Category Archives: Edison Nation

Patents 101: When to File for Foreign Patent Protection

foreign patent protectionWhile preparing to file for patent protection, it may be difficult to determine which countries, if any, may be important for an invention’s patent portfolio. While applying for a U.S. patent may be standard, what about Canada, China, or the European Union? There are many considerations to keep in mind when making this decision, and it’s wise to have a basic understanding of foreign patent protection.

 

Why file for foreign patent protection?

An invention is only protected in the countries in which an inventor files for patent protection.  If a patent is applied for in the U.S. so a product can be sold in the U.S., foreign patent protection may not be necessary. However, if a product is to be sold internationally, or even in just a single country outside of the US, this may be the better route.

It is not uncommon for a seller of goods to find knock-offs, or even their own products, being sold in a foreign jurisdiction.  The product may be offered at a lower cost, undercutting sales. In another example, the sale of counterfeit products made from cheap materials may hurt a brand after unsuspecting purchasers buy a product bearing the brand, which quickly falls apart.  A lack of patent protection in that country can make it difficult, if not impossible, to shut down these unauthorized sellers or counterfeiters.  These issues may become a drain on time and other resources, not to mention revenue.

Discussing the situation with a patent counsel is always a safe bet. Keep in mind, Edison Nation has an in-house legal counsel to address any intellectual property concerns. If seeking an external counsel, he or she can help you decide if, and where, to file for foreign patent protection.  Aside from innovation itself, a patent attorney is arguably the single greatest resource in building your patent portfolio.

 

How to obtain and maintain foreign patent protection

An important factor in filing for foreign patent protection is priority, which was discussed in a previous installment.  To file a foreign patent application claiming priority on a US. patent application, the application must be filed within 1 year.  This is true of both provisional and non-provisional applications, meaning the filing of a provisional application starts the clock and foreign filing patent applications must be filed by the same deadline as a non-provisional patent application.  Design patent applications have a shorter priority period of 6 months.

Foreign patent protection may be filed at any time, but understand that priority cannot be claimed to an earlier application once outside the statutory period.  The big concern here is that the benefit of the earlier filing date is lost.  While this may not be the ideal approach, there are circumstances in which filing foreign patent protection without a claim a priority may actually be favorable.

A patent counsel can fully advise you as to what course of action is best.  A patent counsel will work with a counsel in the country or countries in which you protection is being sought, as most often foreign applications must be filed by firm within that jurisdiction, with some exceptions.  While the individual patent laws vary, the process is more or less the same as in the U.S..  After a period of formal examination, a patent may or may not issue, depending on the circumstances of the application itself. This process may be shorter or longer than that of the U.S., depending on the individual country.

Another thing to bear in mind is patent maintenance.  Much like the U.S., most foreign jurisdictions have certain fees which are required at various intervals once a patent has issued.  The costs and deadlines vary from country to country, and a patent counsel can advise on the costs in advance of the deadlines.  What is called “maintenance fees” in the U.S., other countries often refer to as “renewals.”  The outcome is the same, however, payment must be completed in the deadline or your patent will lapse.

In sum, foreign patent protection is not for everyone, and individual needs will likely change on a case-by-case basis. The Edison Nation in-house counsel will help determined which countries it is prudent to file foreign patent protection for.  Specific facts surrounding each invention are considered to make this determination.  This is a very complex and nuanced area of patent law, and this low-level overview barely grazes the surface. The good news? Inventors will never need to pay a dime or spend any time on filing patents for ideas selected for commercialization by Edison Nation.

 


 

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From G1-G8: Mastering Stage 6 of the Invention Submission Process

Whether you are new to Edison Nation or a seasoned inventor, submitting your idea into our secure system is the first step in bring your idea to market. As you may know, every invention idea submitted is reviewed through a complex, eight-stage process to determine its likelihood of licensing or As Seen on TV success.

So, what is the secret? What do you need to do to achieve a G6 or more? In March, we started a blog series where we give you a look into what happens when your idea is shared with the Edison Nation review team. In this post, we are going to review stage 6 AND provide some hints and tips to get you to your next green check mark and one step closer to successfully getting your idea on store shelves.

Green check button

In this post, I’ve tapped our General Counsel, Katie Foss, to dive into the world of intellectual property (IP). In addition to being the general counsel for Edison Nation, Katie is responsible for vetting submissions’ patentability and leading the IP review process once they reach Stage 6.

edison nation

IP Review Process Overview

Intellectual property is at the heart of what we do here at Edison Nation. Whether or not we can close a licensing deal with a company hinges on the level of IP protection available. Innovation Search sponsors want to know that they are getting a new and innovative product, and that they are the only player in the game. Companies are less likely to pursue a product that has a lot of competition, so we attempt to find that competition ahead of time to ensure we are only delivering to sponsors those submissions that have a real chance at commercialization. For this reason, it is helpful when inventors come to us with IP, but it’s not required. If a submission lists IP, we’ll check the status of the patent or application. If not, we use the following IP review process to help identify existing competition and attempt to find existing IP in the space.

 

How We Conduct an IP Review

We use a variety of resources during an IP review. If an inventor lists existing IP, we use the Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website to check the status. The issue here, however, is that only published applications are available to search. This is generally true of all websites, as the USPTO will not release the information on its own site prior to publication. As a result, there may be existing IP that we cannot discover prior to that point in the process. Also, provisional patent applications are not published by the USPTO, so these are also unavailable to search. As a result, we request that inventors upload filing receipts or other patent documentation with a submission. This not only helps us understand the product or concept being presented during an IP review, but it also helps us show the value of the product or concept to the search sponsor.

If a submission has reached Stage 6 and it does not have IP, we’ll search a variety of websites listing published applications and issued patents to determine whether or not we think the product has a chance at gaining IP protection. During this search, we often begin with a general Google search to familiarize ourselves with the product. This is especially true of highly specialized or complex concepts, as we want to ensure we understand what is being presented. We will then begin searching existing IP for similar ideas. We use Google Patents, Free Patents Online, and other sites that present published applications and issued patents to the public. During our IP review, we will compare your images, descriptions, and all other available information in your submission to the specifications, claims, drawings, etc. listed in published patents and applications, and we use this information to make a determination as to whether your idea meets patent requirements.

 

What We Look For in an IP Review

What we look for depends upon the submission itself. We do look at each and every attachment you upload to your submission! These attachments are very useful in helping us understand your idea.

We seek to find the core function or utility of the product or concept to determine what about it, if anything, is novel and unique. Once we understand the nature of the submission, we’ll attempt to find any and all existing products and IP that relates to what the inventor is presenting. We spend considerable time analyzing the results of our search to ensure we aren’t comparing dissimilar ideas. We also filter IP results by country, as our immediate concern is patent protection in the United States.

A very straightforward product is often much easier to compare to existing products, as what you see is what you get. We will generally do an image search in conjunction with a search of published applications and issued patents as part of our IP review. These searches yield different results, and together they are fairly comprehensive. While a basic Google image search may not sound very effective, the fact is that the use of specific keywords will produce thousands of images that can be used to compare the submission to existing products in the marketplace, and these images often provide very useful insight into potential competition. We can view hundreds of products in a matter of minutes, and this helps us narrow down our findings.

Conversely, a complex product utilizing complicated mechanical, engineering, or scientific concepts will require a more in-depth analysis. These types of submissions may require us to spend some time learning about a concept to better understand it. This is crucial in that we never seek to “pass” on a submission simply because it is complicated. We value the education and experience of every inventor, and we understand that not all submissions are easily comprehended at first glance.

We also look for disclosures made to outside parties. Under current US patent statutes, disclosure of a product or concept to third parties, without having filed for patent protection, can start the clock on your idea’s patentability. For this reason, inventors must be cautious prior to filing for patent protection. Inventors are advised to always limit disclosures to third parties, and to do so only under a nondisclosure agreement or after filing a patent application.

 

IP and Patenting Resources

  • The Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system provides IP customers a safe, simple, and secure way to retrieve and download information regarding patent application status. Please note that an application must be published, and provisional patent applications are unavailable via Public Pair.
  • Google Patents is a very helpful tool in that it allows you to search keywords within published applications and issued patents.

 

The Goal of Conducting an IP Review

Our ultimate goal is to see your invention commercialized. The best way to get your idea in front of a search sponsor is to have something that matches the search criteria, is new and useful, and is capable of gaining IP protection. We try to deliver to the search sponsor the ideas that most closely match what they are looking for, and those ideas must also be something they can license and protect. Companies are always looking for the next greatest product, and we strive to get those products from our inventors. To have the best chance of success, give the sponsor something exciting that they’ve never seen before.

 

Common IP Pitfalls

  • Third party disclosures of your unpatented idea, potentially limiting your patent protection.
  • Submitting ideas that are already present in the marketplace.
  • Not maintaining your patent applications or issued patents, causing them to lapse.
  • Not telling Edison Nation about your IP. If we don’t know about it, we can’t use it to your benefit.

Hints and Tips

  • Google your idea!
  • Do a basic patent search.
  • Visual aids are very helpful to us, and we appreciate all the photos, videos, and other media you upload with your submission. We look at everything.
  • Tell us about your IP. Upload all USPTO filing receipts and copies of your patent information with your submission.
  • Be sure to list all third-party disclosures of your unpatented idea. Knowing about it helps us determine whether or not it bars patent protection.

 

The next post will take a closer look at what happens during our Finalist stage, Stage 7.

We hope this information provides a bit more insight into what we look for and we look forward to reviewing YOUR idea soon! Happy Inventing!

 


 

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protoTYPING: Working with Metals

The conveniences of our modern world would not exist without metals. They have properties that are useful to engineers and are the building blocks of many of our most important products. They are tough and hard, conduct heat and electricity, and have a high melting point. Because of these great properties, they have found a place in refrigerators, vehicles, televisions, phones, ovens, and many of life’s essential products.

The only truly life changing invention that does not contain metal in it is the fanny pack. (But even those require tools made of metal to manufacture it.) All kidding aside, metals are really useful for finished products, and are also useful in making prototypes. Due to their versatility, working with metals has become increasingly easy as they can be manipulated in many ways.

Here are a few different ways metals can be processed:

Machining

One of the most popular ways to turn a block of raw metal into a finished part for a prototype is by machining. Machining is any process that uses a tool or bit to progressively remove small amounts of material to “whittle” the material to a finished dimension. There are many different machining methods, but the two most popular are milling and turning.

Milling is done on a milling machine and uses a rotating cutting tool to cut a block of material that is fixed to a moving bed. Turning is done on a lathe and has the opposite setup where the raw material is the spinning part, and the tool is slowly moved against it to remove the material. Lathes and mills are available in both manual and CNC versions. Manual versions are great for making quick prototypes and modifications as the material can be fixed in the machine and run in just a minute or less. CNC lathes and mills require a CAD file and additional software to create the instructions for where the machine needs to move. However, they can create complex shapes accurately and quickly for complex parts, and they are much better at making large quantities.

working with metals
The Tormach CNC cutting a detail into a key.

 

Welding

Welding is a process that allows separate pieces of metal to be rigidly attached to each other. There are many different styles of welding and welding machines, but the most common are electric arc welders. They work by using electricity to melt the area around the two adjoining pieces while a filler rod of metal is fed into area to join them.

Once the pieces are cooled, they are very strongly bonded together. One of the biggest caveats to welding is that the materials being welded together need to be of similar metals and similar thickness. Welding can also cause parts to warp. The process dumps a lot of heat into the parts and when they cool they can warp. Parts for prototypes that need accurate features need to be machined after welding to get the required accuracy.

working with metal
Welding some metal parts for a prototype.

CNC Cutting

Working with metals is made easy with CNC cutters such as a laser or water jet. A water jet uses high pressure water mixed with an abrasive aggregate to cut through metals, and laser cutting uses a high power focused laser beam to burn through the material. In either case, the cutting head is mounted to a motion platform that can be driven from a CAD file to make accurate cuts. Most water jet and laser cutters can only cut two-dimensional shapes, but there have been innovations in water jet technology that make angled cuts and cuts on round pieces possible.

Both processes produce parts fast, but they both have shortcomings. Laser cutters introduce a lot of heat into the area around the cut, which can at best cause discoloration and at worst cause a degradation of material properties. Parts cut using a water jet are usually submerged in water so heat buildup is not an issue. However, as the jet of water gets wider the further it is from the exit of the nozzle, the edge of the parts starts to taper. Despite these weaknesses, they are still very useful for making prototype parts.

working with metals
Cutting a gear shaped part for a prototype with the water jet.

 

3D Printing

3D printing is not just for plastics. Metals, among other types of materials can be 3D printed too. The primary technology used in metal 3D printers is called Direct Metal Laser Sintering or DMLS. DMLS machines have a vat of powdered metal and a laser that solidifies selected areas to build a part. The process is very efficient and the finished parts are over 99% as dense as raw material.

DMLS is great because it uses real engineering metals like aluminum, titanium and stainless steel, and it also allows for intricate shapes to be created that machining processes cannot create, such as internal passageways and undercuts. As amazing as the DMLS technology is, it is still relatively young and is expensive to have done. 3D printing metal is really only viable for small parts that require the material properties of metal.

 

Photo Etching

Photo etching is a way to create highly detailed, yet thin metal parts. Photo etching is a similar process to making photographic prints in a darkroom. A photosensitive laminate is placed over a thin sheet of metal. Then a mask is placed over the laminate and the sheet is exposed to UV light. The sheet is then put in a developer bath and the exposed areas are dissolved away leaving laminate to protect the metal in certain areas. Then it is placed in an acid bath and the unprotected areas of metal are dissolved away leaving the finished part behind.

Photo etching is only possible when working with metals up to .080” thick, but it can be done on just about any type of metal. It does not require special tooling, so iterations of prototype designs can be made cheaply. One of the most common uses for photo etching is to make copper traces for circuit boards, and other small parts for electronics. Photo etching can also be used to make filter screens, gaskets and springs. While specialist groups typically make production parts, DIY kits are available for the home prototype.

working with metal
A batch of photo etched aluminum parts showing the intricate detail that the technique produces.

 

Metals are a versatile group of materials and have desirable properties for both prototypes and production products. They can be processed and turned into parts in a variety of ways. Each method has unique equipment requirements, speed and price point, but when properly used can yield robust parts that help make products come to life.

 


 

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InvENtor Spotlight: A Q&A with Colleen Noonan

For our June Inventor Spotlight, we’re highlighting one of the ladies of Edison Nation, Colleen Noonan! A social worker and mother of three, Colleen has been an active Edison Nation member since 2013 and is an active participant on our community forums.

We had the opportunity to talk to Colleen and learn how she started inventing, how she comes up with her ideas and any advice for those trying to bring their inventions to market.

EN inventor

Where is your hometown?

Baltimore, Maryland

Where do you currently reside?

I have lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania since 2011. Between Baltimore and Pittsburgh we lived in San Antonio, Texas, for four years. I have three kids (7, 10, 13).

What is your professional background?

I received my Bachelor’s degree (West Virginia University) and Master’s degree (University of Maryland) both in Social Work with a healthcare specialization. I have worked in every aspect of Social Work (mental health, children/families, drug/alcohol, etc.), but for the last 12 years I was employed, I worked in the hospital and home health care setting.

When I had my first child 13 years ago, I decided I wanted to stay home with them and put my career on hold. There has been no bigger personal joy for me in this decision. My husband was in dental school at the time so I bartended on the weekends and started a small cookie business called Colleen’s Cookies to help support us. I sold to several speciality coffee and wine/cheese stores, as well as a few law firms in the city. I actually didn’t really know what I was doing and didn’t make a lot of money, but I LOVED it and loved how people loved my product. The cookies were very thin, with the perfect balance of chewy AND crisp. Hard one to find IF you are a fan of that kind of cookie. I still make them today (but don’t sell them).

I’m hoping to return to Social Work part-time after my 13 year sabbatical in the Fall.

How did you hear about Edison Nation?

Andrea Zabinski. She and I connected at one point probably three or four years ago. She lives only 40 minutes away from me. I listened to her in an interview and was so impressed I tracked her down and emailed her to learn more about her. She’s a wonderful person, a great inventor and a perfect example of “get ‘er DONE!”

As a Social Worker and a mom of three, how do you approach the inventing process?

Great question because my whole career was about collaboration and communication with other healthcare professionals and families, so inventing, being a solo journey, is/was a little difficult for me. Me talking to me in my mind all day only gets me so far. I use my husband and kids to bounce ideas of of and have a few EN members that I respect and trust that I talk with. They are awesome!

My kids for sure are where I get my ideas from – whether its trends with the older two or difficulty in doing certain tasks with the younger one. There are many things I think of that would make my life a whole lot easier in doing simple tasks with my kids or on the go challenges.

Having worked in healthcare for many years and with the geriatric population for part of that time, you’d think I would have many ideas to send to Edison Nation Medical, but I don’t…at least, not yet.

What new product trends do you see as a mom?

Some of the trends I have noticed include: homemade baby food made simpler, products to make meal time clean-up easier, tween products and accessories, teen boy shoes and kitchen products to make things easier even for the youngest chef.

Do you find that invention ideas come to you or do you have to go to them?

I love this question because I love reading what others write. 98% of the time they have to come to me!!

I wish I could come up with ideas with ease for the searches. The few times I’ve done that I’ve loved the thrill of that ride, waiting in anticipation. I love that there is an end date and a presentation date. My inventing process doesn’t work that way naturally. Big time kudos to those of you who can – I totally admire that. Despite the longer wait, I’m more of an Open Search inventor.

Overall I’ve learned to be true to myself and my process and focus on my inventing strengths and try to improve upon my weaknesses.

What inspired you to start inventing?

My dad was in the building and real estate industry for most of his life. He employed me and my siblings at a very early age having us pick the dead flower buds on the model homes property, clean and supervise the model homes, complete secretarial work, bake cookies for his customers at Christmas, etc. My dad didn’t always make the best decisions, he took risks and some paid off and some for sure didn’t. My dad taught me to LIVE, to grab life and live, to do what you love and take chances, get your hands dirty. So when I thought of my first idea I said to myself “why not?!” and I just started moving on it. My dad lived with Alzheimer’s for 12 years until he died two years ago. He was such a great man :)

When did you come up with your first great idea?

In 2011, I had a babysitter and went out with some friends one night and when I returned, two of my kids were very sick at the very same time, different rooms. I was going back and forth every 10 minutes to care for them. My husband was out of town so I was alone managing them ALL NIGHT.

I immediately thought of a solution and actually a line of products to help kids and their parents when they are sick. I read, and read, and read everything and anything. I joined InventRight and followed along so I could learn HOW to license this myself. I had amazing renderings and a sell sheet and I went through the whole process of cold calling, etc. BUT, what I didn’t have was a product that was proprietary AND would have been very expensive to even start the manufacturing process. Didn’t have a clue that just the MOLDS would be so costly!

In the end I did not get a deal, BUT I did have initial interest and several calls from one of the biggest children’s catalogue companies. It took the wind out of my sails for about a year before I got back on the saddle. I learned so much and don’t regret ALL the time I devoted to that. Learning through failing at something is hard but a must.

I tried a few more on my own a few years back without luck. So, I was VERY happy to find EN!

You have been an EN member since 2013, can you provide us with some details around your experiences and journey to date?

I’ve had a great experience with EN – had a few R8’S which is the next best thing to a G8. I feel like I have a pretty good sense of when to let an idea GO but, lordy, I have maybe four that I just can’t move on entirely from.  And I guess I shouldn’t since some of them have gotten very far. My mind always says “you can make it better Colleen!”

I read books, magazine articles, Facebook postings, internet articles on inventing almost daily. I listen to podcasts and interviews any opportunity I can. I read all the forum postings and, of course, all of Rogers lessons. That is how I learn. I’ve learned so much but still have so much to learn. You know that saying “You don’t know what you don’t know?”  That’s how I feel – so much to learn, always!

Often I have so many ideas flooding my brain I just try and pick the most promising one and start somewhere, which is usually research online and in stores. Thinking of this quote ALWAYS helps me:

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the first step.”

For inventing, I translate this to KEEP MOVING FORWARD – keep learning, keep reading, keep trying to make it better. Just keep GOING. You’ll get somewhere by doing so – it may be at the end but that’s ok sometimes.

What inspires me more then anything is knowing I know more today then I knew yesterday and that totally excites me to the core and keep me going forward!

What are some of the fun facts about yourself that you’d like to share with the Edison Nation community?

Fun facts hmm…Well, I can whistle with any two fingers probably better and louder then any sailor. It doesn’t matter where my kids are in the neighborhood they can hear my whistle and that means come home. I can also silence any room with it.

I love wine, cooking and opera – preferably all at the same time. Love Johnny Cash and Jimmy Buffet too!

The beach is my happy place – lots of memories there. My mind is clearest there and my heart happiest!

I have the most amazing husband who works so hard everyday so I can stay home with our three awesome kids. He’s my best friend and the most dedicated, connected husband and father I could have ever asked for.

I’m a very optimistic person, can usually see the positive in most situations and always generally feel a situation will get better with time and perspective.

I cry super easily and my tears don’t discriminate bad news or happy news. So Edison Nation Licensing Team, when you call me with a deal I will NO DOUBT cry. Tears of joy of course!

I am totally addicted to the PROFIT – I love Marcus’s. I love his motto “trust the process”. That’s how I feel about EN! I love Shark Tank too! We watch all those shows as a family. These shows, of course, make me cry

Thanks for reading I love you guys!

 

We are so excited to have Colleen as a member of our inventor community, and have our fingers crossed that soon we’ll be sharing tears of JOY for that first G8!


 

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New ASOTV Selections! Congratulations, Norma and Rachel

More good news from the As Seen on TV (ASOTV) team! Two invention ideas have been selected from our ASOTV Open Search. Meet the inventors below and leave them a comment to congratulate them as their ideas undergo ideation, product design and development, commercial production and market testing.

Stay tuned for updates! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates as their ideas move through each stage.

ASOTV inventor

Norma Haygood

Norma, born in Miami Beach and currently living in Eustis, Florida, has been an Edison Nation member since 2009. Like many current Edison Nation members, she came across our TV show, Everyday Edisons, on PBS and was immediately hooked.

Although Norma says that she is constantly coming up with ideas, this particular one came to her while walking down the aisles of Walmart looking for ways to better organize her bedroom. After searching the Internet, checking existing patents and reviewing products in brick and mortar stores, Norma confirmed that her idea was truly unique and submitted it to Edison Nation.

Norma’s advice to inventors: “It’s crucial to become part of an inventing community.  Be it on EN, Facebook or a local inventors group. I call it “Inventors University” And it’s FREE! … If you have an invention, and no resources to go forward with it on your own, EN is THE place to turn to.”

 

ASOTV inventorsRachel Fine

Rachel is no stranger to the world of inventing. In fact, her and her husband have successfully brought multiple invention ideas to market. After solely overseeing the overseas manufacturing, shipping, marketing and sales, and learning the intensity and scope involved, they’ve since come to Edison Nation to bring their ideas to market.

The idea for this particular As Seen on TV product was inspired by their very own French Mastiff dog, Priscilla, and can potentially help dogs live longer, healthier lives.

Rachel’s advice to inventors:“For every one great idea we have, there are 20 that don’t fly (and another 20 that, in hindsight, are just terrible). To some extent it’s a numbers game. And keeping yourself in that creative, innovative headspace keeps the juices flowing. “

 

Congratulations, Norma and Rachel!


 

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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.

10 Curtain Innovations Designed to Conserve Energy

Energy conservation and sustainability are unavoidable themes in the modern marketplace. More than ever, consumers are opting to purchase, and in many cases, spend extra for products from companies they perceive as being green. In fact, Nielsen’s 2014 Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility shows that 55 percent of global online consumers across 60 countries are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.

Savvy brands, like Ellery Homestyles, have taken notice and are making strives to deliver environmentally-friendly products. Ellery Homestyles and Edison Nation have teamed up to find and license curtain innovations for their brand energy-saving, noise-reducing, blackout curtain line, Eclipse. Like Ellery Homestyles, more and more consumer brands are opting to use natural and sustainable materials and deliver innovative products that reduce energy consumption and promote social responsibility. As you’ll find below, product designers and inventors have been quick to jump on the opportunity and there has been no shortage of recognition for those making an impact.

Here are ten creative curtain innovations designed to conserve energy:

1. Some Shine Curtains Solar Energy System

Some Shine Curtain Solar Energy System
Image Credit: Yankodesign.com

Soaks in the solar energy during the daytime, stores it and uses it to replenish gadgets at night.

2. The HEX Curtain

curtain innovations
Image Credit: Rael-sanfratello.com

Controls the light and heat inside a building with rotating panels that automatically open or close in response to exterior natural light.

3. SunTiles Solar Curtains

curtain innovations
Image Credit: Astridkrogh..com

Woven solar plate curtains that collect energy and store heat from the sun.

4. Algae Curtain

curtain innovations
Image Credit: Loop.ph.com

Living algae is pumped through the textile to soak up daytime sun and photosynthesizes to produce a bio-fuel that can be used locally.

5. Liteon Eco Leaf 

curtain innovations
Image Credit: Yankodesign.com

Fabric with solar cells that recharge during the day while blocking sunlight and then emit ambient lights at night.

6. Eclipse Energy-Saving Blackout Curtains

curtain innovations
Image Credit: Elleryhomestyles.com

Energy-saving, noise-reducing, blackout curtains that come in traditional to modern chic styles.

7. WAVE Curtain

curtain innovations
Image Credit: Emergingobjects.com

3D printed passive solar innovative curtains designed to admit low winter sun and restrict the direct summer sun.

8. Onyx Solar Photovoltaic Curtain Wall

curtain innovations
Image Credit: Onyxsolar.com

Generates clean and free energy while providing natural illumination with solar control by filtering effect.

9. Soft House Solar Curtains

curtain innovations
Image Credit: Kvarch.net

Innovative curtains made of energy harvesting and light emitting textiles that power solid state lighting and portable work tools such as laptops, digital cameras, etc.

10. Thermalogic Window Curtain Liner

curtain innovations
Image Credit: Wayfair.com

Insulated fabric that controls 100% of natural light to repel heat in the summer and reduce winter drafts.

Ready to invent energy-conserving curtain innovations for Ellery?


 

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10 Creative Packaging Designs for Candy

When it comes to candy, packaging and presentation are key to profitability. In fact, the taste and contents inside are almost irrelevant if the packaging does not entice consumers and evoke that “gotta have it” impulsivity.

Over the years, candy has evolved from simple paper-based packages to artistic and creative packaging designs and dispensers that often incorporate batteries, sound, and shapes of licensed brands. Modern candy packaging is fun and entertaining and makes eating candy an experience.

Like Boston America, many candy manufacturers have taken notice of consumer preferences and have developed increasingly creative packaging designs for candy. To stay abreast current market trends and deliver new and exciting design concepts to their consumers, Boston America has teamed up with Edison Nation to find and license creative packaging designs to deliver their lines of candy. Remember: Edison Nation accepts ideas no matter what stage they are in and splits all licensing revenues 50/50 with the original inventor.

Here’s a round up of ten creative packaging designs for candy to get your gears turning:

1. Happy Pills First Aid Kit

Creative Packaging Designs
Image Credit: Monoscope.com

2. Happy Boxes by Polly Candy

Creative Packaging Designs
Image Credit: Thepackaginginsider.com

3. Halls Candy Accordion Pack

candy packaging
Image Credit: Andrewzo.com

4. S’monsters S’mores Kit

creative packaging designs
Image Credit: Thisiswhyimbroke.com

5. Hootencandy

creative packaging designs

Image Credit: Bostonamerica.com

6. Cacao Monkey Chocolate

creative packaging designs
Image Credit: Flickr.com

7. Trident Cool Mint Gum

creative packaging designs
Image Credit: Creativesonline.org

8. Ricola Herbal Cough Drops

creative packaging designs

Image Credit: Flickr.com

9. Micro Candy Machines

creative packaging designs
Image Credit: Pinterest.com

10. Hello Kitty Lucky Stars Candy

creative packaging designs
Image Credit: Bostonamerica.com

 

Do you want to invent a creative package design concept for Boston America?


 

 Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”?

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Boston America is Looking for Innovative Candy Packaging Ideas

Since, 1996, Boston America has been manufacturing high quality impulsive buy items including original and licensed lines of candies, healthy products, energy drinks, and bandages that are sold in the United States and internationally.

candy packaging

Boston America is dedicated to delivering innovative products and has come to Edison Nation to find and license ideas for candy packaging. They are especially interested in candy packaging that incorporates Hello Kitty, Shopkins, Pokémon, Minions, and Nintendo.

The reward? 50/50 split in all licensing revenues that Edison Nation receives. And remember, all costs associated with patenting, development, marketing, etc. are covered by Edison Nation.

Boston America’s products can be found in more than 10,000 stores spanning all avenues of distribution including specialty, drug, mass and grocery and are available at retailers such as Toys R Us, Urban Outfitters, Cost Plus World Market, Bed Bath & Beyond and many more.

Additional examples of creative candy packaging concepts that Boston America’s market have reacted well to are included below:

candy packaging

Keep in mind: Candy packaging has evolved from simple packages, to dispensers that incorporate batteries, sound and more. Today’s candy packaging incorporates more fun and entertainment than ever before and there are few limits as to where you can go.

Your candy packaging ideas should be:

      • Cost effective (unit retail price $1.99-$3.99)
      • Creative
      • Heat tolerant
      • Able to accommodate unique shapes of candy

Have a candy packaging idea for Boston America?


 Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”?

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

 

Another Idea Licensed to PetStages, Congratulations Cheryl and Donald Benson!

PetStages toy

Does the company PetStages ring a bell? Last October, we shared the news that Michael Diep’s Emery Cat had been licensed to PetStages after a long and successful stint at retail as an As Seen on TV product. This month, Edison Nation married inventor duo, Donald and Cheryl Benson’s invention was selected for licensing from our Open Search and is well on its way to commercialization.

PetStages toy

Donald and Cheryl first came up with their idea on a factory tour where they were overseeing the molding for another invention, Eclipse Ball. Eclipse Ball is played in schools nationwide and will soon be taught in 58 counties through a partnership with a Canadian Company.

Like Eclipse Ball, Donald and Cheryl first tried marketing this invention to the Physical Education market. While the product went on to clinching a gold medal in an international invention convention in 2006, they ultimately weren’t able to find a licensing partner on their own.

Enter Everyday Edisons and Edison Nation. The Bensons pitched their idea to us at an Everyday Edisons casting call in Chicago, but unfortunately the idea wasn’t selected for the show. The idea was later submitted to the Edison Nation Open Search where our licensing team saw value in pitching the idea as not only a toy or sport, but also as a pet product.

Congratulations, Cheryl and Donald!

Have an idea you’d like to submit to an Innovation Search?

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 Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”?

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

 

InvENtor Spotlight: A Q&A with Chris Cooper

For our May Inventor Spotlight Q&A we talked to Christopher Cooper, a relatively new Edison Nation community member and inventor who joined in January of 2014. While he hasn’t had any of his product ideas selected for licensing or As Seen on TV commercialization just yet, his dedication and approach to ideation and product development tells us it’s only a matter of time.

Where is your hometown?

St. Louis, Missouri, is where I was born in 1957.

 

Where do you currently reside?

Los Angeles, California

 

What is your professional background?

I’m a former Marine, and currently a fire captain with the L. A. Fire Department, public safety expert and an entrepreneur. I’m also an inventor with a portfolio of innovations that I will be developing as I transition from full time firefighter to the private sector.

 

How did you initially hear about Edison Nation?

I belong to a great group of entrepreneurs in L.A.. One of the members of that group recommended EN to me. After researching Edison Nation I was impressed by the model and the value proposition stated in the EN materials. This is what propelled me to commit to EN. After a patent application is forwarded to the USPTO, a firm is inundated with solicitations from a variety of product development companies. After looking into EN I found that EN was by far the most credible in what they were proposing.

 

You indicate in your past posts that you are a firefighter AND a product developer, can you provide some additional details about your company and what you are working on (crowdfunding, etc.)

Edison Nation inventorMy company, Cooper Product Corporation, is an innovator in automotive microfiber air fresheners.

As a Los Angeles firefighter who specializes in safety, production and innovation, I conceive, develop, test, and create fun, safe and useful products for general personal and professional use in companies’ and people’s everyday lives. My Los Angeles-based Cooper Product is open to new ideas, partnerships and investment, too. At this moment we are marketing our microfiber air freshener that we believe will be a legacy product for our firm. As the government and the automakers trend toward the connected car of the future I believe that Cooper Product can optimize the environment inside the car with our product line.

We currently export our products from three fulfillment centers. My firm is dedicated to achieving excellence in everything we do. My purpose is to create the best products with excellence, pride and enjoyment to improve everyone’s life. I’d love to hear from those who’d like to know more.

Edison Nation inventor

Have you ever collaborated with another inventor(s) on a project? If so, how was that experience for you?

Not yet, though I’m certain I could be enthusiastic about that prospect. Most people outside the innovative community are unaware of the commitment involved with bringing a product to the market. As we know as members of EN the commitment involves time, personal resources, family commitment, and the drive to stick with a concept when others are not on board with your vision.

 

What are some general industry trends you have noticed recently in innovation?

I’ve noticed an increased awareness of intelligent, integrated and thoughtfully organic branding, which is good for my business. The best thinkers want to put their names, brands and logos on something of similar quality and caliber. This makes Cooper Product’s line of fun, useful everyday goods a perfect fit.

The hardware side of manufacturing is moving at lightning speed with 3D printing, holograms, and fast fail approaches to innovation. Performance management processes are also becoming more prevalent in the innovation arena.

I’ve also noticed over the last 5-10 years that companies are reaching out to individual inventors to create products for them. Instead of employing large R&D the big firms are using independent inventors as a cost effective source of innovation.

 

Do you find that invention ideas come to you or do you have to go after them?

Both and often in an evolution that shuttles between the two; the idea comes to me after I’ve gone after it within a certain, imaginative context – playing out specific scenarios with my team.

My best ideas result from observing people who are challenged in a certain way. I then look for that behavior to repeat itself, at which time I will devise a solution. If the concept is marketable I will pursue it onto paper in a formal template for further study. I read a huge amount of material, both research level periodicals and magazines, attend seminars, trade shows, interact with a diverse sector of people and glean as much information as I can. For example, when I was developing our mini shoe version of the microfiber air freshener our team surveyed and found that the default sneaker for millennials is the Chuck Taylor Allstar by Converse. Naturally our initial offering for our mini shoe product was built on the Converse style. I always respect the intellectual property (IP) of other firms so when I develop, this product it is with the utmost care toward respecting the original creativity.

Edison Nation inventor

What are some other fun facts about yourself that you’d like to share with the EN community?

I’ve lived an interesting life, so I’m full of good stories. I also think variety, playfulness and a sense of joy are crucial to living and doing business, so I like to observe people in action, make new friends and participate and spectate in sports.

 

What inspired you to start inventing?

An intense interest in advancing human life, though I didn’t think of it that way all the time. The idea of progress gets me thinking, solving problems, creating, building and making improvements. The possibility of creating an item that can result in employment for others is a driver for me. The idea that you can develop a process, product or item and get tangible credit i.e. a patent for the idea is also attractive. And finally, the possibility that you can benefit financially is also inspiring.

 

When did you come up with your first great idea?

When I was about 9 years old I devised an advertising board that I see on the side lines of major sporting events now. Unfortunately at the time I had no idea about the intellectual property process. Since then I have rarely let an idea pass without putting it through the innovation template.

 

You are a recent EN member, joining in early 2014, can you provide us with some details around your experiences and journey to date?

Edison Nation is a fountainhead of rewarding sources, encouragement, information, camaraderie and enriching experiences. I like that it’s named after one of the world’s greatest thinkers, entrepreneurs and inventors. I also like that it’s a group based on an idea, innovation, which drives my company. I also appreciate the fact that Edison Nation is really a think tank of like minded experienced people who can assist all levels of inventors successfully elevate their products to the market. Either through licensing, manufacturing or other avenues EN is a great resource. I also enjoy the fact EN has a magazine that I can refer to on the fly for great information.
Thank you, Christopher, for taking time to share details around your journey and your Edison Nation story so far!

Want to see your idea on store shelves?

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 Have you ever thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”?

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