The Official Publication of the Tampa Bay Inventor's Council
JAN / FEB 2006
Hear All About TV Reality
This Year’s Shows:
Really Big CES Good or Bad ?
By Bob Lougher, UIA Executive
p. 2 p. 7
Summary of The Most
Speakers for Common
Nov./Dec. p. 3 Mistakes First
by Steven Thrasher
Make Plans to p. 8
Come and Hear
Our Next Ask The Experts
Speakers From the U.I.A.
p. 4 P. 11
Progress Report: LAS VEGAS • JAN 5-8 2006
Machine Shop Check Out
by Rob Aiken Upcoming
Events p. 10
"Inventors Helping Inventors" JOIN US EACH
The Tampa Bay Inventor's Council is here to help
you succeed, forge ahead, maintain your purpose, 2nd and 4th WEDNESDAY
and achieve what you intend to. Everyone in this
group is behind you. EVERY MONTH
10750-A Endeavor Way, VISIT OUR WEBSITE: www.tbic.us
Largo FL 33777 GET NEWS UPDATES:
My Visit to the CES In Las Vegas
By Wayne Rasanen, Vice President
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), January 5-8 2006 is THE largest
electronics show in the world, and this year was a record year with over 150,000
people walking 1.67 million square feet of displays in three different locations in
Las Vegas. If you have never been to Las Vegas, CES is all the excuse you need to
make the trip to the glitziest city in the world. Although CES is not open to the
general public, a few connections and some minor qualifications can get you free
admission to the debut launch of several key technologies. The hotels filled up
quickly and if you didn’t book your room early, you had to settle for locations far
from the action.
The main event was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center with three huge
halls. The South Hall was divided into four parts, 1 & 2 downstairs held mostly
audio-video gear and 3 & 4 upstairs had a lot of computer related companies such
as ATI, Nvida, Palm, and Creative to name a few. Each floor would compare to
the Jacob Javits Center in New York and each section was bigger than the entire
convention center at the Mirage.
The Central Hall is by far the biggest hall and housed all the really big players
such as Microsoft, Intel, Panasonic, Sony, and Toshiba. Everyone brought out
their latest products for a full hands-on presentation. The X-Box 360 display was
almost always three people deep waiting for a chance to try out the dozen
machines, each with a different game. Sony had their new electronic book, a
small tablet sporting e-paper. The batteries are good for over 10,000 page turns
because the image remains without drawing power. XM Satellite Radio hosted a
series of live performances and I managed to score a signed DVD (one of only
ten) from Jon Anderson of the rock group “Yes” fame after he entertained us with
The North Hall featured cars, and lots of them. Everything you can put into a car
such as GPS, video screens and some ‘killer’ audio was on display in ways you
can’t imagine. It was like MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” on steroids. Many of the cars
would likely never see the open road, but were purely show pieces. There were
also plenty of classic cars and trucks built for fun and travel but probably cost as
much as a three-bedroom condo.
Just outside the North hall was the Las Vegas Hilton where most of the Asian
manufacturers displayed their products from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Keep in mind that this is only one of the three locations and it also had a few
displays outside these massive halls, such as the House of Tomorrow and the
‘Ultimate Dorm Room’.
( Continued on Page 12 )
Past Speakers Center specifically for light
manufacturing. Even a cafeteria and day-
November 9th care center are in the compound, thus
enabling the start-up to attract and retain
Our guest speaker was Tonya Clark, employees. The program also provides
representing the STAR TEC Business most of the administrative and book-
Acceleration Center. Located only ½ mile keeping duties for its client companies.
from our meeting room, STAR TEC helps
fledgling start-ups remain focused on their For an inventor to be considered for the
business strategy by providing them with a program, he/she must be a business
referral network of contacts and entity with an existing team and an
connections; mentoring, management existing prototype, and have sales for at
guidance and educational programs; least six months. The
access to local, national and international inventor/entrepreneur is required to
markets; and access to capital. Inventors invest some of his/her own money into
are only one category of entrepreneurs that the venture as seed capital. STAR TEC
may benefit from the program. STAR TEC looks very closely at the team -- talents,
is a non-profit organization funded by abilities, experience, commitment. With
client fees, government grants and private the inventor having selected the right
donations. Its purpose is to promote team, STAR TEC can then work with the
economic growth locally. The program is team to design a realistic and do-able
especially good at matching up small business strategy.
businesses with government contracts.
After Tonya finished, a general
A start-up joins the program by agreeing to discussion about invention innovation
give STAR TEC a portion of the start-up’s ensued.
stock or some other ownership interest.
Then the start-up leases space in the
Center at lower-than-market rates and December 14th
uses the space as its home office
throughout the enrollment period. We had two sets of guest speakers tonight.
Currently seven companies are in the
program. As each “graduates” and moves The first set consisted of Don Patz and
on, a new one joins. Mike Smutko, representing the local
chapter of the Society of Manufacturing
Engineers. SME’s main mission is
The STAR TEC team consists of 29 education about manufacturing. Through
individuals; only three are employees and regularly scheduled meetings and
the rest are volunteers. Also several local activities, SME chapters serve as local
businesses provide the program with forums for networking and contact
resources and specialized assistance. building, information sharing and problem
Mentoring is provided by members of solving. Chapters organize and sponsor
STAR TEC ’s advisory board, most of plant tours, conferences, guest speakers,
whom are on various local corporations’ special events and other illuminating
boards-of-directors. activities. Don and Mike stressed that
members are from many fields, not just
engineering. Membership is open to
The program cannot help inventors who anyone from any background, and only
intend to licence their inventions or sell costs about $80 per year. The local chapter
their patents. It definitely can help those has its general meetings (open to anyone)
inventors who intend to manufacture and at 6:00 pm on the 3rd Thurs. of each
sell their products themselves. There is month. These meetings are held very close
space available within the STAR TEC
to the TBIC clubhouse: inside the facilities units (remember: the bigger the batch, the
of Concurrent Technologies Corp. at 7935 cheaper is each unit within the batch) and
N. 114 Ave, Largo, FL. Visit the local instead pay a lot more to have only one
chapter’s website at . SME’s local chapter unit made. Then sell that unit. Doors are
often has field trips to manufacturing much more likely to be opened for you if
companies in the area, and non-members you have some verified sales, no matter
are welcome to attend. But reservations are how small. A large-batch production run
required; simply go to the website and can be made after the doors have been
make the arrangements. And get onto the opened. He also said that simple
local e-mail list too. Every how-to-invent inventions make the most money because
book warns that common stumbling blocks the more complicated your invention is,
for most independent inventors are an the easier is a competitor’s task of
ignorance about general manufacturing circumventing your patent claims.
processes and not knowing anyone in the
manufacturing field for advice or answers. Upcoming Speakers
An inventor’s greatest resource is his/her For January
contacts & connections -- that is; who
he/she knows. Here is a local chapter of Last year we saw the start and casting of
manufacturing experts who love to gather several new TV shows featuring inventors.
regularly and share their expertise with This year they will be aired in millions of
whoever wishes to listen. homes around the nation(s). Being an
inventor today is a powerful thing with the
Next up was inventor Bob Solomon ability to change the world like never before.
describing the successes and failures of his (Please note, Rock Stars still get more groupies!)
invention projects, and what he learned
from them. He developed a toilet seat that Make sure you get off on the right foot &
assists the person with sitting and standing, make plans to attend our first TBIC meeting
ideal for the disabled and elderly. After on January 11th. Our guest will be Mr.
discovering that this idea had been recently Edward Dutkiewicz, Registered Patent
patented by someone else, he contacted Attorney and all around good guy. Ed will
that inventor and bought the patent. address all of our questions (as time permits)
Subsequent manufacturing R&D revealed about protecting your intellectual property.
that the manufacturing cost would require The first step with any invention is always to
a retail price that was much higher than his make sure you have your ducks in a row
market research showed people would pay. before you let the cat out of the bag!...I'll let
Therefore the product would not be you think about that one for a few seconds....
feasible to produce unless Medicare would
be willing to underwrite most of the retail Next up on January 25th, our meeting will
price for qualified recipients. cover how to license your ideas to
Unfortunately Medicare did not approve corporations with our special guest, Mr.
the product, his investors pulled the plug Robert Oros of Business Development
and the project crashed. Bob was faced Resources. Robert will tell you about a step
with the gut-wrenching decision of by step process that can enhance your ability
continuing to push, push, push ahead to become successful in licensing your
anyway, or to accept defeat, give up and inventions. As you may already know, less
move on. He chose the latter; knowing than 4% of patents typically earn much
when to fold and learning how to let go is money. I believe that if we can improve our
what he gained from the experience and odds of success, than we must! Robert will
shared with us. His current project is a cover Strategic growth opportunity, due
hermetically sealed, air-tight storage shed, diligence, technology development,
and everything looks like a green light branding & licensing. If you are serious
now. One piece of advice he gave is: in the about being an inventor, you don't want to
early part of your project’s manufacturing miss the opportunities we have this January!
stage, resist the temptation to pay a Remember, for directions and information,
manufacturer to produce a large number of visit our website www.tbic.us
So how does learning machine shop
Machine Shop Class practices help an inventor? Obviously
by Rob Aiken
doing the work yourself is much cheaper
than paying a machinist to do it for you.
Back in October, club member Ed
But if you should need to hire a machine
Holdgate volunteered to teach basic
shop, knowing the basics makes it easy to
machine shop skills to anyone interested.
communicate effectively with the
Four members (Bruce Gordon, Pete
machinist and/or engineer. The same
Lefferson, Robert Shaw & myself) along
applies when searching for a
with two nonmembers (Robert's father
manufacturer, because these basic
Lloyd and John Toth) are now receiving
machine shop practices are the foundation
this training, and we love it!
of many manufacturing processes.
We are really digging-in to this
We six students still have several weeks to
personalized hands-on instruction, four
go. If Ed makes this offer to TBIC again I
hours a day, one day a week. Ed's
would certainly recommend going for it.
common-sense teaching method is easy
Jump in! If you feel that you are not
to follow and his home workshop is well
especially mechanical, or even if running a
stocked. This is the fun way to learn and it
big mechanical monster is intimidating for
doesn't cost a dime.
you, don't worry. This is informal,
personalized instruction in a very small
The man is well qualified to teach us. He
group of friends. Ed knows how to slow
began his career as an apprentice while in
down or modify the lesson in accordance
high school, and did standard machine
to your needs. Best of all, it's fun!
shop work for several years. Then he
taught machine shop practices in an
Ed Holdgate is a fantastic, selfless person!
apprenticeship program managed by the
Asking nothing in return, he teaches
Kodak Corp. During his years with
machine shop to others because this is
Kodak over 6,000 people received hands-
what he does best and what he loves to do.
on training from Ed. Now retired, he does
A genuine expert in the fields of machine
volunteer machine shop work and
shop work and machine shop education,
training for the Coast Guard airbase,
Ed is a tireless volunteer spirit and a true
numerous small businesses and
inspiration to others. Thank you Ed
individuals. And he keeps busy with his
Holdgate! TBIC is very fortunate to have
own projects and inventions. Ed has
you as a member.
received income from some of his
inventions over the years.
Most of the learning centers around
operation of the vertical mill and the
lathe, with smatterings of band-saw, drill
press, grinder and workbench practices.
Each student is building his own
miniature model of a sailing ship's
cannon in accordance with Ed's
blueprints. But when each day's lesson is
over, we can remain and work on our own GET LATE-BREAKING TBIC NEWS
invention projects with Ed's expert
Stay Informed – See what’s new
assistance and advice.
What could possibly be better?
ALERT ! Membership
There has been at least one complaint of receipt of
unsolicited/non-opted email that appears to have
sourced our TBIC mailing list. We will never use Make your inventing
your contact information for anything but TBIC process more effective and
related matters, nor will we sell or give this more fun !
information to others for such use. If you are
receiving emails that are not TBIC related, but you Bring a Friend !
feel are being sent as a result of your contact
information with TBIC (for example a unique
email address you only use for TBIC), please A few benefits you will enjoy:
forward the email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and
I will have the TBIC attorney forward it to the • Monthly Newsletters
appropriate Federal/State Authority. You have our
• Free Workshops
apologies in advance if this is happening to you.
We make every reasonable effort to protect your • Updates on Legislation
privacy. Unfortunately, with the switch to a bi- affecting the industry
monthly newsletter, we must rely on emails more
to appraise you of speakers, special events and • Current Industry News
alerts. • Focus Groups
VISITORS WELCOME • Inventor-Related Computer Programs
The Board of Directors of TBIC wants • Inventor’s Library
to welcome all visitors. We hope that
you can see the benefits of becoming a • Formal Presentations to
Marketing Media Representatives
member. Our bylaws allow visitors to
attend two meetings without obligation. • Access to Machine & Wood Shops
Membership Chairperson: Paul Simmons
This note is to encourage any member who has a need
to post it in our “Members Exchange” department.
This is not intended as a sale area to promote
businesses, but rather for members to post needs and
request for help on invention related matters.
Listings are free and subject to editing for space and
clarity. Must submit to Gary Simmons
(email@example.com) by end of third week of
the month prior to next publication.
Membership fees have changed
Examples would be:
• Need a packaging prototype. Require graphics and
At a recent Board meeting, it was decided
blister pack expertise. Contact Tom Edison at by the Board of Directors that we needed
Phone/E-mail/Snail Mail address. to change our membership structure and
• Need someone to convert my 2d drawings to *.dwg
format. Contact Orville Wright at Phone/E- Starting on January 1, 2005 the
mail/Snail Mail address. membership categories and fees will be as
Student/Jr. Einstein----------------$ 25.00
GET LATE-BREAKING TBIC NEWS Sustaining Members (6 mos.)----$ 65.00
www.tbicnews.blogspot.com Sustaining Members (annual)---$125.00
Stay Informed – See what’s new Corporate Members --------------$250.00
TV Reality Shows (Good or Bad)
By Bob Lougher, UIA Executive Director
Recently, the most frequent inquires received at the UIA involve the
growing number of TV Inventor Reality Shows. The questions are:
"Are they a scam?" or "Do you endorse them?" As far as
endorsement, the UIA is a nonprofit educational institution and is not
an endorsement agency. We are an informational organization and, as
such, disseminate pertinent information to inventors as we receive it.
We do screen all information before we send it out. This is never a
foolproof method and should not be construed as any form of
Because of the very strict contractual agreements required by some shows, some people are
asking, "Is this a scam?" I would say, "absolutely not." A scam sugarcoats or conceals
relevant information. These contracts are right in your face, to read, and take to an attorney,
etc. I, myself, would probably not sign such a contract. This would be my own personal
preference. However, for every one of me there are probably a hundred that would sign for
their own reasons.
I would be surprised if these Network Shows didn't have all those technical clauses in their
contract. They have an army of attorneys looking out for their best interest and they are
going to cover every possible base. If you, as the inventor, have doubts or questions, get
sound legal advice.
Many experts have said that even bad publicity is publicity. Who knows what will happen
in front of tens of millions of viewers? It may even somehow get the word out there that
there is legitimate help available. Shame on any inventor that does not get legal or
professional advice before signing any contract.
Acontract will not be any sort of gage on how good, accurate, positive or negative any show
will be. The one thing we know at this point is that "it will be watched by millions." The
final decision to participate lies solely with the inventor. For good reasons, bad reasons,
personal reasons, it is still the individual inventor's call.
Signing rights of inventions over to a company that has such a huge media presence may
not be all bad, all the time, to everyone. Think of the hundreds or thousands of inventors that
are currently going nowhere with their inventions and this opportunity comes along To this
individual, you could have a no lose situation. Not every situati= on is the same and to some
it could be bad. Use common sense and get sound advice.
Because of the nature of television, we have to wait for the actual airing of the episodes. It is
only then that anyone will be able to cast judgment. Personally, I do not watch Network
Television. I guess I do not fit into their demographics. It is my understanding that Reality
TV historically has represented anything but reality. Even if I don't like it, there is always
the possibility that some of those hard working inventors may hit it big.
Enjoy the popularity that inventors are now experiencing. That could change tomorrow.
This type of show may be good for some and bad for others. Get sound legal advice and
contact your nearest inventor support group for their opinion.
Reprinted with permission from the Newsletter of the United InventorsAssociation
Www.uiausa.org United InventorsAssociation PO Box 23447 Rochester, NY 14692
The Most Common Mistakes First Time Inventors Make
By Steven Thrasher, Registered Patent Attorney
A successful inventor is someone like you--a person who dreams up a great idea, protects the
idea, and then turns the idea into an asset. The successful inventor then engineers a product to
implement that idea, prototypes it, finds a reliable and trustworthy manufacturer, and develops
an appropriate marketing strategy. Of course, a successful inventor is also one who
successfully licenses an invention.
It's tough to be a successful inventor-and first time inventors face their challenges without the
education of experience. They just make too many fatal mistakes! However, many of these
mistakes are predictable and avoidable. This article discusses the biggest mistakes I see
1. Due Diligence
Due diligence means making a real effort to make sure you're doing the right thing.
By analogy, due diligence on the road means at least knowing the speed
limit – if you get pulled over, claiming that you don't know the speed limit will n e v e r
be accepted as an excuse. In other words, the law does not allow a person to
behave as an ostrich and place your head in the sand--you have an affirmative duty
to be aware of your legal and inventive surroundings. Unfortunately, most
inventors don't know what they're supposed to do, and so very few do everything
for which they are held accountable.
For example, if you make a product that infringes a patent, the penalty for
intentional or knowing infringement are more than three times the penalties for
innocently infringing a patent. So, you want to tell the court you did not know about the patent.
However, if you did not search for relevant patents on the products you produce, the court may
conclude that if you had searched (done your due diligence--like looking for a speed limit sign),
you would have found the patent. If they conclude this, the effect is as if you had found the
patent and decided to produce your product anyway. However, if you had done a legitimate
patent search, whether or not you found that patent you would be better off. If the search
concludes that there is not infringement, then you have the search report to back you up. If the
search concludes that there is infringement, you can re-engineer the product to work-around
the patent, or seek a more favorable license. Similar consequences apply to filing information
disclosure statements and many other intellectual property matters. The only way to know how
to spot all these due diligence matters is to seek the advice of a patent attorney!
2. PromotingAFavorite Idea, Rather Than The Best Invention
Most inventors have more than one idea that they'd just love to produce, make, and
market. This should be an advantage. However, many inventors with limited
resources choose to move forward on one idea above all others for many reasons that
are, practically speaking, irrelevant. Some choose an idea because it's their first idea,
the most complex idea, the most high-tech idea, or they think that it's the idea that will
impress everyone the most. These are bad reasons to choose one idea over
another. These reasons have little to do with product success, and they may even
indicate that the idea will face expensive technical or production challenges, or
unlikely market acceptance.
To minimize the likelihood of making this mistake, talk with your patent attorney and invention
consultant about all your ideas (or as many as are manageable), and objectively rank each idea
based on relevant factors. Relevant factors include at least: the market need (does the invention
meets that need?), market acceptance, market size, time required to engineer and produce a
product, product development cost, and ultimate product cost in the market, for example. If
your patent attorney cannot help you with these factors, they should direct you to
someone who can. If they don't direct you to qualified help, seek another patent
3. MistakesAbout Selling Ideas
Some inventors believe that they can trick a company into paying them for an idea
by using a non-disclosure agreement. In fact, this happened so many times that
concepts have developed at law to prevent this kind of invention abuse. Other
inventors try to sell an idea--without anything else. If someone knocked on your door,
would you ever pay them money just to tell you something, especially if you
thought anyone could copy it or do it? Of course not! No company will, either.
Companies, and rational investors, invest in assets. With only a few exceptions, t h e
only ways ideas can become assets are through patents, trademarks, and
copyrights. Don't let anyone but a patent attorney tell you otherwise!
4. Patenting Mistakes
Some inventors try to do things on the cheap--they almost always end up losing
everything. YOU DO NOT GET RIGHTS TO AN INVENTION IF YOU MAIL
YOURSELF AN IDEA IN A SELF-ADDRESSED ENVELOPE. Don't sit on an
idea--legal rules in the US and outside the US severely punish inventors who do n o t
file a timely patent--if you have an idea that may be worth protecting, see a
patent attorney immediately. The other BIG mistake inventors make is thinking t h a t
they can patent-it-themselves. Consider the odds: 1) the books on self-
patenting are as long as some Russian novels, 2) by the time you complete chapter
ten (if you understand it at all) you'll have forgotten what you read in chapter one,
3) it wastes very valuable time pursuing your idea, 4) it is discouraging to read
complicated books on legal theory, and 5) no book on self-patenting is
comprehensive enough to guide you through all the barricades the patent office c a n
throw at you. Maybe the best evidence that you need a patent attorney is that the U S
Patent Office strongly recommends it. It amazes me that some people who
wouldn't dream of changing their own oil (which can be taught in about 30
minutes) try to write their own patent (which takes hundreds of law-school class
hours, hundreds of continuing education hours, and hundreds of on-the-job-
training hours). There is but one way to minimize patent mistakes – get a patent
5. Calling an Invention Marketing Scam
Marketing scam companies ripped-off Americans to the tune of over $100 million
last year. How can you know who's a true professional? The best way is to get a
referral from someone you know and trust who has used and been pleased with the
professional's service. If you do not know anyone who has worked with a
particular patent attorney before, check to see that they are not listed as being a
questionable company on the patent office's or the federal trade commission
websites – it's best to avoid such risk. Then, assuming you do call or write and begin
communicating with the company, if you feel pressured, run. If you get a
feeling that you're not being taken seriously, or that you are not being told the entire
story, begin seeking someone else that you can communicate with. The
relationship you have with your patent attorney and your marketing partners is
critical--it must be free of distrust and foster the free flow of information.
Steven Thrasher ThrasherAssociates, LLC, Richardson, TX 75080
(972) 918-9312, Email: Steve4laws@aol.com
Reprinted with permission from the Newsletter of the United InventorsAssociation
Www.uiausa.org United InventorsAssociation PO Box 23447 Rochester, NY 14692
National / International Upcoming Events
( Submitted by Robert Aiken )
January 11 - 14, 2006... International Builders' Show, Orlando, Florida.
Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive, Orlando, FL
The largest annual light construction show in the world-over a million-and-a-half square feet of the latest and
most advanced building products and services ever assembled. Hands-on demonstrations and working models
in over 300 building industry categories at the NationalAssociation of Home Builders' annual convention.
www.buildersshow.com (800) 368-5242, ext. 8111
January 17- 18, 2006... Northern Plains Inventors Congress / Marketplace for Entrepreneurs
Fargo Dome, Fargo, North Dakota
Organized by U.S. Senator Kent Conrad. All inventors, entrepreneurs, businesses and service providers are
invited to attend this annual event that attracts individuals from across the United States. The NPIC provides
inventors and entrepreneurs with the information necessary to effectively commercialize new ideas, and also
encourages innovation and economic development in the United States by exchanging ideas between
inventors, entrepreneurs and professionals.
January 29 - 31, 2006... ERAMid-Winter Conference & Trade EXPO, Miami Beach, Florida.
Electronic Retailing Association. Meet with the most influential players in the DR industry! Over 630
attendees and 39exhibitors establishing valuable contacts and promising leads.
February 4 - 5, 2006... Orlando Gift Show, Orlando, Florida.
Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive, Orlando, FL
General giftware, home and garden accents, gourmet gifts, party and paper goods, tabletop, holiday/seasonal,
collectibles, souvenir/resort merchandise, stationery, bed, bath and linen and more. Educational seminars
www.urban-expo.com/Content/395.htm (678) 285-3976
February 9-12, 2006... Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trade Show, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV
The worldwide annual gathering that unites manufacturer, retailer and all other industry stakeholders to trade,
source and learn about the latest products, innovations and trends in the shooting sports industry.
http://www.shotshow.org (888) 334-8720
February 10 - 12, 2006... Super Pet Expo, Edison, New Jersey.
NJ Convention & Exposition Center, Edison, NJ
www.superpetexpo.com/shows/edison (301) 564-4050 info@SuperPetExpo.com
March 18 - 19, 2006... Midwest Farm and Ranch Expo, St. Charles Missouri.
Compact agricultural equipment, tractor attachments, lawn/garden, livestock, utility construction, ranch and
www.mvea.com/allequipexpo (800) 430-6334 firstname.lastname@example.org
March 23 - 25, 2006... 10th Annual Meeting, National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance,
Marriott Portland Downtown, Portland, OR
An innovative, three-day format featuring structured and informal networking opportunities, new half-day
interest tracks, the annual March Madness for the Mind E-Team exhibition at the Oregon Museum of Science
and Industry, and a gala 10th anniversary celebration! Non-NCIIAmembers: $585
www.nciia.org (413) 587-2172
June 9 - 11, 2006... Minnesota Inventors Congress, Redwood Falls, Minnesota.
RedwoodArea Community Center, Redwood Falls MN
Exhibit your new product idea or invention; consult with the nation's leading experts; special Educational
Seminars for inventors; 6000+ anticipated spectators, prospects, & buyers; get helpful tips and enjoy
fellowship with inventors; meet successful independent inventors of America! The Minnesota Inventors
Congress is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization dedicated to the advancement of inventors and their ideas
www.inventhelper.org (507) 637.2344 email@example.com
Ask the Experts
QUESTION: If I have to deal with a manufacturer from overseas, is it ok to deal over
the internet or do I need someone as a go between?
Don Kelly: Before you lose your shirt, you must find someone who knows the ropes, a
consultant or professional representative experienced in connecting with
manufacturers. Ask for references and check those references carefully.
Jeff Dobkin: It's tough dealing overseas. It's tough to get references - but that's the only
way to build up a trust. Ask for 4 or 5 references they've done business with in the US.
Then CALL the references. If they can't supply you with that many or they don't check
out, don't use them. If they all check out - it can be worth the savings.
Edie Tolchin: Regarding dealing with an overseas manufacturer, whether by internet,
phone or fax, I would like to pose the following questions:
1) Are you at all knowledgeable about international trade and the various shipping
terms involved in negotiating the purchase of your product? Examples of shipping terms
are "FOB China," and "CIF New York," and they indicate exactly when the importer
takes possession of the order, who is paying for the ocean or air freight charges,
insurance, etc., as well as who (the supplier or the importer) is responsible for clearing
the shipment through Customs, local delivery from the port to your inland destination,
and so on. Is your purchase order contract drawn up with all terms clearly outlined, so
that the supplier cannot say, at a later date, "you never mentioned that!"
2) Are you familiar with any US government regulations that may affect the import
of your product into the USA? Such agencies would be the Consumer Product Safety
Commission (http://www.cpsc.gov/), the Federal Trade Commission
(http://www.ftc.gov/ ), US Customs and Border Protection (http://www.cbp.gov/), and
the Food & Drug Administration (http://www.fda.gov/)? There are many different
standards and regulations involving imported products that might not apply for products
made in the USA. You will also need to know if your product will be properly (legally)
labeled, and if the cartons (if applicable) are properly marked.
3) Is the prospective manufacturer willing to work with an independent
safety/testing lab to make sure your product complies with all of the government
regulations / safety issues required, as indicated above in #2?
4)Are you in a position to determine if the prospective manufacturer follows a Code
of Conduct regarding child labor standards, ethical business practices, and health and
safety conditions for their factory workers?
5) Do you know, in advance of shipment, approximately how much in import duties
(percentage of unit cost - where applicable) you will be paying for your product?
6) Do you know what international shipping documentation will be required for
your order to clear through US Customs?
7) Have you received proper counter-samples of your product? How is the
communication with the prospect supplier? Do they have a good command of the
English language and do they reply promptly to your e-mails?
8) Have you checked their references from other importers who have bought from
them? Have they told you of any name brands of other products they make that are sold
in the USA?
9) What type of financial arrangements will you be making with the supplier? Wire
transfer or Letter of Credit? (Never pay cash in advance).
If you can answer all, or at least most of these questions, then you can handle the project
on your own. If not, I would strongly advise working with a reputable import consultant
to help you through your first navigation of the "international trade maze."
(Continued on Page 12)
(Continued from Page 11)
Ed Tutle: It is o.k. to open discussions but be careful regarding enabling information
which may compromise your patent(s).
Also I suggest you work with a bank that has worked with export/import matters in the
country you may be dealing. Also work with a local university which may have a
Business Development Office, and connections to the Commerce Dept (US) re: export of
information. If you have a possibly patentable utility invention I suggest you contact a
patent attorney/agent who does overseas patents.
Pamela Riddle Bird: In working with inventors, as well as manufacturing companies on
an international basis, I would visit the manufacturing company in person that you are
considering signing a contract with. The costs for international airfare, if booked in
advance, are not as expensive as you may think. I would also hire an agent to work with the
company and check the products/inventions before shipping the product to make sure
they are the quality and standards that you ordered. This is standard in the industry. In
most situations, you pay the manufacturing company before the merchandise leaves the
respective country--before it arrives in the US.
To review the Non UIAMembers' Question of the Week go to our website at:
Reprinted with permission from the Newsletter of the United Inventors Association. Www.uiausa.org
. . . CES Show (Continued from Page 2)
The second location was at the Sands Convention Center and it housed some of the newest
emerging technology from smaller start-up companies. A lot of our fellow inventors were
here looking for that one big break to become a success. The smallest booth, about six feet
square, cost about $5,000 and had to be purchased well in advance of the show. Many of
them will go home disappointed, although richer for the experience. Rather than sitting in
a booth, I brought my innovations with me to walk the halls and showed them to everyone
that I felt might be interested (and some who were clearly not). I received plenty of
positive feedback and perhaps some good leads; enough to propel my efforts for yet
In addition to all of the displays and booths, there was room after room providing
educational lectures about all kinds of technology. I attended one on disruptive
technology, how the little guy can enter the marketplace and knock the bigger players on
their ear. I felt that I was definitely in the right place!
I never made it to the third location at Alexis Park where all of the really high end audio
was on display. There were only four days to try to do it all, so one has to pick and choose
what to see. It was like trying to hit all of the Disney theme parks in one extended
weekend. You might get to see all the rides, but you could never get to try half of them! If
you haven’t been to a trade show, you are missing the biggest opportunity you could ask
for. Find one in your field of innovation and make plans to be there!
GET THE LATEST Have you Expired ???
NEWS AND UPDATES
Just joking, but it may be a more
appropriate question than you think!
There might be a good chance that your
You can now get the latest TBIC news TBIC membership has expired without
and updates from a new website that has you realizing it.
Never fear! We have made things rather
http://www.tbicnews.blogspot.com simple for you to know, however. If you
received your newsletter by mail, look at
The website will keep members advised your mailing label on the back of this
of any schedule changes, meeting newsletter and you will see an expiration
information, speakers scheduled, date printed clearly above your name.
classes, trade shows, etc. It is easy to find This date reflects the end of your six-
and will also allow you to click on a link month or annual enrollment, whichever
to go to the TBIC website and other the case may be. This makes it pretty
important links. simple to keep up with your next renewal
It will be easy to access it as often as you Expires: 01/15/2006
like. Reminders of the URL (web John Q. Public
123 Main Street
address) will be given in several ways: Apt. 100
• When broadcast emails are sent out, the Anytown FL 12345
link to this update site will be included.
• You can include it in your “Favorites” Pay close attention and if, for some reason,
folder in your internet browser to make the expiration date shown is incorrect,
it easy to go back to again and again. please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we
• The newsletter will contain many will look back in the treasurer’s records to
banners that will remind you. verify it.
The site has been set up to not only inform
you of the latest news, but will also have
an archive of older news articles. If you
missed something when it was first
published you can read it from the Stop the Presses!
... or the presses have stopped and from them come
the brand new TBIC brochures. We have printed
2000 new brochures and would like to ask each of
Any suggestions for this news service you to take a few with you and post them at your
would be greatly appreciated. Send them local library, community center, apartment
by email to email@example.com . billboard or simply hand one to someone you know
with an inventive streak (or a TV broadcast) who
should know about TBIC. For too long we have
operated below the radar and it is time to make sure
that everyone knows the Tampa Bay Inventor's
GET LATE-BREAKING TBIC NEWS Council is right here in Tampa Bay! Please do your
part to help grow our community and expand the
www.tbicnews.blogspot.com networking opportunities for all of us.
Stay Informed – See what’s new
WEBSITES (Links) & PHONE NUMBERS
Brief descriptions in parentheses
U.S. Gov’t. General Information Site www.FirstGov.gov
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (800) 786-9199 www.uspto.gov
U.S.P.T.O. Kids’ Page www.uspto.gov/go/kids
FL Patent Depository Library; Tampa (813) 974-2726 www.lib.usf.edu/virtual/gov/patent
SATOP-Space Alliance Tech (NASA helps inventors; free) www.spacetechsoluttons.com
SBIR/STTR (gov’t. wants inventions) www.acq.osd.mil/sadbu/sbir
Small Business Administration (800) 827-5722 www.sba.gov
Florida Department of Revenue www.state.fl.us/dor
New Business Start Up www.sunbiz.org
USF Technology Incubator (free help to inventors; Tampa) www.incubator.usf.edu
Edison Inventors Ass’n. (inventor’s club, Ft. Myers) www.edisoninventors.org
Edison Inventors Youth Programs www.edison-science-inventors-fairs.org
World Intellectual Property Organization www.wipo.org
National Inventor Fraud Center www.inventorfraud.com
United Inventors Ass’n. (large nat’l. org.) www.uiausa.com
Inventors Digest (magazine) www.inventorsdigest.com
Patent Café (inventor’s issues) www.patentcate.com
From Patent to Profit (Bob DeMatteis; books, lessons, advice) www.frompatenttoprofit.com
The Basics of Patenting & Innovating www.inventors.about.com/od/firststeps/
Ask The Inventors www.asktheinventors.com
That's An Idea (inventor’s directory) www.ThatsAnldea.com
Inventions.com (inventor’s directory) www.inventions.com
Invention University www.inventionuniversity.com
InventNet - Inventor’s Network www.inventnet.com
MIT-Lemelson Inventors Site www.mit.edu/invent
Invention Development www.inventorehelper.com
Innovation TRIZ (problem solving method) www.innovation-triz.com
ASIT (inventor's problem solving method) www.start2think.com
KeyWord Patent Search (workbook) www.keypatent.net
Intergraph (“SmartSketch Invent” CAD software) www.intergraph.com/smartsketch/invent
CAD Std (very cheap CAD software) www.cadstd.com
Att’y. Referral Service www,AttorneyReferralOnLine.com
Contingency Lawyer Listing www.patent-dispute.com
Ed Dutkiewicz (reg. patent att’y.; Dunedin) www.colitz.com
David Ellis (patent att’y.; Largo) http://publish.pdesigner.com/davidrellis/index.jsp
Dave Kiewit (reg. patent agent; St. Pete) www.patent-faq.com
Smith & Hopen (reg. patent att'y.; Clearwater) www.baypatents.com
FL Inventors Network - John Blue (Tampa) www.finjb.com
Product Design, Prototyping, Manufacturing
ICTT (Paul Simmons; Largo) www.icttinc.com
Manufacturers Information Network www.mfginfo.com
Machine Design (rapid design & prototyping info.) www.machinedesign.com
Inventioneering (product design, prototyping; Clearwater) www.inventioneering.org
eMachineShop (product design, prototyping, free CAD) www.emachineshop.com
Mydea Technologies (product design, prototyping; Orlando) www.mydeatechnologies.com
Trade Show Hosts
Invention Connection www.inventionconnection.com
Trade Show Nat’l. Network www.tsnn.com
Invent Now America (USPTO contests; nonprofit org.) www.inventnowamerica.com
ERA Invention Showcase (Electronic Retailers Ass’n.) www.americaninventiveness.org
Business Data & Information
SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executives) www.score.org
Small Business Development Center (USA) www.asbdc-us.org
Entrepreneurial Education www.entre-ed.org
Information Tabulations www.census.com
World's Market Research www.worldopinion.com
Thomas Registry www.thomasregister.com
Industry Analysis http://research.thomsonib.com/
Innovative Product Technologies (Pam Riddle-Bird; Gainesville) www.inventone.com
Package Management Group, Inc. (pkg. & mktg; Tampa) www.pmg-packaging.com
Big Idea Group www.BigldeaGroup.net
Market Launchers www.marketlaunchers.com
Inventor’s Mall 123 www.InventorsMall123.com
Idea Village www.ideavillage.com
Ideas Happen (contests; age 18 - 29) www.ideashappen.msn.com/Pitch/
Parts, Supplies, Materials
Don’s Salvage Yard (used stuff; Clearwater) www.donssalvage.com
Skycraft Electronic Parts (new parts, Orlando) www.skycraftsurplus.com
American Science & Surplus (mech. & elec.) www.sciplus.com
W. M. Berg, Inc. (small parts supplier) www.wmberg.com
American Plastics Supply (supplier & mfr.; Clearwater) www.americanplasticsupply.com
A Student Member at the $25.00 rate must be
an active student. They may attend meetings OFFICERS AND
and receive the Newsletter. BOARD OF DIRECTORS
A Sustaining Member ($65.00/6 mos.
$125.00/yr.) enjoys the benefit of attending
meetings, seminars, socializing and Elizabeth Selm (President)
networking with the other members, receiving firstname.lastname@example.org
the Newsletter and participating as a reviewer
in our Focus Groups. They are allowed to
present their protected product to all of the Wayne Rasanen (Vice-President)
various companies that come to TBIC to find email@example.com
new products for the market such as
infomercial and catalog companies.
Sustaining members are allowed to utilize our Kirk Collins (Treasurer)
woodworking and machine shops for firstname.lastname@example.org
prototyping here at the TBIC headquarters.
Members usually find other members with the
prototyping knowledge that they need, and John Blue
pay that member for their time and for email@example.com
prototyping materials used. Sustaining
members also may ask to have a free Focus
Group done on their product, be allowed to John Korkos
display their product in our designated display firstname.lastname@example.org
areas and Annual members receive a free
Science Notebook, (valued at $15.00) to log
progress on their invention. Bruce Elliott
Corporate Membership of $250.00 will
allow your corporation to elect up to 3
Corporate members to sit in on meetings as Frank Pugni
well as all of the above. Also this membership email@example.com
will allow said corporation to have access to
new products before they are introduced to the
open market. Bob Richardson
Please Respect the Other Members
At a recent Board meeting, several members
said they have received complaints about
talking in the back of the meeting room while Founder: Ron E. Smith
the meeting is going on. Some are hard of
hearing, some are distracted. While we
acknowledge that networking is vital for all of
Members are invited to write letters for
us, we ask in the future that you try and do inclusion in the newsletter.
before or after the meetings. Paul Simmons
has also offered the use of the employee snack Email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax to
727-547-5490 or mail to TBIC at our office
room in the garage area if you need to talk address.
during the meeting. Availability is on a first
Letters should be brief, to the point, and be
come, first serve basis. Similar courtesy would
accompanied by member name, email address .
be appreciated by turning off your cell phone or and phone number. Letters can be edited for
putting it on silent answer during the meeting. clarity, taste and length. Letters will be printed
!-- gm as room permits.
Jan. 11, 2005 ....7:00 pm
Jan. 25, 2005 ....7:00 pm
Next Monthly Meetings
Feb. 8, 2005 .... 7:00 pm
Feb. 22, 2005 .... 7:00 pm
Web Site Info:
Visit our web site for information
about current and past
happenings. You can also
download current and past
newsletters in *.pdf format. You
will need to have Adobe Acrobat
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Just A Note
endorsed by the T.B.I.C. and may not
this newsletter are not necessarily
Information and articles printed in
We would like to remind our
members that our Board
be applicable to everyone.
meetings are open to you if you
would like to sit in on them. We
usually meet at 6:00 on the first
meeting date each month .
Need to Reach TBIC ? Newsletter Staff
Executive Editor . . . . George Mouzakis The Tampa Bay Inventors' Council
Office: Contributing Editor. . . . . . Robert Aiken (TBIC) is a corporation as defined in
Phone: 727-548-5083 Publisher . . . . . . . . Gary M. Simmons Chapter 617, Florida Statutes, as not-
for-profit. The corporation is
Toll-Free: 866-787-8242 To submit articles, send emails to: organized exclusively for charitable,
educational and scientific purposes.
The TBIC is a 501(C)(3) charitable
Call 727-251-4056 corporation, which allows the receiving
Articles and other items must be
George Mouzakis received by the first Tuesday of the of tax deductible contributions of goods
email@example.com odd months. and services. There are over 150 active
members willing to share their expertise
and experiences with fellow inventors.