THE ONLINE INVENTOR -- December 2001

(c) 2001 Market Launchers, Inc.


Publisher: Paul Niemann



"It is impossible to reason with irrationality," by Bob McElwain, author of "Your Path To Success."

"There ain't never been a horse that can't be rode, and there ain't never been a cowboy that can't be throwed," Author unknown


In this issue:

Article # 1:    "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words," by Paul Niemann of MarketLaunchers.com, reprinted with permission from Inventors' Digest

Article # 2:    "Copyright Information," by Jim White of "Will It Sell?"

Article # 3:    "One Way to Get Experts to Help You in the Marketing of Your Product -- for Free," by Paul Niemann of MarketLaunchers.com


(Editor's Note: This article stresses the importance of having a good illustration or photo of your invention when you present it to companies. I wrote this article for Inventors' Digest recently, and it appeared in the January/February issue.)

Article # 1: "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words," by Paul Niemann of MarketLaunchers.com, reprinted with permission from Inventors’ Digest

"A picture is worth a thousand words" -- we've all heard this expression before, but how can we use it to our advantage as inventors?

To find out, try this simple experiment: Tell the name of your invention (assuming that you have the proper patent protection for it) to one of your friends, co-workers or fellow inventors and then ask him if they understand what your invention is about. He will probably not be able to figure it out just from the title alone.

Next, explain what your invention is in 10 words or less, and then ask him if they understand what your invention is about. He will probably still not know what it is.

Now show him a picture of your invention, and then ask him if he understands what your invention does. Watch his expression, because he will likely understand exactly what your invention is.

To illustrate this further, try to picture what the following product is, according to its patent title: "Portable shower apparatus." No clue? The patent description begins by describing it as: "A portable water shower apparatus comprises a pressure vessel capable of withstanding an internal pressure of at least about 50 p.s.i." Still no clue? This doesn't exactly tell what it does, so in order to make it more descriptive to companies, the inventor included some pictures of the "Portable shower apparatus" and -- for marketing purposes -- renamed it the "Portable Thermal Shower."

He included the pictures on his web page and, when you turn the page, you'll see what a "Portable Thermal Shower" is -- it's the one in the upper left-hand corner of the page. By now, you should be able to see the benefit of having a picture to go along with your description.

One of our customers has a web page for his "Tool Securement Device." This is what the patent description calls it, before he renamed it and put it on our web site for companies to see. To find out what this invention is, turn the page and take a look at the middle picture.

Even if your product has a descriptive name, such as a "Boat Docking Device," you will still benefit by including a picture with your presentation. There's nothing that sounds too technical about a "Boat Docking Device," right? But how does this particular boat docking device actually work? And what's so great about it? After all, there are probably many types of boat docking devices out there and, as a result, the title could mean different things to different people. Take a look at the third picture on the next page, and you'll see how this boat docking device works -- by using the oar hole to secure the boat to the dock.

If your patented invention is unique (by definition, all patented inventions are unique in some way), then you should have a picture or illustration ready to show the company who you're trying to sell or license it to.

When talking to companies, one thing that makes the process of trying to explain your invention without a picture frustrating is the fact that patent descriptions are written in very technical language -- or should we say, attorney language. Some marketing executives may have a hard time understanding a technical description, because many of them are not as technically-oriented as the engineers and other product designers are. This applies more to companies that make consumer products rather than high-tech products.

If you ask a marketing executive to take a look at your product by merely giving him a word description of the product or the patent number to look up, then he will be reading words that probably make no sense to him, such as: heretofore, apparatus, plurality, et al, apertures, pre-specifiable, therein, exemplary embodiment, therethrough, etc. etc.

Most people NEVER use these types of words in day-to-day conversations. If you feel the urge to describe your product in such language that is impossible-for-the-average-person-to-understand, then be sure to include a picture or two if you want your invention to be given the consideration that you feel it deserves. I guarantee you that he will remember the picture much better than the words.

Even if your product can be explained in everyday terms, you should include a picture of it, because some people are more visual than conceptual. What I mean by this is that some people can grasp a concept quite easily just by seeing a written description or hearing the words that describe it (the conceptual person) while others must see a picture in order to fully understand it (the visual person). Since you will likely have to deal with both types of people, be sure to include a picture or two.

Earlier this month, a customer sent in a description for a "Gas or fluid de-organizer for moving objects." These are the exact words in the title of his patent, but I had no idea what this was (and I'm a fairly technical guy), so I read his description to learn that his product attaches to the front of a car to reduce the air current when driving. So -- for marketing purposes -- I renamed it as, "Aerodynamic fins that reduce the air flow on cars, trucks, boats and airplanes," and then included pictures of his product on his web page. Again, it was the pictures that really explained the idea. Take a look at the bottom picture on the next page and you'll see.

To recap the main message of this article: When talking to companies, make it easy for them to understand what your product is by showing them a picture or illustration of your product, and you'll increase your chances of success. Always remember that "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words."

P.S. Since this article appeared in the magazine, there are no pages to turn in this e-mail newsletter, but you can see the pictures of these 3 products by visiting the inventors' web pages at www.marketlaunchers.com/krastel,
www.marketlaunchers.com/kenney.html  and

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To put pictures of your invention on the Internet for companies to see, please go to www.MarketLaunchers.com or call Paul Niemann at (800) 337-5758. MarketLaunchers.com specializes in building web pages for inventors, and companies search their Invention Database for new products to license in.


A D V E R T I S E M E N T:


When it comes to marketing your business or products, one of the biggest challenges you'll face is getting the word out to prospective customers:

"I have a great product, but no one knows about it! How can I get the word out without spending thousands of dollars on advertising."

Spread The News specializes in generating publicity and media exposure for innovative businesses, products, inventions & web sites. They can create consumer/industry awareness about innovative new products or promote established businesses that may be under-publicized. Spread The News' publicity campaigns help create coverage in a wide variety of media outlets including: daily & weekly newspapers; general circulation & trade specific magazines; TV/radio/cable shows & newscasts; online e-zines & news sites.

Spread The News' technologically advanced PR office has benefited clients from New York to California and Canada to Mexico. FREE Publicity Consultations are offered to help entrepreneurs see how they can use the ever-expanding media markets to further their business efforts.

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Article # 2: "Copyright Information," by Jim White of "Will It Sell?"

Copyright your commercials, advertising, package printing, instruction sheets, manuals, etc. Technically each of the "works" mentioned in the previous sentence is copyrighted the instant it is "fixed in a tangible form" and you own the copyright -- even if you don't provide notice.

If you retain an individual or ad agency to create materials be certain your contract or agreement (in writing) spells out that the materials created for you are "works for hire" and that you retain the copyright.

To publicly declare your copyright (i.e., "give notice") all you need to do is place the word "Copyright" or the "©" symbol (or both) -- "(C)" is NOT valid-followed by the year of first publication and a generally recognizable form of your name or DBA or corporate name. It also won't hurt, but it is not required, that you include "All rights reserved." (See the back of the title page of this book for an example of copyright notice.) The "All Rights Reserved" used to be important (but probably isn't any more) for full foreign coverage and where alternate media might be used such as a movie from a novel.

Revised versions of your works should have the correct new year of publication in their copyright notice, not (just) the year of the unrevised original version.

To "perfect" your copyright on a specific item you must register your copyright with the Library of Congress Copyright Office (www.loc.gov or specifically www.loc.gov/copyright). Each copyright registration with the Library of Congress requires completion of a form, a check for $30 (or so depending on type), and usually one or 2 copies of the material being copyrighted. It may take you a while to dig out the information you need but it is all there at the Internet site.

A U.S. Copyright is recognized by over 190 countries including most that are likely to provide viable economic markets for you so you only have to register your copyright and pay the fee once for each item. For an individual the copyright is good from the moment the work is in "tangible form" through 70 years after the death of the individual. For a "work made for hire" or with no identified human author either in the work or its registration, usually for a company, the copyright is good for the lesser of 95 years from first publication or 120 years from creation.

Failure to provide a copyright notice with publication, especially if it can be shown that the failure was not accidental or that, even if it was accidental, no attempt was made to correct it, can completely invalidate your copyright so be very careful. If your copyright is not filed with the Library of Congress the United States will refuse to become involved in any disputes arising out of your copyright claim. If your copyright is filed with the Library of Congress the United States will lend its support to your case (but it won't make it for you) and you may be eligible for treble damages should you prevail. Customs intervention may also be possible. In my opinion, the $30 (or so) fee is well worth it.

Relative to your product, the most valuable place for copyrighting is probably on instructions that are provided with the product. It is far more likely for a knockoff artist to copy those (or to try to get away with a "derivative" version of them) than to copy your packaging unless they are fraudulently attempting to sell their product as yours.

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This information is from Jim's book, "Will It Sell?" To purchase "Will It Sell?" for 19.95 plus $5 S/H, please go to www.willitsell.com.


A D V E R T I S E M E N T:

GARY KELLMANN is looking for new products created by individual inventors in the hair-care and beauty industries:

* Health and beauty

* Costume jewelry and fine jewelry

* All types of cosmetics from nail polish to lipstick concepts.

Concepts should have utility patents pending, applied for, or issued. To submit your product for consideration, please fill out the form at http://www.marketlaunchers.com/garykellmann.html.


Article # 3: "One Way to Get Experts to Help You in the Marketing of Your Product -- for Free," by Paul Niemann

During one of my marketing classes in college during the mid-1980's, we worked on a group project in which we had to figure out how to successfully market a make-believe business.

During one of my marketing classes in MBA school in the late 1980's, we worked on a group project in which we had to figure out how to successfully market a start-up business.

Now that I teach marketing at Quincy University, I had my students work on group projects last Fall in which they had to figure out how to successfully market a business or product.

What's the common denominator here? Students, whether undergraduate or grad students, do the marketing of the business or product in each case.

So you say you have a product that you're trying to bring to the market? This can be one of those neat little WIN-WIN-WIN situations. The students win because they're getting real-world experience, as well as something they can put on their resume or in their portfolios. The clients win, too, because they get some expert advice on how to market their company (or product).

But is the work of a high quality? Even though students do the work, it is overseen by the instructor, so the quality is usually there. What is the cost involved, if any? Usually, there is no cost to the client, other than the cost of photocopies, long distance calls, etc.

The instructor wins, too, because in many cases, he is looking for real-world projects for his students to work on.

So the next time you are in need of some marketing guidance and are on a tight budget, consider calling the marketing department of your local college or university. Grad students are best, but undergrads often do a good job as well. This past semester, I had a group of students put together an advertising campaign for a client who was entering a market with a relatively new line of products, and the client was thrilled with the quality of the work the students produced. As their instructor, I was pleased at the high level of quality, too.

So consider contacting one of the marketing instructors at your local college or university. They just might be interested in helping you market your product as part of a group project. Whether you decide to use their recommendations or not, you still benefit by gaining some creative ideas, and possibly a whole new (and impartial) perspective on your business or product.

P.S. If you have a marketing-related project that you would like some students to work on, send me an e-mail or call me ASAP and we'll discuss.

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Paul Niemann runs MarketLaunchers.com, which specializes in building web pages for inventors, and companies search the Invention Database at MarketLaunchers.com for new products to license in. Niemann is also an adjunct marketing instructor at Quincy University in Quincy, IL. Call (800) 337-5758 if you’d like to order your own web page, too.


Copyright 1999 -- 2001 
Market Launchers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved


Click here to read the November 2001 issue.