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Archive for the ‘Invention Articles’ Category

In light of our upcoming DRTV Product Summit (September 28, 2011), we thought a few words here on what makes a great product “pitch” would be beneficial to our readers.

In preparation for the Summit, we put together some guidelines specific to the Direct Response (infomercial) industry, but in reality many of these tips can apply across all categories.  Bottom line is…if you are meeting with a company in order to pitch your invention, whether it be a household gadget or a medical whatzit, proper preparation will increase your chances of success. 

First tip:  EDUCATE YOURSELF.  This means know the category/market into which your invention falls.  Clearly understand the “problem solved” and consider objectively just how big that problem is.  Research other products that solve the same problem and know their shortcomings. 

Second tip:  KNOW YOUR PRODUCT.  Know the patent status of your invention (and for that matter, of any competitive products/prior art, too).  Clearly define the benefits and features of your product and compare/contrast with your competition.  If you have sales history, be prepared to share.  If you have (or can obtain) manufacturing costs, be prepared to share.

Third tip:  PITCH LIKE A PRO.  Be enthusiastic, but remain factual…to say that “my invention is the only one of its kind”, or “this is a million dollar idea” don’t really help your credibility.  Tell your story…define the problem…but keep it brief (not boring!).  If your invention is conducive to an on-site demo, practice it at home and have all the props organized for a smooth presentation.  If you can’t demo on-site (maybe your invention requires a hot oven as a prop), can you provide a video? 

Should you find yourself face-to-face with a company evaluating your invention, we hope these tips come in handy and wish you much success.

2011 DRTV Product Summit – Private pitch sessions with 6 leading infomercial companies in one location  CLICK TO SUBMIT

Click here to download the DRTV Product Summit Tip-Sheet.

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As an inventor, I’m sure you have watched Shark Tank on T.V and thought, “I really wish I had the opportunity to get my invention in front of decision makers at big innovation companies.” I bet you have thought about your product being sold on the shelves of department stores, seeing young and old use your product with smiles on their faces, and of course making some money in the process. 

As your mind starts to daydream about all the possibilities you can have if you just had ONE shot at pitching your product in front of the right people, Mr. Reality steps in and rears his ugly head! You start thinking about how many steps you need to take to get on a television show…or how much money you need to spend going to multiple trade shows all over the place, and knowing you have a slim chance of anyone important even seeing your product. You then realize another scary thought; what if your dream does come true…a company has interest in your product….now what? 

Well, I’m about to tell you some AWESOME news. Just think of me as your “Invention Jiminy Cricket.” The chance you have been waiting for is here! InventionHome is pleased to announce their first DRTV Product Summit, September 28, 2011 at Robert Morris University, located in Pittsburgh, PA. Twenty-four inventors will have 10 minutes to pitch their product to SIX of the top DRTV industry leaders!

So you are wondering, what’s so great about that? Oh, ye have little faith my friends – let me tell you the top benefits. Let’s start with everyone’s favorite word – FREE!!! That’s right, you heard me, it’s FREE to submit your idea here. Our team of professionals at InventionHome, responsible for licensing over 100 products, will review submissions and select 24 products that best fit the DRTV Category. If you are in the top 24, you get 10 minutes ONE on ONE, undisturbed time with each company. These are big companies people…ever hear of a little product called “Snuggie” or “Topsy Turvey”? InventionHome is bringing you the cream of the crop! Oh, and again our favorite word – FREE! There is no cost to you to attend the DRTV Product Summit, only your travel costs.

Another big-time benefit is that if a company has interest (which is the goal, right?), InventionHome will be with you every step of the way as your agent. That means we help negotiate contracts, follow up with the company and answer any questions you have along the way. InventionHome receives a commission only if the license or distribution agreements are signed by all parties involved.

So what are you waiting for? This is your chance! Go here for all the details: http://signup.inventionhome.com/product-summit/drtv/. Be sure to stay in touch by being our Facebook friend and following us on Twitter.  Oh and don’t forget what Jiminy said, “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

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Marketing Director Colleen Kelly oversees signing of License Agreement at the National Hardware Show.

The snow has melted, the flowers are in bloom, and the spring trade show season has come to a close.  Our sponsorship of the inventors’ areas at three big shows (Housewares, Response Expo, and Hardware) culminated with the signing of a licensing agreement on the floor of the National Hardware Show (NHS).  Executives from Crown Bolt met with inventor Richard Bushey at the InventionHome booth to execute an agreement for the Flip-Down Doorstop.  What a great way to symbolize the exceptional value of the “show within a show”, the area on the floor where inventors meet face-to-face with companies looking for new products.

Traffic at the NHS’s “Inventors Spotlight” was brisk, making the aisles difficult to maneuver at times as over ninety inventors demonstrated their products to an inquisitive audience.   The InventionHome booth located at the front of the area was busy as well, showcasing a dozen or so clients’ products as the InventionHome staff met with existing member companies and new companies interested in finding innovative products.

Elsewhere on the show floor, several products previously licensed through InventionHome were on display in the Licensees’ booths.  These included the Bi-light, Captails, Wurkpads and the Saw Through Saw Horse.  Initial response to these items has been excellent!

Inventors exhibiting or attending the show were invited to a free seminar presented by the United Inventors Association (UIA).  InventionHome was pleased to sponsor the presenters’ luncheon where guests included AJ Khubani, CEO of Telebrands Corp., and Dave Kappos, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. 

The UIA also awarded prizes to inventors that exhibited for Best Product Concept, Best Market Research, and Best Overall Product.

Summer will be in mid-stride before the dust from the spring shows settles.   The more successful the show, the more work to do following up on product interest and company contacts when we return.  The InventionHome staff is looking forward to a nice, tall drink by the pool sometime in August!

Need help with your Invention – Submit your idea or call toll free 1-866-844-6512.

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Chances are that if you own a television set, you have witnessed the phenomenon known as DRTV.  Called “direct-response television”, DRTV advertisements have the goal of generating instant action by the viewers, and they typically include a toll-free number and website address to facilitate orders.  Some famous examples of DRTV spots include the Snuggie®, PedEgg®, and who can forget the Ginsu Knife ads of the 1970’s?

If you are considering presenting your invention to a DRTV company, take some time to learn about the industry, develop your presentation to address their market needs, and also set yourself some appropriate expectations.  Here are some tips…

  1. Understand the market.  There are certain qualities that most DRTV products share.  Consider how your invention will stack up to these criteria and address them head-on in your presentation:
    • They fall in categories that appeal to very broad audiences, such as housewares/kitchen, cleaning devices, tools, fitness/exercise, weight-loss, and personal care.
    • DRTV products can be easily demonstrated, and that demonstration usually depicts some sort of problem-resolution…like demonstrating how one can become more beautiful, happier, skinnier, and the like. 
    • Price point is extremely important.   A product that sells on DRTV for $19.99 will ideally cost $4.00 or less to manufacture.   

 

  1. Put your best foot forward.  Convincing a DRTV company that your invention is the next multi-million dollar Snuggie is the goal.  The question is; are you putting your best foot forward to convince them to invest in your invention, which could potentially cost a DRTV company thousands in developing, manufacturing and marketing your invention, depending on where you are in the process. If your invention is not already developed, your best bet is to have either a high quality virtual design or working prototype, which can tangibly demonstrate your invention.   Even a basic or crude video of your invention can help in catching these companies’ attention.
  1. Be willing to let go.  Some inventors want to dictate the design, materials, even what factory the potential DRTV company must use.  Don’t let this be your downfall!  As mentioned above, DRTV products have extremely demanding price models due to the large sums of money spent both on developing the commercial and buying the television media/spots.  In most cases, the DRTV companies can achieve more competitive pricing from their factories than inventors can provide, based both on the companies’ clout and the sheer volume of product that they can potentially order.  Other things like product features, manufacturing materials, and accessories can also play a significant role in determining price, giving companies even more reason to maintain product control.

 

  1. Have Realistic Expectations!  Along with their well-defined pricing model, most DRTV companies have standardized license agreements for inventors with very little wiggle-room on royalty percentages.  Although their royalty levels may appear on the low end, consider these factors before saying no to a deal: 
    • Are you comparing apples to oranges?  There could be a BIG difference in how DRTV royalties are paid versus more “traditional” product royalties.  Since most royalties (at least in my experience) are based on net revenues, let’s consider what that means.
      • For a “traditional” distribution model, there could be many middlemen.  A company might sell their widget to a distributor for $8.  The distributor might sell to a retailer for $10.  The retailer might sell to consumer for $19.99.  In this example, an inventor royalty is based on the only cost the company actually controls, which is their net revenue of $8 (less any agreeable fees).
      • For a DRTV distribution model, the DRTV company might sell their gadget through a television ad, which targets the consumer directly, for $19.99.  Guess what?  In this scenario, the inventor royalty is based on $19.99! 
    • Consider the volume of product sold!  Successful infomercial products don’t just sell hundreds…or thousands of products.  They sell MILLIONS.  Enough said?

 

  1. Prepare yourself.  It’s widely understood in the DRTV industry that a large majority of products tested will actually fail, which is the nature of the business.  Many DRTV companies will say that “9 out of 10” products they test will fail, which is why they are interested in market testing many products to see which will ultimately succeed.  If you enter the deal with this knowledge and understand the odds, you could save yourself a lot of heartache if your product doesn’t ultimately succeed.

 

Best of luck to you as you navigate the DRTV arena!

Need help protecting, designing or marketing your invention?  Call 1-866-844-6512.

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Not too long ago, inventors and entrepreneurs had limited options available to them in regards to exhibiting their products at tradeshows.

They could either attend one of the smaller inventor-related tradeshows, or they could go to a large national product tradeshow and exhibit alongside large, established companies.

The first option offered very limited exposure for their product, and the second option was both expensive and difficult, requiring professional booth design, collateral materials, and a well-thought tradeshow strategy.

Today, the landscape for inventors is changing.  Inventor only tradeshows and exhibiting in the main areas of large national product tradeshows is fading away fast and being replaced with the new “micro-show” trend in the tradeshow industry.

Many of the national tradeshows such as the International Home and Housewares Show (IHHS), National Hardware Show (NHS), Response Expo and the Specialty Retail Entrepreneur Expo (SPREE) have adopted the “micro-show” concept, offering huge benefits by allowing independent inventors to exhibit in a consolidated area designed specifically for inventors and entrepreneurs.  These inventor areas concentrate inventors in one specific location of the overall tradeshow, making it easier for companies attending the show to find them.  These areas become a “destination point” for companies, providing far more exposure to inventors.  In addition, it is much cheaper to exhibit as an inventor in these areas than it would be to obtain a larger booth on the main tradeshow floor.  The Inventors booths are a turnkey solution to inventors which includes furniture, signage, and marketing of the booth location.  In addition, these shows have inventor area organizers (Brainchild Marketing at IHHS and Response Expo and the United Inventors Association at NHS and SPREE) on site to help the inventors with show details and act as a trusted source of information throughout the show.

As these large national tradeshows realize the added value that inventors bring to their overall show, they are looking for ways to entice more inventors to attend.   To increase the overall value for inventors, many shows now offer inventor education seminars and face-to-face opportunities for inventors to “pitch” their products to key companies in attendance.

InventionHome is sponsoring inventors’ areas at the upcoming SPREE show, Response Expo and National Hardware Show (NHS).  Response and the NHS both include educational sessions for inventor exhibitors with invaluable advice from industry experts and the chance for the exhibitors to pitch their products directly to companies who actively seek new inventions.   In addition, these shows have found creative ways to give inventors more bang for their buck…

If you are considering exhibiting at one of these show you should consider having a patent application on file with the USPTO (either a provisional or non-provisional application) before exhibiting.  In addition, in order to maximize opportunities at the show, you should also have a good, demonstrable prototype or finished product presentation for buyers to evaluate.

For more information on these shows see below…

Response Expo, May 3-5, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, CA – Click to Learn More

 

National Hardware Show, May 10-12, Las Vegas Convention Center, NV – Click to Learn More

 

Specialty Retail Entrepreneur Expo (SPREE), April 12-14, Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas – Click to Learn More

 

For help with your invention call 1-866-844-6512!

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As an inventor with a new product idea (or improvement to an existing product), it’s important to understand the various types of protection that are available to you.  Let’s assume that your idea provides benefit and usefulness (not just a visual design) ~ you might consider filing either a non-provisional patent (a “Utility Patent”) or a provisional patent application.  Choosing which type of application should be based on individual circumstance, personal preference, and financial considerations, and the choice will vary from one inventor to another.

Here are 5 key benefits of filing a provisional patent application before filing a utility patent application.

1. Lower cost

 A provisional patent application can often times be prepared and filed for less than $600, where the preparation and filing of a typical utility application can cost $5,000 and up, depending on the complexity of the invention.

 

2. Easy to file

The application and process is significantly less complex than a utility application and can even be done by inventors themselves if they take the time to understand how to complete a thorough application. 

 

3. Immediate “patent pending” status

Since the patent office does not review or approve provisional patent applications, inventors can immediately use the term “patent-pending” once the application has been filed.

 

4. Provides 12 months before a utility patent would need to be filed

Although the provisional patent application is not a substitute for ultimately filing a non-provisional patent application, it provides the inventor with 12 months of valuable time to further develop or market the invention.  Why spend thousands on filing a utility application only to realize later that you need to make changes to your invention or that your invention is not going to sell/license.  You can use the 12 months to figure out if this expense is worth while or if you do find a company to enter into a license agreement with you, try to negotiate for the company to cover some or all of the cost of filing a utility patent.

 

5. Establishes priority date

Once your application has been filed, you have established a priority date for your patent.  This means that when and if you file a utility application, you will be able to claim the original provisional filing date.

It’s important to understand that even if you file a provisional patent application, you will still need to file a non-provisional application down the road if you wish to maintain patent protection. Think of the provisional patent application as a possible step in the patent process, but not the final step.

The provisional patent application establishes the filing date but does not start the USPTO review process.  The provisional patent application provides a measure of protection for 12 months from the filing date and expires unless you file a utility patent application before the 12 months are up. 

Whichever direction you ultimately decide, remember that research and self-education are invaluable to your success not only at this beginning stage, but also as you progress in the process of inventing.

If you need help with your invention call InventionHome at 1-866-844-6512.

Addtional info at…

http://mvelette.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/invention.home

http://twitter.com/Inventionhome

http://www.inventionhome.blogspot.com/

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In this business, inventors and companies alike strive to develop another runaway hit TV product like the Snuggie®, “America’s favorite blanket with sleeves”.  We at InventionHome can attest to the hard work and incredible good fortune it takes to get a shot at infomercial success.  We’re hoping that a new television campaign starting this week will turn “rags to riches” for our inventor Daria W.

Daria’s product, which she dubbed “The Cargo Sling” caught the attention of Allstar Marketing Group, maker of the celebrated Snuggie.  After a few modifications to the product, a spiffy new name, and completion of a test infomercial, it’s now sink or swim time as Allstar tests the 2-minute commercial on national television this week.

The product, re-named “BundleBuddy”, consists of a band of Lycra material with integral pockets.  It slips easily around auto seats to provide a secure way to hold down everything from groceries, to purses, to take-out food.  No longer will your belongings be thrown onto the car floor when you brake suddenly or take a sharp turn. 

View commercial.

 

So we ask you to send good karma, happy thoughts, and maybe even order a Bundle Buddy for yourself, and let’s root on fellow inventor Daria!

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