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Posts Tagged ‘inventors’

Take an all-Inclusive trip to China to tour factories and learn manufacturing overseas. 

With our DRTV Summit quickly approaching, most of the talk around the water cooler here at InventionHome has been about the latest infomercial products… (honestly, can you believe that Happy Hot Dog Man??).  While we’ve been busy searching for inventions with the “Wow! Factor”, the United Inventors Association (UIA) has teamed up with China-2-West to wow us with an inventor’s dream trip. 

Any inventor interested in manufacturing his or her product should seriously consider signing up. The first 20 inventors will have the opportunity to learn about off shore manufacturing first hand through factory visits, educational seminars, and entry to the world’s largest product tradeshow in Canton.

When:  October 20 – 30, 2011

Includes:

o       Round trip airfare between New York or San Francisco and Hong Kong

o       Transportation in China

o       All hotel accommodations in 4 & 5 star hotels

o       3 meals per day

o       All access pass to Canton Products Show

o       Factory Tours

o       Inventor Education Seminars

o       Local Sight Seeing and Cultural Visits

The educational value alone would be worth the expense, but add the cultural experience of China to an already unbelievable deal and Wow! you have the trip of a lifetime! 

For More Information or to save your spot – Contact Eric Bouldin by email on eric.bouldin@china2west.com or by phone on 650-921-3088.

 

 

 

For help with your invention or patent call 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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InventionHome is pleased to announce it has joined the United Inventors Association (UIA) in sponsoring the Inventors Zone at the 2011 Specialty Retail Entrepreneur Expo and Conference (SPREE) at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas on April 12 – 14.

The specialty retail industry covers cart and kiosk sales in malls and other venues.  With over 100,000 kiosks across the United States in malls alone, there is a pressing need for new products. The SPREE Show brings together industry professionals looking for new products and entrepreneurs with new products to sell or seeking to start their own business.

 

Who should attend the show?  Inventors with “retail ready” products interested in…

1. Exhibiting their inventions / products for opportunities to sell in carts, kiosks and gift shops. (Reserve your booth in the Inventors Zone by calling Debbie Lahti at (800) 936-6297 x 20.)

2. Educational sessions and networking events to learn more about the $12 billion specialty retail industry.

Exhibiting in the Inventors Zone

Entrepreneurs ready to take orders for their products should consider exhibiting.  Your product may be good for the specialty retail market if it a) requires an explanation and is easily demonstrated, or b) is a product that is already understood, like a t-shirt or food item.

For additional information on pricing and how to register for the SPREE Inventors Zone contact Debbie Lahti at (800) 936-6297 extension 20.  http://spreeshow.com/ 

When: April 12 – 14   /   Where: Las Vegas

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

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Ultimately, all products must be manufactured to make it to market, however that doesn’t mean that you need to be the one to manufacture it.

 “I have a new invention that I’ve been working on.  I’ve done my research, I’ve met with a patent attorney to discuss patent options and I have investigated prototype and design options.  However, I’m just not sure how to actually go about producing and marketing my invention.  Do I need to arrange for manufacturing on my own, which seems like a challenging process in itself, or are there other options that I can explore for succeeding with my invention?” 

 

Does this line of thinking sound familiar?  Ultimately, every inventor reaches the point where they need to decide on how they are going to proceed with commercializing their invention.  They must choose how to develop, manufacture and market the product.   Many inventors are interested in facilitating and managing the process on their own, while many others would prefer to find a company to handle the process for them.   Whatever the case, after the idea has been protected with a patent, the inventor must weigh these options and decide which one is the right choice for his or her specific situation. 

Oftentimes, inventors are either unaware of the options for taking their inventions to market or they automatically assume that inventing requires them to manufacture and market their invention on their own.  As a result of not being familiar with the options for commercializing their inventions, many inventors end up pursuing a less suitable approach for their particular situation, which can cost them a lot of time and money.

 

If you are new to the business of inventing or are not really sure how an inventor actually makes money from an invention, consider the following options. 

Licensing the invention for royalties:

When you are trying to license your invention for royalties, the end result of all your hard work is to secure a license agreement.  A license agreement is when the inventor [licensor] agrees to let a third party [licensee] commercially use his invention for a period of time.  As a result of the agreement, the inventor would receive either an ongoing payment called a royalty, which would normally be calculated as a percentage of sales of the invention or a one-time lump-sum payment.  Typically, the company that licenses the invention would manufacture and market the invention.  The likelihood of an inventor striking a license agreement would depend on the premise that the inventor has “rights” to the invention (i.e., a patent).  Without patent protection, any individual or company could make or sell the invention; therefore, it would be less likely that a company would license or buy the invention. 

Need Help Licensing Your Invention For Royalties?  Call InventionHome 1-866-846512.

 

Assigning or Selling the Invention:

When the inventor assigns his rights, he is permanently transferring or selling ownership in the invention/patent.  The inventor may receive a lump sum payment or a series of payments.  The difference between a “license” and “assignment” is in the transfer of rights.  With a license, the inventor retains rights, like “renting” the patent, and with an assignment they transfer their rights (i.e., sell it).

Developing & Manufacturing the Invention:

When developing and manufacturing on your own, you are taking on the responsibility of facilitating and managing the process of setting up manufacturing either through domestic or overseas manufacturers.   You hire a manufacturing company to produce your product.  While you maintain control of your invention, you also assume the risks and costs that are associated with the process.  Keep in mind that if you manufacture your invention overseas you should also develop an understanding of how you will import, warehouse and distribute the product.

Remember that every invention is different in terms of its complexity and structure. This should be taken into account when deciding whether to license the idea or manufacture.  For some inventions, little development and setup is required, which can simplify the manufacturing process, however, other inventions may be much more complex requiring in-depth research, engineering, tooling, molds etc. for mass production.  As a result, manufacturing can be very expensive and usually involves a large set-up fee for tooling, molds, etc., and once the invention is ready, there may be a minimum order requirement to pay for inventory.  Some manufacturers can offer short-run production where they’ll make a small order in hopes that the larger orders will come later, but many require the inventor to pay for a large number of units that can result in unsold product and loss of money if the invention does not sell.  Overseas manufacturing can have added frustrations associated with the difficulties of finding and communicating with a foreign company. 

For the inventor who finds these aspects of manufacturing to be too costly, too difficult or too much of a hassle, seeking a licensing agreement could be a more suitable solution.  If the invention is licensed, usually the company that licenses the invention will handle the manufacturing, which allows the inventor to shift the cost and risks to the company that licenses the invention.  With licensing, the inventor can rely on the company’s experience and established business to develop and market the product. 

Typically, entrepreneurs with aspirations of turning their inventions into a business where they would sell their product would be the best candidates for manufacturing.   Manufacturing and marketing an invention can be an exciting and rewarding approach for some inventors but the process should be looked at more as a business venture, as it requires the inventor to have substantial capital and a well thought out plan on how to develop, manufacture and market their idea. Manufacturing is very different than finding a company to license the invention, and should not be jumped into without examining the risks and carefully planning the best route for success

Now that you have a better understanding of the options for commercializing your invention, it is easier to see why it’s important to think through the options and determine what makes sense for your situation.  It doesn’t make sense to select one approach such as manufacturing your invention when licensing may have been a better solution for your situation. 

For example, suppose you invented a new, innovative pet-grooming device and after completing the patent process you decide that you are going to develop and manufacture the invention on your own.  You jump on the Internet and spend the next few weeks researching overseas manufacturers to develop and produce your invention.  Let’s assume that everything goes smoothly and quickly, which it usually doesn’t, and four to six months later you end up with a finished product and a shipment of inventory sitting in your garage.  More than likely, at this point, you would have invested tens of thousands of dollars in your invention and it’s likely that you may not have even secured buyer interest or a purchase order. 

Most established product companies and manufacturers don’t pull the trigger on manufacturing until they have done exhaustive market research and testing (i.e., due diligence) and ideally have secured purchase orders or commitments from their customers.  However, as a new inventor, you may not have thought about securing interest or purchase orders before paying to have your product manufactured.  As a result, you’re now looking to sell your product either directly to consumers via a website that you will develop, or you begin to look for another company to wholesale your invention.  As the example continues, you later realize that having a website to sell your product to consumers is only as good as the marketing behind the website (i.e.: no one knows about your website) and eventually you begin looking for a larger pet company to license your invention. 

Let’s say that you succeed in finding a company and they agree to license the product from you.  While negotiating the agreement you discover that they manufacture all of their products in Taiwan, whereas your factory is in China, so they will take over production and scrap your manufacturing setup.  At this point, you begin to ask yourself if you could have reached the same license agreement without going through all the hassles and costs associated with setting up the manufacturing.  If only you would have known that ultimately you would have ended up licensing your invention.  Although this scenario is just an example, it should highlight the need to think through not just the manufacturing aspect of the process, but what strategies are needed to market the invention after inventory has been produced. 

It is important to remember that while neither licensing nor manufacturing is a guaranteed success, taking the time to understand the options for taking your invention to market and thinking through what your goals are prior to leaping into either option will help you take the path that’s right for you and your invention as you continue along the road of inventing.

For more information about Invention Home you can visit the following websites – http://twitter.com/inventionhome, http://inventionhome.blogspot.com/, http://mvelette.wordpress.com/, http://www.facebook.com/invention.home

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by Amy Frey

 

 

 

 

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about Chicago being dubbed the “The Toy and Game Inventing Capital of the World”. 

After experiencing the Toy and Game Inventor Expo (TAGIE) last week in the windy city, held in conjunction with The Chicago Toy and Game Fair (ChiTag), I’d have to say that both events are key to the city earning the well deserved designation.  TAGIE brought together over 40 experts in the toy industry eager to share their knowledge with novice toy inventors.  For two full days, panels of experts addressed topics from licensing your invention for royalties to manufacturing it yourself overseas. 

 

Since InventionHome was a TAGIE sponsor, I had the opportunity to attend the discussions and meet with toy industry executives from companies such as Hasbro and ThinkFun.    Large companies such as Hasbro typically work with professional toy developers and brokers to source new products from inventors. They simply don’t have the time (or the need) to work with the independent inventor that doesn’t understand their product needs at the required level.  Large companies want products that meet their business initiatives and can be implemented quickly without any handholding.  Many smaller companies are more willing to take an undeveloped product and massage it to fit their product and brand requirements, but inventors must still do their homework in order to be taken seriously by any company.  Here is some basic advice on the first steps to market your invention from the industry experts:

 

  1. Research the market for similar games/toys. Understand how your game play or toy is different.  Look online and in toy stores and mass retailers.
  2. Test the game/toy with strangers (your family and friends are going to like it no matter what!)
  3. Make sure the product is a good fit for the company.  For example, if the company sells adult games don’t send them a pre-school toy! This seems obvious but it’s a pet peeve of many companies that continually receive inappropriate product submissions.

 

Obviously, there’s much more advice and helpful information on all kinds of topics for inventors than I’m able to share in this brief blog.  If you’re considering “next steps” for your own invention, consider taking advantage of InventionHome’s experience, knowledge and industry connections and contact us today for more information on how to get started.  If you are a toy inventor, whether looking to license or manufacture your invention yourself, I encourage you to consider attending TAGIE next year.  Mary Couzin puts on a fabulous event that really lets you learn how the toy industry operates while giving you the chance to show your product to companies interested in inventions.  Even if you don’t get lucky and snag a deal, you will gain valuable feedback on your product.

 

In addition to TAGIE, InventionHome is also pleased to sponsor the Kid Invention Show to air on Got Invention Radio in January of 2011.  Brian Fried, the host of the show, was at ChiTag interviewing 40 kid inventors that took part in the Young Inventor Challenge.

 

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InventionHome’s president, Russell Williams, will be a guest on an upcoming show to discuss the inventing process and how InventionHome helps inventors commercialize their inventions.  Look for more information about both shows on the InventionHome blog.

Call 1-866-844-6512 for information on licensing your invention for royalties!

 

For more information about Invention Home you can visit the following websites – http://twitter.com/inventionhome, http://inventionhome.blogspot.com/, http://mvelette.wordpress.com/, http://www.facebook.com/invention.home

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The second week of October proved to be an exceptionally busy week for InventionHome’s marketing & licensing department, which netted an incredible FOUR license agreements in one week!  With the additional four agreements finalized, InventionHome marketing and licensing successes now stand at 117.  2010 is shaping up to be their highest performance licensing year on record with a 100% growth rate over 2009.

The four agreements mentioned include products called the Bead Bender, Lawnmower D’Light, Step Ramps and Cargo Sling.  Each of the license agreements was born by the hard work and dedication of an independent inventor.  Two of the licensed inventions fall into the automotive/vehicle category.  They were both licensed to a company that focuses on motorsports products.  The company hopes to see both products on the market by third quarter 2011.  The third licensed product can best be described as a headlight for a lawnmower.  A company with strong ties to Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears, etc. licensed the product with hopes that their customers will embrace the clever device.  Our fourth licensed product may be featured on a television infomercial coming soon!  We can’t disclose too many details.  Suffice it to say that the simple product will keep your car nice and tidy.

These four licenses exemplify the effectiveness of InventionHome’s marketing program.  Granted, not every invention is going to succeed.  But InventionHome has laid the framework to get invention details into the hands of key decision makers at thousands of companies.  By developing streamlined processes both to share invention details, and also to assist companies with any interest inquiries, InventionHome has become a respected resources for companies seeking new products for license.

Call 1-866-844-6512 for information on licensing your invention for royalties!

 

For more information about Invention Home you can visit the following websites – http://twitter.com/inventionhome, http://inventionhome.blogspot.com/, http://mvelette.wordpress.com/, http://www.facebook.com/invention.home

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InventionHome is pleased to announce the successful completion of their 112th marketing/license agreement, 32 of which occurred in calendar year 2010 (as of September 30th).  An impressive tally of brokered deals.

 

InventionHome’s most recent licensing success is a product called CapTails™.  The patented device connects glasses (sunglasses, safety glasses, etc.) to a hat by means of stretchable and adjustable clips and a cord.  CapTailsTM allow the user to wear their eyewear on top of their cap and not have to worry about them falling off and getting lost or broken. Also when your glasses are on, your cap can not blow away.

The licensee of the clever device took interest in the product because of its simplicity and unique position in the market.  It will complement the rest of their product line nicely, and has already drawn the interest of a national retailer.  CapTailsTM should reach the retail market in early 2011.

Call 1-866-844-6512 for information on licensing your invention for royalties!

 

For more information about Invention Home you can visit the following websites – http://twitter.com/inventionhome, http://inventionhome.blogspot.com/, http://mvelette.wordpress.com/, http://www.facebook.com/invention.home

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