Author: Jack Lander

Advice for a Young Inventor

Keep a notebook; do your homework; keep it simple; research the market If you are a born inventor—if you feel it deep down inside of you—you already know that inventing is easy. But following through with the steps that are essential in order to transform your invention into something that strangers will want, and pay money for, is not so easy. Always search the market as a first step after recording your idea in your inventor’s notebook. Many inventors think they have an original idea because they don’t see their invention being sold in stores. If you don’t want...

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Who Invented the Telephone?

Confusing history shows Bell may be least deserving of distinction, Meucci the most.    We all know the story of how Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Or do we?   Bell was an audiologist. He worked with patients who had hearing deficits. He had only a limited understanding of electricity, which was and is the basis for telephone technology.   Before getting into the technical details of Bell’s invention, consider the spirit of the time in which inventors were experimenting with electricity. Let’s go back to 1844, when Samuel F.B. Morse strung the first telegraph line in the...

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Divide and Conquer

Put ‘Opportunity Scouts’ to work for you, then analyze chances for invention success. It’s easy to discover needs, wants, problems and annoyances that form the basis of our inventions. And it’s often easy for us to come up with inventions that satisfy those four criteria. What’s difficult is objectively evaluating opportunities from satisfying those criteria and finding the one best for making a profit. Let’s face it. The vast majority of inventions go nowhere. Even those that are novel enough to qualify for a patent usually end up as a nice idea, but with no monetary gain. This is...

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Play with This Idea: The Toy Invention Market

You often don’t need a patent, but the toy invention market can be a challenge. It’s hard to believe that more than a quarter century has passed since “Field of Dreams” was in theaters. You may recall the famous line from that movie: “If you build it, he will come.” The “it” is a baseball diamond; the “he” is Shoeless Joe Jackson, a baseball legend from the early 1900s. Ray Kinsella, the farmer to whom the incorporeal voice had spoken, builds the diamond. Shoeless Joe shows up to play, along with the seven other Chicago White Sox players who had...

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Steps to License Your Invention’s Patent or Patent Application

1. Decide the kind of trade show that will have appropriate manufacturers present. 2. Search the internet, and make a list of those shows. 3. Phone or e-mail the show’s management and ask how to qualify to attend, and if there is a charge for non-displayers. Many trade shows discourage walk-ins who are not legitimate buyers. Some will want only a business card. Others will demand proof—such as your business license— that you really are in business, and a potential buyer of the wares that will be shown. 4. Ask the show’s sales office for a list of companies that will have booths at the show. If this upcoming show’s list is not yet available, ask for last year’s show’s list. 5. Research those attending companies that have a product line into which your invention appears to fit. Go to their websites. Call for an annual report, which often indicates the direction in which their product lines are headed. If their products are on display at a retail outlet, check them out. 6. Call the company and ask if it has a “new-product submission policy.” Most big companies will not even read an unsolicited new-product proposal until we sign an agreement to the effect that our only rights are those granted by our patent. That sounds scary at first, but in the end, that’s how it will work out...

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