The topics at this site are:

Inventor Guides
Basic Inventing Procedures
A press release with pertinent Internet links
How To Do A Patent Search

Inventor Guides

        These three booklets were designed to give the novice inventor the necessary early-on information needed to give their idea the best possible shot at becoming a money maker for them.  These booklets were assembled and given to new members of The Tennessee Inventors Association so that they could quickly understand just how the patent and marketing process works and what lies ahead for them.  The Tennessee Inventors Association has now authorized it's members to promote their guide so that others may benefit from their knowledge.

Booklet #1,  TIA Inventors Guide
($10.00 + $1.50 (S&H) = $11.50)

      This booklet was compiled by several members of The Tennessee Inventors Association (non-profit) for the purpose of answering the many questions a first time visitor to their monthly meetings would likely have.
     This 14 page booklet gets you started in the patent process and explains various terms and options open to the inventor.  It also explains the importance of establishing a "Date of Originality" and why starting an "Inventors Log" is so important.  It will tell you the difference between a "Design " patent and a "Utility" patent.  Other topics covered are, scams, market research, product evaluations, how to price your product, possible distribution, prototypes, trademarks & service marks, copyrights, and licensing.  At the very end is a very important "Confidential Disclosure Agreement" which you can copy for your own use.

   Booklet #2, The Inventor's Guide To Backyard Manufacturing
($15.00 + $1.50 (S&H) = $16.50)

      John Galkiewicz, past 2 term Vice President of The Tennessee Inventors Association, was the primary author of the TIA Inventors Guide and one of the very few inventors that was able to bring his invention to market himself.  John saw a need to take the patent process a step further and continued writing in order to explaining just how to take a product to market.  In today's marketplace the vast majority of companies will only purchase the rights to a patent if that item has already shown a successful record of preliminary sales.
       In this guide you will learn what your first steps should be, what your packaging options are, how to obtain a UPC bar code, how to price your product, who to sell to first, what kind of trade shows and publications you need to be knowledgeable of, how to start your own mail-order business, and much more.  Create a splash in the marketplace and the buyers will be coming to you.

Booklet #3, Braving The Waters
(no -charge when ordering the Inventors Packet, while supplies last)

      "Braving The Waters: Basic Survival Skills and Resources For would-be Entrepreneurs In Tennessee" is a 24 page booklet that can be easily adapted to virtually any state in the union.  Author, Ann E. Sartwell explains how to set up a business, what kind of business is right for you, where the money is, what is a "business plan", and anybody and everybody that is out there to help you.  The folks at the University of Tennessee Law library have kindly put this booklet on the web as a free access publication.  That web site is www.law.utk.edu/CENTERS/entrep/PopePDF.PDF 

Order both booklets 1&2 for only $20 + $3 (S&H)  Total = $23
And...
while supplies last, at no additional charge, I will include a copy of
"Braving The Waters" and a back copy of "Inventors Digest" Magazine

Make your Check or Money Order out to "John Galkiewicz" and mail to:

Inventor Guides
POB-20
Harrogate, TN  37752
 

Basic Inventing Procedures

Begin an Inventors Log
Do a patent search
Set up an information page on the Internet
Create a database and keep those letters flowing at every opportunity


    Ways of taking your idea or invention to market and profiting from that idea have changed considerably in recent years.  Where years ago a simple "Certified Letter" sent to yourself with a copy of your idea inside was enough to establish a "Date of Originality", that is no longer the case.  Today you need an Inventor's Log that is properly kept and periodically signed by someone knowledgeable in the field.  In the past you targeted your idea for licensing expecting a nice tidy some at signing and royalties for the next 20 years.  With the exception of some very few products most companies no longer license products, instead they now budget those funds to purchase start-ups with impressive records.  As for those 20 year royalties, most new products now days have a shelf live of just a few years before they are considered obsolete.  All is not bleak though because new ideas still have a lot of potential and companies are still looking for that product that will make them rich as well.  What has changed is the way you now can go about things.  Computers and the Internet put a lot of that potential just a reach away.
    Once you have an idea you have to look around to see if that idea is already on the market.  You do this by going to specialty stores that would carry more of your type product than say Wal-Mart would.  If they don't have it do a search for it on the Internet.  If you still can't find it then go back to the Internet and do a simple "patent" search.  If it is not there then, if you have the funds, you take the results of your Internet patent search to a patent lawyer to begin the patent process.  The attorney may then wish to have another more extensive patent search conducted.  Your attorney may find that one of the patents that you have already uncovered has in effected voided your idea, or you and the attorney may decide to begin the patent process.  Once you have that patent pending number you can begin marketing your idea if you so wish but remember the patent office can still reject your idea due to another patent even though you have done a through patent search.
    Do I need a patent?  There are people that say being the "firstest with the mostest" is far better than having a patent.  They have a point because you're in it for the money and if you can get a quick couple of hundred thousand in the first year or two before the idea gets copied then you are way ahead of the game.  If you can afford it though get a patent.  A patent will usually stop the small and intermediate size companies from stealing your patent, it will not stop the big bad boy from doing so.  Why? Because they are fully aware that it takes about $30,000 just to begin a patent infringement case and few inventors have that kind of money.
    If you need help with processing your idea you will need to get that person or company to sign a CONFIDENTIAL DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT which, in theory, lets you sue them if they divulge the information you give them.  Click on the above to get a printable form.
    Once you have a patent pending number and have decided to begin marketing your idea the first thing you do is set up a simple web page that you can refer to in all your correspondence.  The people you will be contacting about your idea get all kinds of letters every day and don't have a lot of time to go through them all.  In order to gain his or her interest your initial correspondence has to be short and to the point and the more "Professional" it looks the better.  Your patent web site gives your prospect the opportunity to view all of your information if he or she so desires.  It also shows that person that you seem to be on top of things.
    Setting up a simple web site is very easy.  Most computer word programs have the option of saving what you have written in HTML text (web site language).  Once you have written a good explanation, with pictures from your patent drawings and even a prototype picture if you have it, save it in HTML.
    Your next step is to find a web site for it.  If your cable server does not offer web site space then go to one of the FREE web site providers on the Internet.  Geocities.com and Angelfire.com are two of the most common.  Both these site give you free web space in exchange for putting banner ads (little commercials) on each page of your web site. Once at their web site they easily work you through the process of setting up a web site and promoting that web site.
    Once you have your web site and password simply go to that site, log in, and upload the html page containing your patent information.  Once it is upload then go to the "edit" section and bring up your file.  You may then have to rename the file.  In the case of Angelfire you will have to rename the initial page simply "index.html".  An example of this type page is http://www.angelfire.com/tn2/vandergriff.  Then you go into the options section and begin the registration of your web site.
    When registering your web site you will find a section for Meta tags.  Meta tags are simply simple words that describe your web site.  Try to think of all the word combinations that someone would put into their computer to use to try and find the answer to the problem your invention solves.  Make this list up before time so that you have time to think of all the combinations that someone would use.  If you have close competitors with web sites of their own you can go to their site, go into the "view" section and simple look at their "source codes".  Look for the words "meta" or "key words" which will be someplace along the top and there you will find the Meta tags they are using.
    Once you have a web site you need to set up a database so that you can contact various companies or people concerning your invention.  One of the biggest mistakes people make with a database it using it only one time.  Most people need to see a name several times before it registers.  Whenever something happens in the field your invention is in and your idea may have changed things, even slightly, send everyone in your database a copy and a reminder that your invention fixes or confronts that problem.  If an article comes out in a trade journal that refers to the problem your invention confronts send a copy of that article to them with a very short "I Told You So" type letter.
    To recap, if you wish to license your invention, set up a web site first for full reference concerning your invention and refer to it in all your correspondence.  Then set up a database of potential licensees and work that database over and over again.  Keep your invention in front of them but only send them information when something happens in your field that relates to the problem your inventions solves.
    Probably the best place to go for information on companies that are seeking inventions to purchase is the web site set up by INVENTION DIGEST magazine at http://www.inventorsdigest.com.  The people you find here are screened by the magazine and are use to working with novice inventors.
    The other side of the coin is to simply carry the prototype step one step further, secure a finished sellable product, and begin marketing it yourself.  The Internet, consumer trade shows, and catalog sales allow you to do so very easily if you have the time.  I've put the information on how to go about this in my booklet on "Backyard Manufacturing".  Once you get things going and start being looked at as a competitor with a better product you may wish to sell your little company off to one of the larger companies you were thinking about licensing to earlier.  Remember though that being on the ground floor of a new and exciting product release gets very invigorating and you may have just found yourself a new career.
  

For The Inventor,
Riches May Be Just A Click Away.

     Virtually everyone is an inventor sometime in their life but what to do with that idea has always been the stumbling block.  With the growth of the Internet inventors nationwide can now access many helpful sites designed just for them.  Inventors never had it so good and its all just a click away.
     Our journey begins with a visit to the “Hook” (www.thehooktek.com) because everyone loves company and inventors are no different.  This site will let you see just what kind of help is out there for the inventor.  It also has one of the best "links" pages I have seen in a very long time.
     The Tennessee Inventors Association (www.uscni.com/tia) is one of the groups that have gone the extra mile to help novice inventors.  Knowing new inventors have hundreds of questions that they want answered led several of their members to compile an “inventor’s guide” that soon grew into an “inventor’s packet”.  This booklet packet is now given to all new members and answers virtually all the questions a novice inventor might have.  The guide and packet are available to all, including other associations, via their web site.
    There are “Sharks-in-the-Water” even for inventors.  A stop at the “National Inventor Fraud Center” (www.inventorfraud.com) may just save you from getting bit.  This site lets you know who to watch out for.  The golden rule here is “They pay you, you don't pay them”.
     Your next stop might take you to what might just be considered the most well rounded inventors site on the net.  “The Patent Cafe” (www.patentcafe.com) was set up by an inventor for inventors.  If you want to know what's happening in the world of inventing this is the place to go.  You could easily spend days taking in all the information this site has to offer.  These articles touch on virtually every phase of inventing.  Knowing how others made their ideas successful has certainly pointed others in the right direction.
    The last stop on our journey is the “U.S. Patent Office” (www.uspto.gov) web site.  Here you will find virtually everything you need to know about patents and how to begin the formal patent process.  A complete directory of patents is also available here for those wishing to do their own patent search or to just research their idea.  You can also do your own "patent search" simply by looking up patents by certain "Key" words that match what your idea is about.
    These are just some of the many sites useful to inventors nation wide.  The freedom to invent and the possible rewards for those that accepted the challenge has made America the nation it is now.  With the access to information that the Internet now provides inventors, America should remain on top for many years to come and its all just a click away.

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How to Do A Simple Patent Search


     The US patent office web site (www.uspto.gov) can be very intimidating but with the right guide you can easily conduct your own patent search and a good one at that.  Here is how to do a simple patent search that you can take to a patent attorney with pride.  Lets look for a "lawn mower throttle control".
     Once in the patent office site Home page go to "Search able Databases".  Then go to "Patent Full Text Databases With Full Page Images".  Just down and to the left of that page you will see "Boolean Search", go into that. Next up will be the "Query" section, which is the scariest section of all but not to worry.  In term #1 put "Lawn Mower" and in term #2 put in "Throttle Control", then hit enter or the search button.  Not too scary now was it?  See! I told you it was simple.
     You should now have before you a list of patents that meet the "Lawn Mower Throttle Control" specks that you called for.  Print the list, preferably in color because it is more impressive and make 2 copies, one for you and one for the attorney.  Go down the list and highlight or circle all the patents that you feel are close to describing your idea for a throttle control.  Now go back to that list and tap on the patents that you have marked.  When that patent comes up go to "Images".  When the "Images" page comes up tap on "Front Page" which should bring up the first page of the patent in question.  When that comes up print out 2 copies of that page.  Then go to "Drawings" and print out 2 pages of that.  The copy of the cover page and the copy of the first drawing should be enough to give your attorney a good idea of what that patent is about in relation to your idea.  If he wants to go into it deeper, he now has the information he needs to go right to it.
     Do the same thing for each of the patents that you have highlighted or circled as being close to yours.  If you can not down load the patents or pictures back out to the "Query" page and hit the "Help" button.  When that comes up hit the "How to Access Full Page Images".  Then hit "Documents Formats web page".  Then go down to "Medical Informatics Engineering" and tag the site to it's right named "Tiff Image Browser Plug-IN".  This is a quick download program that only takes a few minutes to download and does the trick.  Once at their download site simply download their "AlternaTIFF V1.3.5" and you should be ready to go.  If you have any problems simple give the patent office a call at 1-(800) 786-9199 or 1-(703) 308-4357 or e-mail them at (usptoinfo@uspto.gov).
     This is as simple as I can explain it to you.  With the master list to go by and a copy of the front page and first drawing of the patents you feel may need further looking into, all stapled together or in binder form, your attorney will have a much better idea of just what you are trying to patent.   Since his time is probably much more expensive than yours you may have just saved yourself a tidy little sum and learned something in the process.
     If you feel that this information has definitely been helpful to you then please feel free to send me $20.00, if you wish, so that I may also share in your enthusiasm for a job well done and in appreciation of all the work and time I have just saved you.  Its nice to know you are appreciated.

 John Galkiewicz
 

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