(c) 2002 Market Launchers, Inc.


Publisher: Paul Niemann



We’ve got another 3 great articles for you in this issue. We’re including an article from our newspaper column, INVENTION MYSTERIES, as well as the re-print of the latest article that I wrote for Inventors’ Digest.

If you’d like for your local newspaper to carry the INVENTION MYSTERIES column each week, then contact your newspaper’s editor and request that they carry it. He / she can get all the details at www.InventionMysteries.com

Enjoy this issue!

Best Regards,

Paul Niemann

P.S. Our site is visited by companies – companies who are looking for new products to license in. If you don’t have your invention listed on our web site yet, then now’s a good time to get it listed. It’s easier – and cheaper – than you think. Give me a call at (800) 337-5758 and I’ll give you the details.



"Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first," – Ronald Reagan, as seen at famousquotes.com


Article 1: "Here’s why you’ve never heard of the OTHER person who invented the telephone," re-printed from the INVENTION MYSTERIES newspaper column by Paul Niemann

Article # 2: "Trade Shows," by Jim White, author of "Will It Sell?"

Article # 3: "Infomercials," by Paul Niemann of www.MarketLaunchers.com for the November / December issue of Inventors’ Digest


Article 1: "Here’s why you’ve never heard of the OTHER person who invented the telephone," re-printed from the INVENTION MYSTERIES newspaper column by Paul Niemann

We all know that Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the telephone, but did you know that there was another person who tried to patent a different version of the telephone on the very same day as Bell in 1876?

Born in Ohio in 1835, he was a physics professor at nearby Oberlein College, and was a renowned inventor due to the musical telegraph that he invented. Little is known about him because, in what has to be one of the worst cases of being "a day late and a dollar short," he arrived at the patent office two hours after Bell arrived to apply for a patent for his version of the telephone.

His name is Elisha Gray and, as a result of arriving two hours after Bell arrived, most of the world has never heard of him.

What happened?

U.S. patent law states that the first one to invent a new product is the rightful owner of the product, regardless of who applies for a patent first. Adequate records are necessary whenever there is a dispute. Since Bell applied for his patent first, he was initially awarded the patent.

Gray did prevent the issuance of Bell’s patent temporarily, however, pending a legal hearing. Since he did not keep adequate records of his design, however, he lost any possible rights as Bell's right to the patent was later sustained by the U.S. Supreme Court and the rest, as they say, is history.

The basis of Gray’s legal action against Bell was that Bell had filed for his patent before he had a working model of his telephone, according to Inventors’ Digest magazine. But the Supreme Court ruled that a person can prove that his invention is complete and ready for patenting even before a working model has been produced, a ruling that later served as a precedent on a similar type of lawsuit years later.

Gray was not the only other person to stake a claim to inventing the telephone. Daniel Drawbaugh, who was born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, claimed to have invented the telephone long before Bell filed a patent application in 1875. Drawbaugh didn't have any papers or records to prove his claim, though, and the Supreme Court rejected his claims by four votes to three. Alexander Graham Bell, on the other hand, had kept excellent records.

Elisha Gray did go on to invent other products, such as the facsimile telegraph system that he patented in 1888. Bell, who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1847, became a U.S. citizen in 1882. He went on to become one of the co-founders of the National Geographic Society, and he served as its president from 1896 to 1904.

Elisha Gray, however, has been forgotten by much of the world.

Was Bell's telephone greeted with enthusiasm by everyone at the time?

As is the case with many new inventions, there were those who rejected the telephone for one reason or another. Even President Rutherford B. Hayes was skeptical of the new device when Bell demonstrated it to him at the White House in 1876.

There was also a well-known "investor" who had an opportunity to invest in the telephone directly with Bell, but he rejected the opportunity. According to his writings, he was a big fan of new inventions, but since he had previously invested in several that had failed, he turned down a chance to invest in the telephone. Who was he?

Mark Twain, who patented two of his own inventions.

NEXT MONTH: Which U.S. Presidents were the most successful inventors?

© 2002 Paul Niemann

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Does your newspaper carry the INVENTION MYSTERIES column each week? If not, then contact your newspaper’s editor and request that they carry it. He / she can get all the details at www.InventionMysteries.com


Article # 2: "Trade Shows," by Jim White, author of "Will It Sell?"

Trade Shows:

For many non-retail products, a display booth at the kind of conference or trade show your buyers attend is the standard way of introducing something. Sometimes here you get caught in the "You have to be a member to join" trap. In other words, you want to have a booth at an industry conference where the industry is defined as all being members of the sponsoring organization -- and letting new members in will only interfere with current members' profits (or so the philosophy seems).

Usually you can find an insider friend to help by asking around in the industry. Usually a large percentage of the sponsoring organization members are as ticked off by the exclusion policy as you are (they want to meet people who want to BUY, they don't care who they pay "dues" to). Befriend one and get their help. The problem is you can rarely do this on short notice. If you have to start a year in advance anyhow, you may be able to join for $250 or $500 and have fewer hassles. If you find an insider friend, broach the subject of sharing a booth with them if you want to-they might just be willing to share for a fraction of the booth space fee. Three good places to look for trade shows are Trade Show Central at www.tscentral.com, The Expoguide at www.expoguide.com, and The Job Shop Network at www.jobshop.com.

An alternative is to locate and buy (or copy if it is legal) an appropriate mailing list for the industry. You will need a quality direct mail piece including a brochure and cover letter complete with stationery and envelopes. Send your direct mail piece to several hundred prospects. Follow it up with a phone call in one week and get some feedback on your product, your offer, the prospect's current needs, etc. If you are presuming your product will be a long-term product be careful not to bias your results with substantial special offers and incentives or you won't get a realistic reading of the market.

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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.


Article # 3:    "Infomercials," by Paul Niemann of www.MarketLaunchers.com for the November / December issue of Inventors’ Digest

Pitching Products to consumers over the airwaves has been an evolving art. In the early days of radio, jingles were sung to catchy tunes in the hope that listeners would remember the products' names the next time they were at the store. When TV entered America's living rooms, shows were interrupted by lovely women exclaiming the virtues of the newest home appliance or by cartoon characters extolling the highlights of the latest wonder product.

In recent years, consumers have been introduced to a new variety of advertising methods -- from pop up ads on the Internet to 24 hour TV shopping channels -- all of which are designed with one goal in mind: sell more product.

One powerful sales tool is Direct Response TV (DRTV), which refers to TV commercials and infomercials. "Short-form" commercials are typically one of three lengths: 30 seconds, 60 seconds or two minutes, while "long-form" commercials (infomercials) are 28.5 minutes long. Both versions can successfully get a product's message out to millions of prospective customers.

The infomercial is a unique advertising form. It provides INFOrmation about a product as a comMERCIAL. Today, 90 percent of all TV stations and 100 percent of commercial cable channels accept infomercials. According to a spokesperson at the Electronic Retailing Association, in 2000 an average of 20,000 showings of infomercials aired on TV each month. Infomercials fill the airwaves with ads for such products as real estate tapes that show you how to buy property with no money down, fitness equipment and beauty products.

Infomercials have proven to be tremendously successful. According to Infoworx.com, "63 percent of TV shoppers buy from 30 minute infomercials." Direct Response TV marketing can create quick sales by having products demonstrated on TV, which allows the product's message to be driven home with persuasive, dramatic impact.

"But wait -- there's more!' For every customer who buys a product from a TV infomercial, there are seven to ten additional viewers who will later buy the product at retail because they had seen it previously on TV. These retail sales include purchases made at wholesale clubs, catalogs sales, Internet sites, direct response print ads and foreign distribution, and the products almost always carry the red "As Seen On TV" logo.

The 28.5 minute infomercials -- with their "ads-within-an-ad" format -- can be very successful. They are carefully scripted, right down to the smallest detail, and their customer testimonials always sound so convincing.

And if you call within the next 20 minutes, you'll also receive ..."

The main ability to "plus sell" the consumer and grab an additional sale (in addition to the freebie add-on) is another big benefit to DRTV. Successful products rack up impressive sales figures that range from $400,000 per month to $4 million or more per month.

"And it’s not available in stores!"

No, it's not, but retailers are more likely to carry your product in stores if it’s supported by TV advertising.


The #1 goal of an infomercial is to turn passive viewers into active buyers. The approach used by successful DRIV companies involves four steps:

1.    Capture the viewer's attention with and keep it.

2.    Keep them watching while you present the benefits with emotion.

3.    Present the product and prove why it would make a good purchase.

4.    Close the sale by getting the customer to take action.

It's worth repeating that the main goal of an infomercial is to turn passive viewers into active buyers.


An infomercial should:


There are several reasons …

A half-hour infomercial is a very measurable format and you can directly target the audience you are seeking. The flexibility of infomercials enables you to easily test a variety of offers and prices for maximum response. You can also update price points for region-specific campaigns. A successful infomercial will generate $2 to $3 in sales for every $1 spent on media, according to Response Magazine.

Whether it’s long form or short form, DRTV is not something that most inventors can do on their own. There are many DRTV companies that license DRTV products. Check out the companies thoroughly. Some of them are unethical knockoff artists completely unafraid of patent infringement suits. Pitching products to consumers over the airwaves can be done in many ways – none of which are inexpensive. But if you’ve got a hot product, a good DRTV campaign can increase sales dramatically.


To be considered for an infomercial, a product must sell for more than $19.95.

According to DRTV company Infoworx (www.Infoworx.com), the Top Ten product categories for 28.5 minute infomercials are:

1.    Health & Fitness
2.    Housewares & Appliances
3.    Diet, Weight, Nutrition
4.    Cosmetics & Personal Care
5.    Sports & Outdoor Activities
6.    Financial & Business Opportunities
7.    Home & Garden
8.    Music & Video
9.    Personal Development, Self-Help & Education
10.  Fund Raising

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Paul Niemann is president of MarketLaunchers.com, specializing in building web pages for inventors, where they can be seen on his web site's Invention Database (www.MarketLaunchers.com). Their Invention Database is seen by companies looking for new products to license in. He also build web sites for inventors and small businesses. To get your own web page or a complete web site, visit www.MarketLaunchers.com or call Paul Niemann at (800) 337-5758.


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Until next month, Successful Inventing To You!

Best Regards,

Paul Niemann 
(800) 337-5758 (within the U.S. and Canada)
(217) 224-7735 (outside the U.S.)

Copyright 1998 -- 2002
All Rights Reserved


Click here to read the August 2002 issue.