Category Archives: Edison Nation

Danny Blacker’s Invention Selected for Licensing Deal with Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath and Beyond inventionAfter 6 years in Navy, Danny found his calling in mechanical and design engineering. Now, an engineering and design technician at Rice University in Houston, Texas, Danny has found the perfect platform to help students with the complications and hurdles that come with prototyping, while learning the ins and outs himself.

He came up with his idea in hopes of improving a routine human practice—bathing. Danny came to find that the solution he was looking for was either not offered locally or was too expensive to justify purchasing. Plus, the overpriced options offered were very limited. Rather than giving up and moving on, Danny saw an opportunity and went straight to the drawing board.

He stumbled upon Everyday Edisons while browsing Hulu one day and was immediately hooked. He later found Edison Nation and submitted his invention idea to our Open Search. The rest is history.

Bed Bath and Beyond product search

By the way, this was Danny’s first ever idea submission (and hopefully not the last!) to Edison Nation—a true testament to the clichéd phrase, “you never know.”

While Danny’s story is somewhat of a fairy tale around Edison Nation, it doesn’t undermine the handwork, dedication, and innovative thinking that went into his invention. While aren’t able to disclose any details of his invention at this time, in order to maintain the privacy of his intellectual property, but we hope that you will stay tuned for updates in the next coming month! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for news and updates!

Congratulations, Danny!


 

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Louis Foreman Files Amicus Brief in Continued Effort to Protect Inventors’ Rights

Edison Nation Medical’s CEO, founder and inventor, Louis Foreman continues his work to protect the rights of independent inventors at the highest levels.  Foreman’s recent Amicus Brief (“friend of the court”) was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Court in the case Halo v. Pulse, where he urges the court to allow judges to award enhanced (punitive) damages in favor of the patent owner.

In the case of Halo v. Pulse, the plaintiff, a patent owner, had offered the defendant a license for the patent, but the defendant not only declined the offer but continued to knowingly infringe the plaintiff’s patent.  When the plaintiff brought the case to court and won, the defendant was only ordered to pay a “reasonable royalty” which is no more than the original license that the plaintiff offered.  In cases where the infringer has “not acted in good faith,” or has caused “unnecessary expense and injury” to the patent owner, the judge should have the power to increase the damages owed to the patent owner beyond those that would have been obtained in a license agreement that the defendant refused in the first place

Indeed, infringers should not be able to knowingly and willingly violate patents for years but ultimately pay only the same amount they would have paid the patent owner for a license in the first place.  Currently, however, that is the situation that now exists, because an infringer can avoid being stuck with enhanced damages if the infringer’s attorneys, for the first time in the litigation, raise a newly-devised (but ultimately incorrect) argument that the patent is invalid or not infringed, even if this was not the actual reason why the infringer refused to take a license years earlier.

This brief points out the dire economic consequences to inventors and the U.S. economy if the patent rights of individual inventors and small businesses are not respected and protected against predatory infringers who will not respect their rights.

The brief also argues that judges should have the flexibility to increase damages based on “aggravated circumstances,” “unnecessary expense and trouble” and “any special inconvenience” suffered by the patent owner—terms that come straight from opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court in early patent cases that properly respected the rights of patent owners.

To read the entire Amicus Brief, click here.

 

 

About Louis Foreman

Louis Foreman and Edison Nation have a long history of protecting the rights of individual inventors.  Since 2008, Foreman has served on the nine person Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  In 2013, he was asked to serve as Chairman of PPAC until the end of his term in December 2014.  The PPAC was created by Congress in 1999 to advise the Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO on matters relating to the policies, goals, performance, budget and user fees of the patent operation.

Louis Foreman is a prolific inventor, product developer, innovation enthusiast and small business entrepreneur. Over the past 20 years Louis has created 9 successful start-ups and has been directly responsible for the creation of over 20 others. A prolific inventor, he is the inventor on 10 registered US patents, and his firm is responsible for the development and filing of well over 600 more. In recent years, he’s been called upon by Congress to share his point of view on patent reform, by USA Today for commentary on entrepreneurship and often to address schools and universities to propel the advancement of innovation for all ages.


 

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You are Cordially Invited to a Capitol Hill Lunch Discussion on the Topic of Patents and Startups

Intellectual property capitol hill

The Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) and the Inventor’s Project invite you to a Capitol Hill lunch discussion:

 

Patents and Startups: How Intellectual Property Supports our Innovation Economy

Date: January 29, 2015, 12:00 – 1:00 pm.  Lunch will be served.

Location: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2203.

**Free and open to the public**

 

Program Description: Please join us for a discussion with inventors, entrepreneurs, and expert thought leaders about the importance of patents in building successful companies and creating jobs. Too often, discussions about patent legislation overlook the role of patents in supporting the investment in start-ups, small businesses, and creative innovation and R&D that fuels our innovation economy. This panel will explore how patents form the foundation of new businesses, harnessing the value of our country’s unparalleled inventors and entrepreneurs, and the legal and policy decisions that affect that process.

Speakers:

  • Louis Foreman, Founder and Chief Executive, Edison Nation – Louis is a prolific inventor, product developer, innovation enthusiast and small business entrepreneur.  In 20 years, Louis has created nine successful startups and has been directly responsible for the creation of more than 20 others.
  • Valerie Gaydos, Founder, Angel Venture Forum – Valerie is an angel investor and business development expert.  She has worked with startups as a founder, investor, advisor, and coach for over 20 years.
  • Prof. Adam Mossoff, George Mason University School of Law – Prof. Mossoff has testified before both the House and Senate on patent legislation and has spoken out on issues in the patent policy debates in various media outlets and fora, including the New York TimesForbesSlate, and events at the PTO, DOJ, and FTC, among others.
  • Moderator: Charles Sauer, President, Entrepreneurs for Growth and Co-Directorof the Inventor’s Project Charles is an economist and policy specialist. He also makes frequent television appearances and has recently been published by Forbes, The Hill, and the Daily Caller in addition to other mainstream news outlets.

**Please RSVP to Kristina Pietro at kpietro@gmu.edu

 


 

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protoTYPING: I Got a 3D Printer… Now What?

There has been no hotter topic in product development over the last half decade than 3D printing. It has helped professional engineers and prototypers to cut design iteration time and bring products to market faster. Fortunately, the technology has been scaled down and there are a plethora of desktop sized units that are available to the shade tree inventor and at-home maker. If you have bought or received one of these units, after the initial excitement has worn off, you may be wondering what do with it next. I had the same thought before I bought my desktop printer about a year ago, but I have found it immensely useful.

3D systems home printer

3D Printers blend seamlessly into the home office.

 

 

Here are some tips and exercises to get your year of 3D printing started right:

 

Finding Models

Every 3D print job needs a computer-aided design (CAD) file to print from. Some inventors may already have CAD software to create their own models, but many 3D printing newbies may have neither the software nor the inclination to make their own files. There are a variety of free, user-friendly CAD software options for those who seek to learn. Each printer has its own specific software to setup a print job, but by and large, most printers require an .STL (STereoLithography) file to print from. Fortunately, there are many 3D printing open innovation sites that have CAD models in STL format and are ready to download and print.

Two of the easiest sites to get files from are Thingiverse from Makerbot and Cubify from 3D Systems. Each is free to register, and they both have a wide range of user-generated content that includes wearables, toys, art, figurines, and other models. Most of the content is free, but there are select models that require a purchase. Another site I’d recommend is GrabCAD. It is free to join and has a variety of free content, however, many of the files are not native STL files and need to be converted before printing.

3D printable files

Websites like Cubify.com have free downloads for 3D printers

 

Making it Stick

One of the hardest and most frustrating parts about creating 3D printed models is getting the part to stick to the build platform. Professional fusion deposition modeling (FDM) systems have fully enclosed build chambers that are heated. This allows each layer to be built at the same temperature, which makes the part geometry more consistent and allows for good adhesion to the build platform. Most consumer level printers, however, are open to ambient room air conditions, which makes it harder to get prints to stick. There are a few ways to fix this though. Some 3D printers come with a heated build platform and these should be turned on during while printing. There are also mechanical means to help the builds stick to the platform, such as applying masking tape over the build surface area. This gives the build platform a rougher surface texture to help the first layer lock into.

Another common technique is to apply a glue stick or other type of glue to the build platform to promote adhesion. 3D Systems Cube machines come with a Cubestick, which is a gooey glue stick and works really well on Cubes and other 3D printers.

Cubify Cube Glue

CubeStick and masking tape on the build platform helps keep prints from pulling off the print bed

 

Try A New Material

The great part about home-based 3D printing is that there is a range of different materials and colors that can be used. The two most common materials are Polyactic Acid (PLA) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). PLA is a biodegrade plastic that is great for 3D printing. It has a low melt temperature, flows really well and is forgiving to print with. ABS is a proper engineering plastic that is commonly used for injection-molded parts. It has a higher melt temperature than PLA, is very tough and can be harder to print with.

Many desktop 3D printers can be setup to accept either type of plastic, but be sure to consult the user manual to make sure. In general, PLA is better if you are a casual printer and are more interested in printing wearables and decorative models. If you need increased toughness, ABS is superior. A nice feature of ABS is that it can be brushed with acetone (the main ingredient in nail polish), which lightly melts the surface. This smoothes the exterior and can help make models water tight. It is good to test acetone on a sample part as it can bleach out the color on some dyed ABS filaments.

Acetone ABS discoloration

Color break on an 3D printed ABS orchid pot treated with acetone

Of course, 3D printer filament comes in a whole spectrum of colors, but there are many other types of filament that expand the capability of 3D printers. There are 3D printing filaments like NinjaFlex that is a special blend of flexible plastic that be used to create bendable models and are compatible with most printers. Zen Toolworks has an electrically conductive filament which is ABS blended with carbon and other materials. There are also some filaments that change color with changes in temperature like Afinia’s grey to white color change ABS. 3D printer materials are evolving at a rapid pace—this is only the tip of the iceberg of available specialty materials.

 

Make a Prototype

Printing other’s designs is fun, but the real power of owning a 3D printer is creating custom parts for your own prototypes. Creating a prototype for your Edison Nation idea submission is by no means required, but is something we sometimes recommend. The key to unlocking this functionality is to get a piece of CAD software to draw your own parts. The Edison Nation design team primarily uses SolidWorks CAD software, but it is a professional package and the price will most likely be outside the means of individual inventors. There are plenty of free or low cost CAD software packages available. One of my favorites is Cubify Invent from 3D Systems. It is only $49 and it has most of the core functionality of high end CAD software. There are other programs like Autodesk 123D, Tinkercad and FreeCAD that will allow you to model your own parts or creations.

No matter which package you choose, count on spending at least a few hours to get familiar with the software before being able to draw your own parts. More complex designs may require additional time. Once you learn the basics of 3D modeling, you can starting creating custom parts to help take your inventions to the next level.

3D printer prototype

A 3D printed prototype shock tower for my aftermarket R/C company, Vectorworks

Desktop 3D printing is a powerful technology, but many consumers wonder what to do with it once they have their printers up and running. There are plenty of websites to download existing CAD models, but once you learn the basics, there are some good 3D modeling packages that are free or low cost to make your own designs. There are also tons of great material colors and technologies to help take your 3D printed parts to the next level. 3D printing is an integral part of the design process at Edison Nation, and could be an integral part of yours as well.

 


 

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We exist to get product ideas out of your head and onto retail shelves, all at no risk to you.

 

Nick Alcov Lands Licensing Deal with NuVue Products!

We’re excited to announce a new licensing deal has been signed with NuVue Products. Congratulations to Edison Nation inventor, Nick Alcov!

invention licensingNow residing in Arroyo Grande on California’s central coast, Nick came to the U.S. with his parents from Russia. He spent his college years studying toxicology and bacteriology where he first learned the negative effects pesticides can have on humans’ health and the environment.

Nick conceived the idea for his invention similar to how many inventors do – by experiencing a problem.

“We repeatedly spent much time and money on flowers and plants to beautify our yard, and on fruit and vegetable plants only to have insects and snails destroy all our hard work. I wanted to develop a consumer product that was easy to use and would repel insects and snails without dangerous pesticides.”

The solution to his problem later came to him in Egypt while observing a common ancient practice. He applied his ‘BING’ moment to an idea for a new product and found his problem to be solved.

Before getting too excited, Nick pursued marketing evaluation and a patent search and assessed his commercialization options before investing his own money. “Don’t quit your day job,” says Nick. “Other companies wanted to represent my products for less than commission split, but they did not have the infrastructure of Edison Nation. “

Nick submitted his idea to Edison Nation through the Insider Licensing Program where the internal licensing team actively researched and identified potential licensors and pitched the idea to interested parties. Almost four years later, Nick is able to say his invention has been licensed and is on its way to commercialization.

Edison Nation is excited to work with Nick and NuVue Products to make the world a safer and greener place! Be sure to stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages for product development and manufacturing updates.


 

 Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”? We exist to get product ideas out of your head and onto retail shelves, all at no risk to you.

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Tips to Improve your Product Idea Submissions: Videos

Have a great idea you’d like to share with Edison Nation for a potential licensing deal or an As Seen on TV (ASOTV) campaign? As mentioned in a recent blog post, videos are great way to help the Edison Nation team visualize an invention idea as a tangible product and understand how it works. Explainer videos are most valuable when you already have a prototype or Proof of Concept (POC) to demonstrate, but props and other visuals, such as CAD Drawings or just a spoken explanation may suffice as well.

Note: Videos are never required as part of Edison Nation’s consumer product licensing or As Seen on TV (ASOTV) product selection process, but may help us better understand your vision and share your idea to interested parties. This is the fifth post in the fourth post in the Tips to Improve your Product Idea Submissions series.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind while creating a product explainer video for your invention submission:

Think it through first. Consider writing a script, or at least an outline for your video. A strong foundation will help you organize your content, making it easy for the audience to understand and follow. Put the most important details in the first 30 seconds of the video and ensure that your thoughts flow seamlessly from start to finish. It may be helpful to share your plan with an “outsider” before filming in order to get a fresh perspective.

The shorter the better. Our licensing team reviews hundreds of idea submissions a day. We realize you may have a lot you want to tell us about your invention idea, but this video is meant to be an overview, a “hook” to get us (and potential licensing partners!) interested in learning more. But, this doesn’t mean that you should talk quickly to pack your information in. As a rule of thumb, aim for 150 words per minute ensuring clear pronunciation.

Most importantly, humans by nature have short attention spans. People are able to dedicate more focus on shorter videos.

Online video attention span graph

 

Keep it simple. Our licensing team has over 150+ years of combined experience in a variety of industries but that doesn’t mean we are experts in every field. If your demonstration relies on complex theories or intricate mechanics, be sure to explain it on a level that most people will be able to understand. If you are opting to use visuals such as sketches and CAD drawings, ensure that they are simplified to include a high level overview of the concept.

Benefits over features. The natural temptation is to show off as many features as possible, however the benefit is what really matters. What makes your idea better than what is already available and why should our team and potential licensing partners care? Lead with the product benefits and support the benefits with features as proof points, if necessary.

A product feature is a characteristic of your product that describes its appearance, its components, and its capabilities.

For example, the XYZ Entertainment Center allows you to record up to three movies at the same time.

A product benefit is an advantage or value that your product will offer to the end consumer.

For example, the XYZ Entertainment Center replaces up to three DVDs saving you space, eliminating hardware, and simplifying setup for multiple recordings.

Keep it professional. This may seem like common sense, but we cannot tell you how many times we get videos with obnoxious background music or poor audio. Ensure you are using a device that will produce audible sound and a clear picture. Keep the setting of your video in mind. Is their clutter or distraction in the background? Clean it. Are their animals or children running around in the background? Wait until you are in a quieter setting. Be sure the focus is on your invention idea, not its surroundings!

Lastly, you never know who will see your video, so it is always best to spend an extra minute or two to think it through and execute. Oftentimes the video is the first thing the licensing team or prospective licensor with review. As such, product explainer videos offer a huge opportunity to show off your idea and convince us why it is the next big thing.


 

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10 Inventions that Make Life at the Office Easier (Or Not)

Life at the office can be stressful. Coffee spills, stolen lunches and frigid hands are all matters that can quickly put a damper on your day and detract from your work productivity. But thanks to ingenuity of humankind, inventions exist to solve those pesky everyday problems you encounter while at work.

Here’s a round up of 10 inventions to make life at the office a little bit easier.

1. Lock Cup

Lock Mug
Image Credit: Flickr.com

The ultimate office coffee mug protection solution.

 

2. Theft-Proof “Moldy” Lunch Bags

Inventions that solve those everyday problems
Image Credit: Hiconsumption.com

Bullies at work taking your lunch? Not anymore.

 

3. USB Mouse Hand Warmer

Office hand warmer
Image Credit: Tuicool.com

A cozy cover to combat your office’s drafty air conditioning.

 

4. Keyboard Cleaning Putty

Electronics clean gel
Image Credit: Thisiswhyimbroke.com

The perfect excuse to keep “Silly Putty” at your desk.

 

5. USB Coffee Warmer

USB Mug Warmer

Image Credit: Gizmodo.com

Working hard doesn’t have to mean cold coffee.

 

6. Clear View Highlighter

See through highlighter
Image Credit: Flickr.com

Now you can actually see what you highlight.

 

7. Office Sandbox

Home office beach
Image Credit: Lifehacker.com

Go to the beach without using precious vacation days.

 

8. Pen Cap Utensils

Dine ink

Image Credit: Hiconsumption.com

Multitask between work and food seamlessly.

 

9. Under Desk Foot Hammock

Foot hammock
Image Credit: Gizmodo.com

Kick up your feet and get comfortable.

 

10. Table Clip Drink Holder

Table Drink Clip
Image Credit: Flickr.com

Prevent that dreaded coffee-meets-laptop-meltdown.

Do you have any handy gadgets that make life at the office? Do any of these inventions seem odd to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


 

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Fear-Mongering About Foreign Patent Trolls

* This article was written by Edison Nation CEO, Louis Foreman and was originally posted by RollCall.com.

USPTO sealAs was highlighted at the recent nomination hearing for Michelle Lee as the next director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office it is important to take a look at the patent landscape and the talk of more legislative action on our patent system under discussion in Congress.

I have been in the invention business my entire adult life. I have 10 patents of my own and have started nine successful companies. And as the CEO of Edison Nation, I work with hundreds of aspiring inventors to bring their ideas to market. The success of my companies and of the independent inventors we work with is based on a strong patent system that protects our inventions and creates investment incentives for financial partners.

Invention companies

But I’m concerned independent inventors, small businesses and the property protections we all depend on are about to become collateral damage as Congress once again tries to crack down on “patent trolls.” The popular definition of a patent troll as used in the congressional debate is a company that doesn’t make any products itself, but that owns patents and tries to make money by accusing other companies of infringement.

No one would ever intentionally call an inventor a “troll,” but the truth is that most inventors don’t manufacture the inventions they patent. Some don’t have the capital for manufacturing, while others don’t have the desire or expertise to run operating companies.

Unfortunately, as far as current reform proposals are concerned, this means inventors who license their technology will be treated like “trolls” as legislation would make patent licensing more difficult, and would make it prohibitively expensive to hold infringers accountable when a patented invention is used without permission. That would tilt the playing field to big corporations that have the deep pockets to bury small players in expensive legal proceedings or through intimidation.

This state of affairs has come about in part because corporate PR machines churn out an endless stream of articles spreading fear of the patent troll threat; spurring lawmakers to take action despite objections from small inventors, universities and others. Now, these patent critics are rolling out a new, even scarier villain: foreign trolls — government backed ones, no less.

“Government-sponsored patent trolls amass patents and assert them against companies from other countries, including American firms,” warned James Bessen and Michael Meurer, two prominent patent-reform advocates, in a recent column for the Boston Globe.

But make no mistake: This is yet another argument aimed at spreading fear to score political points and push legislation that poses a serious risk to independent inventors, backed by no evidence at all of any real threat to American firms.

Bessen and Meurer, the ones now warning about “foreign patent trolls,” are the same two people who famously warned that lawsuits by patent trolls cost the United States $29 billion a year. Patent-reform advocates constantly cite their estimate as a hard cold fact, but their claims, their logic and their “evidence” are riddled with inaccuracies and misleading extrapolations.

The biggest hole is that they define a “troll” as any entity that holds patents but doesn’t manufacture anything. By their definition, the vast majority of independent inventors are trolls. Edison Nation, despite never filing a patent lawsuit, falls into this basket; because we help inventors license their ideas and share in the profits.

This isn’t a small discrepancy. By one careful analysis, between 20 and 30 percent of “troll” lawsuits actually came from individual inventors protecting their hard earned patent rights. If the $29 billion estimate sounds misleading, it’s nothing compared to the whopper they are telling about “foreign trolls” that are “frequently active in U.S. courts.”
Joff Wild, the editor of Intellectual Asset Management Magazine, dug into this. For starters, he found that the so-called foreign trolls have been all but absent from American courts. A French company cited by Bessen and Meurer has filed three lawsuits in the United States since 2011, and those weren’t even against American companies. Japan’s alleged troll is an R&D venture involving 26 companies, most of which have a long track record in R&D, and it hasn’t filed any lawsuits in the U.S.

The Taiwanese “troll” doesn’t even faintly resemble a patent-assertion company. It is nonprofit R&D powerhouse that’s been around since 1973, and has 6,000 employees, including 1,300 Ph.D.s. It does occasionally defend its patents in court. But that hardly makes it a troll. As Wild puts it, “Basically, we are talking about a world-class R&D entity that owns a lot of patents because it does a lot of R&D.”

Personally, I wasn’t terribly worried about foreign patent trolls in the first place. But I am worried about the use of scare tactics to push through laws that will cause great harm to independent inventors and America’s invention ecosystem.

I won’t stand by quietly, and neither should anybody else who cares about inventors and keeping America the world leader in groundbreaking invention. These are complicated and nuanced issues and while I take some comfort in comments by nominee Michele Lee that “we need to proceed with caution” on any patent legislation we all need to take into account the precarious future of our patent system and act accordingly.


 

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Even if you don’t have an invention idea right now you can still join Edison Nation for free and learn from our community why we’re the trusted source for bringing product ideas to market.

GreenWorks is Looking for 40v Power Equipment and Tools

Did you know: Gas-powered lawn mowers launch as much pollution into the air in one hour as a vehicle does while driving 100 miles, the EPA reports. GreenWorks tools provide all the power you need without polluting the air or forcing you to keep hauling your gas can to the nearest station.

71ODJd4rdbL._SL1500_ B0074EBU9U-1 GreenWorks

GreenWorks wants to expand their 40-volt line of cordless outdoor and indoor products, and have come to Edison Nation to find and license your innovative ideas.

The goal of this search is to find and develop new 40v products. When coming up with your invention ideas, make sure it makes sense – a 40v flashlight is likely overkill, but an innovative 40v professional work light is on the right track.

Cordless power equipment Cordless power equipment Cordless power equipment

In addition, your ideas should:

  •  Be cordless
  •  Focus on being “green” and sustainability
  •  Operate on a high-voltage platform
  •  Make life easier for consumers
  •  Replace gas and electric products
  •  Have a target price point of $199+

Think you’ve got a great idea for GreenWorks? Submit your invention idea, here.

Happy inventing!


 

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Even if you don’t have an invention idea right now you can still join Edison Nation for free and learn from our community why we’re the trusted source for bringing product ideas to market.

Tips to Improve your Product Submissions: Prototypes

Have a great idea you’d like to share with Edison Nation for a potential licensing deal or As Seen on TV (ASOTV) campaign? As mentioned in a recent blog post, prototypes are great way to help the Edison Nation team visualize an invention idea as a tangible product. If you want to take your prototype a step further, consider including a Proof of Concept.

What is a Proof of Concept (POC), you ask? A Proof of Concept is a demonstration of some sort that verifies the proposed concept or theory has the potential for a real world application. In this sense, a Proof of Concept is a demonstration, typically using a prototype, which validates the functionality of the idea.

Note: Prototypes are never required as part of Edison Nation’s consumer product licensing or As Seen on TV product selection process, but may help us better understand your vision and share your idea to interested parties. This is the fourth post in the Tips to Improve your Product Idea Submissions series, be sure to stay tuned as we dive into each suggestion and bring in EN members from different divisions to discuss.

As Seen on TV

Perfect Bacon Bowl Tinfoil Prototype

Here are some considerations to keep in mind while creating a prototype or proof of concept for your product submission:

Keep the goal in mind. What are you trying to convey and how are you going to best convey it? Are you trying to prove a certain functionality works? A proof of concept with everyday materials should do the trick. Are you trying to show us a novel design for an existing invention? Then your focus should be on the aesthetics of the materials and less so the functionality. The materials you use, the multimedia type (video, image, etc.), and the type of prototype should all be considered before moving forward. 

It is not necessary to spend a lot of money. In a previous blog post we discuss how everyday materials can be used to create prototypes. This is a great resource for the everyday inventor who is not able to invest resources behind their invention ideas. Even if your idea is complex, think about the important features you’d like to represent with a tangible prototype and stick to the resources you already have available.

A foam core prototype

A foam core prototype

It doesn’t have to be pretty. Unless you are submitting an idea for a new way to design something, it does not need to perfect. Especially if you are including a prototype as a proof-of-concept, the focus is on the functionality, rather than the design. Don’t get bogged down by the aesthetics – instead focus on validating the concept and ensuring your description accurately conveys your vision.

A card stock prototype for a pencil sharpener exhaust

A card stock prototype for a pencil sharpener exhaust

Listen to your prototype. Creating a prototype allows inventors to progress their idea even further and address concerns that they may not have considered as mere thoughts. Play with it and use it. Perhaps while creating a proof of concept you will think of a better way to accomplish the same goal.

As Thomas Edison once said, “We now know a thousand ways not to build a lightbulb.” In the end, be sure you are keeping a levelheaded approach to your inventing and prototyping. By creating a rough prototype, you will quickly understand what is going to work and what will not so you can readjust your priorities and dedicate your valuable resources accordingly.

 


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