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THE ONLINE INVENTOR -- December Issue

(c) 2003 Market Launchers, Inc.

http://www.marketlaunchers.com/customer-testimonials.html

Editor: Paul Niemann

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FAMOUS / INFAMOUS Quotes ...

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers,"  IBM chairman Thomas Watson in 1943

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible,"  Lord Kelvin, president of Englandís Royal Society, in 1895

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Article # 1: "A Patent is no Magic Bullet," by Dennis Dohogne and Paul Niemann of MarketLaunchers.com (reprinted from our most recent article in Inventorsí Digest; reprinted with permission)

Article # 2: "Are You a CRACKPOT Inventor?" by patent attorney Robert Platt Bell

Article # 3: "There are 3 Benefits that Your Industry Offers You," by Paul Niemann of MarketLaunchers.com

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1. "A Patent is no Magic Bullet," by Dennis Dohogne and Paul Niemann of MarketLaunchers.com (reprinted from our most recent article in Inventorsí Digest; reprinted with permission)

Sometimes an inventor believes that his work is done after he receives a patent. He thinks he can sit back and wait for someone to beat a proverbial path to his doorstep for the rights to it. In most cases, nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, only a small percentage of patented products actually produces a profit.

Why is the percentage of profitable inventions so low? There are 2 main reasons.

First, there is simply not a market for most patented inventions. This means that your invention Ė the one youíve been pouring your life into for the last several years Ė might not sell if and when you get a patent on it. The world doesnít want a product thatís 15 years ahead of its time; the world wants a product thatís 15 minutes ahead of its time.

Second, inventing a product is a totally different skill than marketing a product. Most inventors would rather invent new products than try to sell them. They either donít know how to go about marketing a new product, or they just donít want to do the marketing part. Yet itís the marketing part thatís accomplishes what you set out for in the beginning Ė invent a product that people will want to buy.

If your invention is patentable, you must answer a few questions to help determine if you should apply for a patent.

WHO WILL USE IT OR BUY IT?

This means knowing what demographic variables describe your intended customers, i.e. age group, gender, income level, and so on. Be specific. For example would your product be for middle-aged men or stay-at-home moms? Your product is not "for everybody."

HOW MUCH WILL CUSTOMERS PAY FOR IT?

This is important for several reasons: If you price your product too high, youíll lose some potential sales. If you price it too low, youíll miss out on some of the profit that you deserve. Also, price is often an indicator of quality. A price thatís set too low often gives the impression of inferior quality. A higher, but reasonable price indicates that the product is of high quality.

WHAT WILL IT COST TO PRODUCE?

A common rule of thumb is that the production cost should be no more than 20 -- 25 percent of the final purchase price. This is because there will be additional mark-ups between you and the final consumer. There will be markups to the wholesaler, the salesperson and the retailer. Most middlemen mark it up by 75% -- 100 percent. There are also advertising and promotional costs along the way, even if youíre selling your product directly to the end user.

What other products exist that serve the same market? How are they different and how are they similar?

Knowing the level of competition that your invention will face gives you an idea as to how your product will be received by potential licensees if you choose to go the licensing route. On the other hand, if youíre planning to manufacture it yourself, the level of competition will have an impact on the response from your potential distributors and end users.

If there are no products similar to yours, it usually means one of two things: Either there is no demand for your type of product, or (ideally) there is a demand not currently being filled.

These are important questions that you need to answer before you decide whether or not to apply for a patent. If you canít answer these questions satisfactorily and in an unbiased manner, then the issue of patentability becomes a moot point. Whether you are an independent inventor or are employed to develop new products, thereís not much point in applying for a patent unless your invention can generate revenue for you or your company. Thomas Edison once said, "Anything that wonít sell, I donít want to invent." After all, if it wonít generate revenue, then what is there to protect?

A productís patentability does not guarantee its marketability. Learn as much as you can about how to market your product and get the help you might need. As much as we want you to be successful, we want even more to buy the products we canít bear to be without Ė yours!

 

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Dennis Dohogne is a Registered Professional Engineer and a Senior Project Engineer with Sioux Tools, Inc., Murphy, NC. He has six U.S. patents with several more pending. He can be reached at: [email protected]

Paul Niemann is president of MarketLaunchers.com and has just published his new book, INVENTION MYSTERIES TM, which tells the interesting little-known stories behind 47 well-known inventions. To order a copy, please visit www.InventionMysteries.com

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Article # 2: "Are You a CRACKPOT Inventor?" by patent attorney Robert Platt Bell

EDITORíS NOTE: Iím including the following as a humorous story, and itís NOT intended to offend anyone. Hope you enjoy it -- PN

A simple test to save us all a lot of time.

I get a lot of phone calls from inventors who want further information about the Patent Business. Unfortunately, most of them do not take the time to read the materials on my website first (as I request they do) before calling. As a result, I end up wasting a lot of valuable time answering the same questions over and over again. This wasted time makes it hard to keep my fees low and my prices reasonable.

In addition, I inevitably get phone calls and letters from individuals who are crackpots. Iím not pulling any punches here. The invention business unfortunately attracts a lot of "unique" individuals. While these people are interesting characters, I cannot take them on as clients.

Are you a crackpot inventor? If you are not sure, take this simple test. Answer the following questions and total up your score. At the end is a scale of cracked pottery.

Note that EACH of the answers give below is based upon an actual conversation or letter I have received from a potential "client". Welcome to my worldÖ..

QUESTION #1:

Are you living in your Motherís Basement?

0 = NO, I have my own apartment or house

5= YES (Please note: Garages count, too!).

5 = NO, I am presently incarcerated

5 = NO, I am in a mental institution

5 = NO, homeless.

QUESTION #2 :

The Government is suppressing information about Aliens in "Area 57"

0 = Be Serious

1 = You never know, the universe is infinite after all.

2 = Its probably likely, given all the sightings.

3 = Well, the government has covered up so much elseÖ

4 = Yes, Iíve seen them

5 = Iíve been probed.


QUESTION #3 :

The "100 MPG Carburetor" ÖÖ

0 = doesnít exist. Get real.

1 = was bought up by the oil companies.

2 = was suppressed by the Government.

3 = was bought up by the oil companies and suppressed by the Government.

4 = was invented by Aliens in Area 57.

5 = Iíve been probed.

QUESTION #4 :

Once you get a PatentÖ.

0 = you have a Patent.

1 = you can sell it to industry and make millions

2 = people will beat a path to your door

3 = an invention broker will "market it to industry" for only $10,000

and make you millions

4 = you will become a Captain of Industry

5 = youíll be richer than Bill Gates.

QUESTION #5 :

The CIA has planted computer chips in your head to monitor your thoughts

0 = NO

5 = YES

5 = NO, they planted them in my head to steal my inventions

5 = NO, it was another government agency, not the CIA.

QUESTION #6 :

To protect your invention rights, you have taken the following steps:

0 = You documented your invention and signed and dated the disclosure and had it

witnessed by a 3rd party with the notation "reviewed and understood by me".

1 = You filed a "Document Disclosure" with the U.S. Patent Office.

2 = You mail a copy of your invention disclosure to yourself.

3 = You refuse to tell your friends about your invention.

4 = You refuse to tell your Attorney about your invention.

5 = You refuse to tell the Patent Office about your invention.

QUESTION #7 :

Perpetual MotionÖ.

0 = violates the first and third laws of thermodynamics

1 = could exist, you never know.

2 = was suppressed by the oil companies

3 = was suppressed by the Government

4 = was invented by the Aliens in Area 57

5 = is the subject of my top-secret invention! (How did YOU know?).

QUESTION #8 :

Nikolai TeslaÖ.

0 = was a famous Electrical Engineer with some pretty far out ideas.

1 = Nikolai WHO?

2 = was suppressed by the government.

3 = invented perpetual motion.

4 = was suppressed by the oil companies.

5 = was my real name in a "past life".

QUESTION #9 :

Give yourself 5 points if you can answer "YES" to any of the following:

I see angels.

I see dead people.

I am a reincarnation of (fill in the blank).

I sense Auras.

I belong to a religious cult, but you know, itís not REALLY a cultÖ

I have been abducted and/or probed by aliens.

QUESTION #10 :

How Gullible Are You?

0 = I take everything with a gain of salt, even skeptics.

1 = I always use my intuition and "gut" feeling to keep me out of trouble.

2 = I always check with the Better Business Bureau.

3 = If its advertised on television or sold by a big company, it must be legit, right?

4 = MLM is a good way to make money.

5 = Pyramid Schemes will work, if you just give them enough time.

YOUR CRACKPOT SCORE:

0-10 (SOMEWHAT NORMAL) -- You are a largely rational person with reasonable expectations.

10-20 (SCREWBALL) -- You have some annoying habits and are a bit naÔve.

20-30 (LOOSE CANNON) -- You will seriously annoy your Patent Attorney and the Patent Office.

40-50 (CRACKPOT) -- Donít bother to call me Ė Iím part of the conspiracy too!

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Robert Bell is a Patent Attorney in private practice in Alexandria, Virginia. More information about the author can be found on his web site at www.robertplattbell.com

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Article # 3. "There are 3 Benefits that Your Industry Offers You," by Paul Niemann of MarketLaunchers.com

I receive a lot of calls and e-mails from inventors wanting to know where to get started in bringing their invention to market. This article reveals a little-known secret that will help you -- regardless of what type of invention youíre working on.

This is because there are 3 things that every industry has:

1. A trade association -- a goldmine of information and contacts

2. A trade publication (also known as a trade magazine)

3. An annual trade show or convention.

Hereís a brief description of each to provide you with the details:

1. A trade association:

There are 2 ways to join a trade association: As a regular member, or as an associate member. In many cases, being an associate member is adequate (and less expensive). Some trade associations will even let you attend their annual convention as a guest for a smaller fee.

2. A trade publication:

Trade publications contain many informative articles about your industry, and these articles are intended for the benefit of the members. For example, Inventorsí Digest is the trade pub for inventors. Youíll learn who some of the key companies are in your industry by reading your industryís trade pub Ö youíll probably get some idea of which companies might be good possible licensees for your invention.

3. An annual trade show or convention:

The trade show or convention is a great opportunity to meet a lot of prospective licensees all at once. There may be no better chance to meet 50 or more prospects at the same time.

So how do you find a trade association in your industry?

You either do a Google search for trade association + your industry, or you go to the reference section of your local public library and look it up in the "Encyclopedia of Associations," located in the reference section.

Remember, every industry has a trade association. It makes sense to get learn more about yours.

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Copyright 2004
All Rights Reserved

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