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THE ONLINE INVENTOR -- June 2001

(c) 2001 Market Launchers, Inc.

http://www.marketlaunchers.com

Publisher: Paul Niemann

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FAMOUS / INFAMOUS QUOTES

"Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world," -- Einstein

"Its not over until we say its over. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" John Belushi in Animal House

"Money can make you rich," quote seen on a T-shirt recently

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In this issue:

Article # 1:    "Finding the Right Company to License Your Patent," by Greg Mills

Article # 2:    "Seven Steps in Determining an Invention's Potential," by Mike Marks of InventionCity.com

Article # 3:    "I Can't Afford a Publicity / Public Relations Campaign, Can I?" by Todd Brabender of Spread The News PR, Inc.

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Article # 1:    "Finding the Right Company to License Your Patent," by Greg Mills

Well, you have filed for a patent on your idea, you have some ideas for marketing the new product but, which company is right to take over? There are some interesting ways to find the "right company" that you may not have thought of. It is a waste of your time and money and a waste of the time and money of companies submitted, to that are not appropriate for your new product idea.

First of all, if you had a patent search done, the patents that were found to be similar to your idea are a gold mine for you. Many times the "assignee" of the prior patents are in the right business.

If your idea is an improvement to a prior patent found in the patentability search, the ownership of that patent is also a valuable clue for you. Contact the assignee of the prior patent and give them a copy of your new patent application, (less the claims) and a prototype and or other marketing information you may have already put together. Perhaps they will want to license your idea as well. You know they are prime candidates since they own similar technology.

The inventors of patents cited as prior art are also great sources of information. Too many times inventors are angry that "some other inventor beat them to it. Get over it! "Great minds think alike! If your idea is unpatentable due to a prior patent, you know you are on the right track but you get no cigar on that particular idea. Only one inventor gets the patent unless there are improvements that are patentable in their own right, in which case, your new patent covers only the improvement.

The patent on file gives the name and city the other inventor lives in, or did live in when the patent was issued. Call information for that city and see if the inventor is still listed. If the patent is old they may have moved or died. If the patent is old they may have other inventions patented since then that you can find on internet patent sites. More recent patents may have more recent cities listed. If that approach is a dead end you may try contacting the assignee and ask them if the inventor is still around. It is amazing what another inventor can tell you! They have been around the block before. Most inventors are willing to help you out it you are nice to them.

It the patent shows no assignee, the invention may not have been licensed. This means there may have been problems with the product that you may not be aware of. Perhaps the prior inventor will be interested in your improvement. You will never know if you don't talk with them.

You can also use the internet to research the marketing situation. Use www.thomasregister.com.You have to sign up but it is free and you can then search for similar products and find out who makes them. Be a smart inventor, do your homework!

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You can read more of Gregs articles at http://www.cafezine.com/editor_template.asp?editorid=9&deptid=23
His e-mail address is: [email protected]

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SERVICE PROVIDER:

SPREAD THE NEWS PR, INC.

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.

Spread The News Public Relations, Inc.
(785) 842-8909

[email protected]
http://www.spreadthenewspr.com

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Article # 2:    "Seven Steps in Determining an Invention's Potential," by Mike Marks of InventionCity.com

1.    Survey the market.
2.    Estimate the retail price.
3.    Estimate the cost of manufacturing.
4.    Determine if everyone involved can make better than normal profits.
5.    Consider present and future alternatives.
6.    Estimate the product's life cycle.
7.    Estimate the value of patent(s).

The entire article can be found at: http://www.inventioncity.com/money.htm

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Mike Marks is President of InventionCity.com and has been active in the field of product development since 1987. In conjunction with WorkTools, Inc. he has brought numerous products to market directly and through licensing agreements with others. WorkTools, Inc. produces prototypes for their inventor clients and brings some of those inventions to market.

Inventors seeking help may also submit their ideas to Invention City for possible financing, licensing and other forms of development assistance. Invention City features an on-line product evaluation form that helps an inventor evaluate a product's potential for success. To go there, visit http://www.InventionCity.com
and click on "Market Research." To submit your consumer product to Invention City, go to their site and click on "How to Submit an Invention."

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SERVICE PROVIDER:

CPO DIRECT:
At CPO Direct our name conveys our mission -- cost per order. We are a direct response media management agency specializing in planning, negotiating, buying and back-end analysis of short and long-form DRTV, radio, newspaper, magazine and Internet advertising. Strategic services include complete direct response campaign development and execution.

Contact Joyce Cusack at (312) 396-8748 or e-mail her at [email protected]
http://www.cpodirect.com

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Article # 3:    "I Can't Afford a Publicity / Public Relations Campaign, Can I?" by Todd Brabender of Spread The News PR, Inc.

It's a phrase I hear over and over again from many entrepreneurs, small businesses owners and inventors: "I'd love to hire someone to launch our publicity campaign professionally, but we can't afford it, so I'm just going to have to do it on my own."

Over the past several months, I have been conducting an informal survey among entrepreneurs and business owners who have contacted me about my services. I have found that due to their lack of information or knowledge on the topic, many businesses typically over-estimate or over-budget the cost of a prospective public relations/publicity campaign. During my PR consultation with them, I asked: "How much do you think it will cost to launch a solid, effective PR/publicity campaign for your product/business?"

Of the 102 people I've queried:

The truth is -- you can get a publicity / PR campaign in all of those prices ranges. What you get for your money and how effective the campaign will be is the real question? It is true that the more you pay the more you get. But getting the most publicity / PR exposure doesn't mean you have to get most expensive PR agency or specialist.

A good rule of thumb is to align yourself with a PR business that best reflects your business size. Most times their rates will be in line with your prospective PR budget. If you are a small Business owner with two employees, you need not hire a high-dollar PR agency with dozens of employees. Find a PR business whose office size and capabilities closely resemble your Business.

Case in point -- there is a large PR agency in a fancy building downtown a few miles from my office. Frankly, we are not even competition to each other -- in fact we have even referred clients to each other. Why? They typically work with large corporations and implement campaigns of around $10,000 per month. My business works with smaller businesses/individuals -- a PR/publicity campaign with my company would be about $10,000 for an entire Year -- not just a month. Mechanically, the downtown firm and my business do the same thing when it comes to PR campaigns: professional media release composition; extensive media market research; articulate personalized distribution to the media; months of media relations (article placements / interview scheduling / media request fulfillment, clipping / tracking of media placements, etc.).

Signing up with the big firm doesn't mean you'll necessarily get an experienced associate working on your campaign. So are you getting what you are paying for? A friend of mine who works at a major PR firm gave me the following breakdown of billing fees in his office:

Compare those prices to many small PR shops or individual PR specialists. Many have started their own PR businesses after years of experience in the industry and typically charge $50 - $100 per hour to professionally launch and maintain your campaign. Many times, you can get a Seasoned PR veteran who will work directly with you and your staff for cheaper than the

"Intern / Junior" executive rate at a downtown firm.

However, one word of advice -- when choosing a smaller firm or individual to do your PR, make sure they have the same tools that the bigger agencies do: updated media lists / contacts; personalized media distribution capabilities; professional clipping/tracking services to get copies of each of your media placements (articles, tapes from TV/radio shows) as well as the intangibles

of expert communication/media relations skills and professional pitching prowess. If they are cheaper, but don't have all the tools to help you in the best manner possible, you are probably better off spending a little extra money to make sure your campaign is launched and maintained correctly.

The major benefits of hiring a professional (individual PR specialist or PR firm) to launch your campaign are:

One caveat when it comes to choosing a professional PR agency or individual to work with -- signing up for a higher priced campaign doesn't necessarily mean you will get better results than a cheaper campaign. And the inverse is true as well. Over the past year or so, many "low-cost PR / publicity services" have begun to pop up all over the Internet. Ones that promise to write and launch a press release for as low as $99. They are low in cost -- because frankly many are low in quality. Bigger is not necessarily better, and cheap does not always mean a good bargain.

If you have the time, tools and talent to launch and maintain your own campaign, you should definitely do so. If not -- there are a number of public relations / publicity firms, specialists and services out there. Research to find the one whose services and fees match your business plan. Once business owners, entrepreneurs, and inventors learn more about their options when it

comes to launching a PR campaign -- many find that they can't afford NOT to have one.

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Todd Brabender is the President of Spread The News Public Relations, Inc.
His business specializes in generating media exposure and publicity for
innovative products, businesses, websites and inventions. 
(785) 842-8909
[email protected]

http://www.spreadthenewspr.com 

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SERVICE PROVIDER:

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.

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

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Click here to read the May 2001 issue.