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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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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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Invention service provider InventionHome.com sponsors inventor venues at two major industry tradeshows.

Monroeville, PA. June 29, 2010 – InventionHome is pleased to recap our recent tradeshow adventures.  In early May, we sponsored the “Inventors Spotlight” area of the National Hardware Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  InventionHome president, Russell Williams, served as a judge/panelist along with other esteemed invention-industry experts.  Nearly 80 inventors participated in the pavilion, and found immeasurable value in both the educational speaker series and the show traffic which included representatives from Black & Decker, Ace Hardware, Home Depot and thousands of other hardware manufacturers and retailers.

Also in May, we sponsored the “Inventors Pavilion” at the Response Expo which was held at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.  This tradeshow spotlighted Direct Response TV companies, products and vendors.  In addition to exhibiting in the Pavilion, Inventors were given the opportunity to attend seminars from industry experts and pitch their product in person to BJ Global Direct. 

Both tradeshows provided excellent opportunities for InventionHome representatives to reconnect with familiar companies and bring many new companies onboard with our streamlined HotLinksTM system for sharing unique product ideas available for license.   

To get started with your invention, call – 1-866-844-6512

NATIONAL HARDWARE SHOW & RESPONSE EXPO 2010

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For more information about the tradeshows:

National Hardware Show:  http://www.nationalhardwareshow.com/

Response Expo:  http://www.responsemagazine.com/response-expo/home-page

We have additional tradeshows scheduled for fall and winter 2010 and will provide further info as it becomes available.

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Invention of the Week:  Pet Gard

 

Invention Home announces their “Invention of the Week”. 

 

pet-gard1

 

Independent inventor David Rice enlisted the help of Invention Home to assist him in finding marketing/licensing opportunities for his invention, “Pet Gard”.

 

David wanted a safe way to take his pets with him on his daily errands…

 

Are you a pet lover who wants your pet’s company at all times?  Do you like to take your pet with you in the car, but worry about the heat rising as the animal sits awaiting your return?  Inventor David Rice has designed the perfect product for you!  Pet Gard is a heat and sound activated alarm system designed to warn pet owners that the interior of their vehicle has reached a dangerous temperature. The portable unit consists of two separate components: a monitor and a pager. The monitor is plugged into the vehicle’s cigarette lighter, which activates it.  When the interior of the vehicle reaches a predetermined temperature (factory set), and three similar sounds are detected within 20 seconds, a signal is sent to the pager. The pager will beep until the user presses a “dismiss” button. The beeping will sound again, every 60 seconds, until the user goes back to the vehicle, checks on the pet and either resets the monitor or unplugs it.  David has an issued Utility Patent as well as a finished sample.

 

About www.InventionHome.com

 

Invention Home offers a low cost, low risk solution for helping inventors through each step of the invention process.  They have created a simple and streamlined process for connecting inventors with manufacturers for the purpose of licensing inventions for royalties. For help with your invention, request info at: 

 

http://www.inventionhome.com/info/index.asp?referred=wordpress

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Invention of the Week:  The Doodle Daley

 

 doodle

 

Inventor Susan Drexler decided that she needed a better way to clean up dog messes in the yard….

 

Are you tired of stepping in your dog’s “Doodle” or cleaning it up each day with a plastic bag that makes your regular trash can smell?  Inventor Susan Drexler was, so she decided to do something about it.  She invented the Doodle Daley which is a fire hydrant-shaped pet waste receptacle. It features a side-hinged lid for easy flip-top accessibility to the inner bag-lined holding area, and a handled scoop that can simply unsnap for use.  The back of the unit features an attached stabilizing fork that lifts to act as a handle and lowers into the ground to keep the unit firmly in place. The unit also features wheels so that moving it around the yard is simple!  Susan has filed for a Utility Patent on her invention.

               

 

About www.InventionHome.com

 

Invention Home offers a low cost, low risk solution for helping inventors through each step of the invention process.  They have created a simple and streamlined process for connecting inventors with manufacturers for the purpose of licensing inventions for royalties. For help with your invention, request info at: http://www.inventionhome.com/info/index.asp?referred=wordpress

 

 

doodle2  doodle3

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