton of steel that the company recovers, between 226 kg and 318 kg of (trash) is produced.” With the new microwave, the auto recyclers are no longer stuck harvesting only scrap metal; they can now make use of almost all parts of the vehicle. This greatly reduces the amount of materials that must be deposited in landfills. Not surprisingly, the first of Pringle’s microwaves was sold to an auto recycler in New York. The price was $5.1 million.

Another possible customer is the US military. The war in Iraq has produced massive amounts of plastics from water bottles and food containers that could easily be converted back to essential fuels needed by the military. An investment such as this would definitely be valuable in reducing unnecessary waste as well as creating more energy sources in a limited environment.

Oil companies may also provide an unexpected market for the Hawk. The microwave creates competition for them, but might also prove to be extremely useful in extracting petroleum trapped in shale. While an investment in the Hawk might be financing their potential opposition, the benefits far outweigh the possible negative effects.

The Hawk is also able to make recycling of other materials much more simple, said NewScientist.com. An excellent example is that of recycling copper wiring. When recycling this wiring, there is no need for its insulation. The insulation, however, can be recycled with the use of the microwave. Not only does this allow the recycling process to be more inclusive, but it makes the copper itself much easier to obtain. The wiring with insulation can be put in the microwave and all that will remain inside of the unit is the copper and the resulting carbon black – metals cannot be extracted.

Inventions as useful as this new microwave are not created often. These kinds of tools could help make the world a cleaner place. They can also help us hold on to what few natural non-renewable resources we have. The ability to reuse will undoubtedly drive us to a more “green” future. Creative minds must continue to create and lead us there.

This article is provided for your personal use by http://www.IdeaBuyer.com. Idea Buyer is the online marketplace for intellectual property and gives inventors the opportunity to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and retailers who are looking for new products to bring to market.

Please do not redistribute or reproduce this article without written permission.

John Gerbich is the Staff Writer for IdeaBuyer.com, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers. Visit the site by clicking here > Patents for Sale.

Disappearing Car Door

December 4th, 2007

Disappearing Car Door New Invention

This is an interesting invention – the disappearing car door. While the cost is not disclosed on the site, I doubt it’s a modification that can be made economically at this point in time. However, if you’re looking for that eye catching trait for a modified import and price isn’t a concern, this would certainly do the trick. You can read more about the invention at http://www.disappearing-car-dood.com/ or watch the video below.

Eric Corl is the Founder and CEO of Idea Buyer, a marketplace for new technology and products that allows inventors to showcase their intellectual property to consumer product companies, entrepreneurs, retailers, and manufacturers at www.IdeaBuyer.com. You can email him at EricCorl@IdeaBuyer.com.