Category Archives: Edison Nation

15 Inventions Every Parent Should Own

Parenting can be stressful. Whether you’re dealing with bath time, monsters in the closet or messy meals, there are a number of things that can add unnecessary challenges to your day. Lucky for you, and parents everywhere, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite 15 inventions (some invented by Edison Nation members!) to help make life easier for you and happier for your little one.

Here’s a round up of 15 inventions every parent should own:

1. SlumberSling Car Seat Headrest

parent inventions
Image Credit: Ashandalysbabes.com

Don’t let heavy heads keep you from a peaceful car ride.

 

2. Baby Mop Onesie

parent inventions
Image Credit: Betterthanpants.com

Saving you time and money, one inch at a time.

 

3. Baby Shower Cap Visor

Baby shower cap
Image Credit: Likecool.com

Say bye bye to shampoo tears with this cute and clever device.

 

4. iPotty 2-in-1 Activity Seat

parent inventions
Image Credit: Amazon.com

For suggested use with “Angry Turds” game app.

 

5. Gyro Bowl No-Spill Bowl

parent inventions
Image Credit: Edisonnation.com

Spins and spins and stuff stays in. Does this invention look familiar? ;)

 

6. Lay N’ Go Swoop Storage

parent inventions
Image Credit: Amazon.com

Activity mat, cleanup, storage and carry-all solution in one.

 

7. Ba Baby Bottle Holder

parenting invention
Image Credit: Amazon.com

The perfect solution for tiny hands. Female model not included.

 

8. Squirt Baby Food Dispensing Spoon

Squirt baby food dispensing spoon
Image Credit: Boon.com

Easy, one-handed feeding, especially in a suit. Male model not included.

 

9. Lobster Clip-On Travel High Chair

parenting inventions
Image Credit: Philandteds.com

Have lobster at the dinner table wherever you go.

 

10. Roller Buggy Stroller Scooter

parenting inventions
Image Credit: Gizmag.com

Good idea in theory, probably not in reality.

 

11. Bunch O Balloons

parent inventions
Image Credit: Kickstarter.com

Birthday party prep made easy.

 

12. Sleepy Wings Infant Slumber Wear

parenting inventions
Image Credit: Amazon.com

Designed to mimic the swaddling method of wrapping. Also turns your child into a human butterfly.

 

13. Filip Smart Watch Child Locator

parenting inventions
Image Credit: Gizmag.com

The latest in wearable microfashion.

 

14. The Joey Hoodie Baby Carrier

parenting inventions
Image Credit: Flickr.com

Who says you can’t be comfortable and carry your child?

 

15. Keep it Klean Pacifier

parenting inventions
Image Credit: Myrazbabyr.com

Automatically closes when dropped or thrown.

 

Do you have any handy parenting inventions or gadgets that make life for you and your child easier? Do you already own any of these products? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Do you have a parenting invention idea?

inventors

 


 

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

License Product License product License product

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

 

 

protoTYPING: How Having a Kid Is Kind of Like Product Development

On February 17th my second child (and second daughter), Ivy, was born. She came out a perfect blonde haired, healthy, 8 lb ball of love. Her first few weeks on Earth have (mostly) been a delight. My partner Kerry was a total champ, birthing her naturally and without any pain medication. The labor and delivery process was fascinating to witness and I was happy to be able to be in the room to help her through it.

JeremyGetting it done in the laboring suite.

Once Ivy was safely out of womb and the excitement started to dissipate, I started to think that having a kid has a lot of similarities to product development. It is pretty obvious that the uterus is the best 3D printer in town, but there are plenty of other similarities too.

Here are some ways that product development and having a child are strikingly similar:

 

You never know what it’s going to look like

While you can look at photos of parents-to-be and mentally average their features to try and guess what a baby will look like, sometimes you get some surprises. Genes can combine in some strange ways and recessive traits from prior generations can reemerge. My mom has dark curly hair, which you would assume would be a dominant trait, yet I ended up blonde. You can barely tell we are related.

Product development is no different. In the early stages of the development process, the focus is on proving that an idea works. Features and functionality can get added and dropped throughout the process. Only in the later stages does it become clear what form the final product will be. When Taylor Hayden had the idea for a wine aerating blender, he had no idea that he would end up with the Wine Shark. While looking at a series of industrial design sketches during one of our meetings he was drawn to some wavy marine forms. He thought one of them looked like it had a shark fin and the rest was history.

product design

The Wine Shark ideation sketch compared to the beta prototype.

It helps to work with someone with experience

Birthing a baby is a pretty intimidating experience. Many women get help from family members, a midwife or a doula during labor. We had a doula for the birth of both of our children and they were a great help for both Kerry and I. Our doulas had witnessed all types of births and worked with many moms, and they knew just what to do help Kerry have the most pleasant birth experience possible.

Many inventors toil in isolation trying to bring their invention ideas to life. Some have success, but it can take years and the path may be wrought with frustration. It is often helpful to find a mentor that can help you to navigate the different stages of product development to keep the project on track, and Edison Nation is a great resource to find mentoring. The Edison Nation community has many experienced members that have been through the whole process from idea to licensing deal, and are easily accessible through the forums on the site. New information is posted from Edison Nation team every week on the blog to help furnish ideas and how to put your best foot forward with prototyping, patenting, marketing, etc. There are also inventor groups all over the country where you can meet others that are working on products.

Doula

Our doula providing comfort for Kerry during labor. 

They need protection

A newborn is a fragile organism that needs many things to be protected. It needs a car seat to keep it safe while driving and it is good to keep away from large crowds for a few weeks or more to mitigate the risk of getting sick, especially one that is born during flu season.

New technology and products also need protection from the elements of the marketplace. This is usually in the form of a patent. Filing a patent affords the applicant a way to prevent others from monetizing their idea and creates a potentially valuable asset that can be licensed or sold. Getting a new idea through the patent process can be a long and expensive process (2 years or more and typically between $6-10,000). However, filing a provisional patent allows an inventor to protect their idea for a year before having to decide whether to file a full patent, and are much less expensive. Submissions to Edison Nation need not be patented prior to submission. Edison Nation files patents on behalf of the inventor if a submission is licensed.

Ivy in carseat

Ivy on her first drive home bundled up in a hat and tucked into her car seat.

They tend to keep you awake at night

It is no secret that a newborn is great at keeping you awake at night. Late night diaper changes, spontaneous crying fits and 3AM feedings all become normal after a child is born. After a few easy nights, my new girl has developed a habit of screaming about 10 minutes after Kerry and I fall asleep. I have never been water-boarded, but given the choice between the two, I may be tempted to try water-boarding over the constant wakeups.

While new babies eventually start sleeping through the night (I hope), new products can keep you up at night from concept through to manufacturing. When the lightning bolt moment hits and you are in the early stages of product development, it is not uncommon to wake up in the middle of the night with a new idea on how to make it better. If the product goes to Kickstarter or is being pitched to an angel investor, there will be late nights making pitch decks or answering questions from backers. If the product goes to manufacturing overseas, there will be late nights on video chat with the factory working out the details. It takes immense effort to get a product from concept to the store shelf and it will likely take many late nights to achieve this goal. The Edison Nation design team experiences the excitement of late night idea surges, the occasional all-night prototyping session getting a product ready for a meeting, and doing sourcing work with companies in different time zones. We live the dreams of each inventor, as well as the late nights.

product development

Late nights are common when caring for a newborn or nurturing an idea or prototype.

It has been an exciting and hectic month to welcome Ivy into my family. She was born the morning after a debilitating ice storm in Charlotte, was almost 2 weeks overdue, and when we found out she was a girl she did not have a name for awhile after her birth. All of these little challenges were difficult to get through in the moment, but made the experience that much more memorable. Hopefully you will be able to overcome the challenges in your product development journey and get your product onto the shelf.

 


 

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

License Product License product License product

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

 

2015 Home And Housewares Show Recap: Product Trends

Once again the International Home and Housewares Show proved to be THE destination for those looking for the latest and greatest in consumer lifestyle and product trends. We hit the ground running, pouring over 13 miles of aisles of 21,000 exhibitors over the event’s four days. From 3D printer pancake makers, to the Guinness world record for largest measuring cup, the 2015 Home and Housewares show certainly did not disappoint.

Housewares show 2015 housewares show 2015

 

Here’s our pick of different trends we saw across several categories:

 

Smartphone or Bluetooth Enabled Kitchen Appliances

As your home, car and mobile devices get progressively smarter, why shouldn’t your kitchen? Several companies debuted impressive app and bluetooth-enabled appliances at this year’s Home and Housewares show, promising to make life in the kitchen a little easier.

Black and Decker announced it will be rolling out several Wi-Fi-enabled appliances including a coffeepot that can be synced to your alarm, snooze button included. Another is an indoor electric grill including a temperature probe and smartphone allowing you to customize the doneness of your meat and alert you when it’s ready. They hope to have it available in retail by Christmas.

Blendtec made quite a splash with the introduction of the new Blendtec Connect Food Prep System, a Bluetooth-connected collection of appliances promising to simplify the process of mixing and blending a variety of foods and drinks. The app takes the user through each step of a recipe and sends custom instructions from the selected recipe to each appliance. The assortment includes the Connect App, Connect Blender, Connect Scale and Connect Mixer, the latter three of which are equipped with Bluetooth technology. This allows the units to communicate with the company’s app when downloaded to a smartphone or tablet.

Housewares show 2015

 

Attractive Home Organization

A home can never be too organized. This statement was certainly validated at this year’s Home and Housewares show with an abundance of supremely functional and attractive organization products.

Known for their clever silicone holsters for hair styling tools, crafting and kitchen and bath accessories, Holster brands debuted their new brand, the Lil’ Holster, at this years Home and Housewares show. Similar in style and function to its parent brands, the new silicone holder is intended for smaller household objects, such as kitchen sponges, hair brushes, bath soaps, razors, glasses, keys, and even TV remotes.

Housewares show

 

Another notable product, and winner of the Innovation Award in storage and organization, was YouCopia’s StoraStack, a simple adjustable device that holds plastic food containers and lids in kitchen drawers.

Housewares show 2015

Farm-to-Table and DIY Kitchen Appliances

As the farm-to-table, DIY and ingredients with integrity trend continues to pervade the restaurant industry, it’s making its way into home kitchens as well. From pressed olive oil to veggie spaghetti, this year’s housewares show was no stranger to kitchen appliances promising to expedite and simplify from-scratch recipes staples.

Progressive International showcased their fresh butter maker, a nifty contraption that churns heavy whipping cream for about 10 minutes to produce fresh, creamy butter. The device also allows you to adds herbs and other ingredients during churning for a naturally flavored alternative.

Progressive International butter maker

KitchenAid announced a new Spiralizer attachment for their line of popular Stand Mixers which originally debuted at the Home and Housewares Show in 1955. Sixty years later, the new attachment includes five blades to make spiraling, slicing, peeling and coring fruits and vegetables a breeze.

Housewares show 2015

Lastly, Stratus Investments, a private equity firm and business incubator debuted Olive X-Press, the world’s first and only kitchen olive oil press. The sleek countertop gadget makes 500ml of olive oil from whole olives in just 5 minutes and promises to produce high quality, all natural, pure cold-pressed olive oil for consumer use all year round.

Housewares show 2015

 


 

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

License Product License product License product

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

 

15 Creative Websites to Inspire (and Entertain) You

Creativity is the cornerstone of inventing and is the foundational of everything we do at Edison Nation. When we hold innovation searches, oftentimes you’ll need to step outside your comfort zone and think creatively about a category you might not be familiar with. But, how do you summon creativity? How do you come up with an innovative idea? How do you create an exciting interface or design for an idea you already have?

Even if you’re stuck within the confines of your office walls, desperately seeking a creative muse, there’s hope. I asked our designers, engineers and developers what creative websites they turn to for creative inspiration and entertainment and compiled a list of their favorites.

 

Inspiration Grid

Apparatus Studio
A daily-updated blog celebrating creative talent from around the world.

 

Abduzeedo

Vespa Cam
A collection of visual inspiration and useful tutorials spanning a multitude of industries.

 

Hello You Creatives

Bottled Nature
A creative community and blog showcasing humans’ creativity.

 

Creative Bloq

Creative Bloq
A daily balance of creative tips and latest trends in global design.

 

Design Boom

Qantas and Samsung Virtual Reality
The word’s first and most popular digital architecture and design magazine.

 

Yanko Design

Avian Architecture
An online design magazine and daily newsletter showcasing modern design.

 

Hack Design

Hack Design
Articles, videos and tutorials curated by some of the world best designers.

 

Dexigner

Autodesk
An online portal for designers, architects, engineers, artists and creatives of all kinds.

 

Design Milk

New Matter 3D Printer
An online magazine and creative website dedicated to modern design.

 

Oozled

Inspiration
Curated resources for everything creative including prototyping, photography, UX and more.

 

The Design Blog

Pantone Blocks
Carefully picked high quality inspiration featuring works of designers and design studios around the world.

 

You The Designer

Nike Packaging
Graphic design lifestyle blog highlighting the best of what the design world can offer.

 

Design Taxi

Design Taxi
Highly influential reference source for the creative world.

 

SolidSmack

Fuller's Fly's Eye Dome
Online community about 3D CAD, technology, design, robot, etc.

 

Core77

Dyson 360 Eye
An online magazine dedicated to the practice and produce of the field of industrial design.

 

So, what are your favorite favorite creative websites that you turn to for inspiration? Are you familiar or would recommend any of the sites we’ve listed here? Let us know in the comments below!


 

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

License Product License product License product

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

Inventing 101: Types of Patent Applications

Patent image

Patent Law and intellectual property can be a tricky road to navigate, especially for independent inventors. At Edison Nation, intellectual property is a cornerstone of our business model and we take extensive measures to ensure that your idea, from the moment it is submitted until it is licensed, is kept secure and private.

My name is Katie Foss and I am the legal counsel here at Edison Nation. My responsibilities include drafting and reviewing legal documents, completing IP reviews of invention submissions, coordinating inventors’ patents and trademarks, handling potential infringement cases, and more. I’ll be contributing a monthly blog series where I discuss various components of Patent Law and intellectual property to help you better understand the process. You can learn more about what I do and who I am in my Meet the Team blog post.

Katie Foss

In this first installation, I’ll discuss the different types of patent applications. Remember, while this information is good for all aspiring inventors to understand, Edison Nation takes on all responsibilities regarding patenting, trademarking and copyrighting, where applicable, for ideas that are successfully licensed.

There are various types of United States patent applications, and each comes with its own set of requirements. Most inventors will never experience filing a plant application for a cross-species of flora or have to deal with the Statutory Invention Registration, so this post will focus on the three most common types of applications: utility, design, and provisional.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a utility application is filed for inventions that propose a “new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or a new and useful improvement thereof, it generally permits its owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention for a period of up to twenty years from the date of patent application filing.”  Utility applications cover inventions that introduce novel methods and functionalities, which ultimately means they cover how an invention works rather than just how it looks.

patent example

Utility applications can be quite expensive and may take several years before an issued patent may be acquired.  It is a highly involved and complex process and, as is true of all types of patent matters, it is best to have a licensed patent attorney guide you through his process to ensure the application is prepared and maintained properly.  To remain active, issued patents are subject to maintenance fees.  These fees increase in cost over time, and are due at 4, 8, and 12 years from a patent’s issue date.  Utility patent applications are considered “non-provisional,” which is exactly what it sounds like. It is a patent application that is not a provisional application.  Any patent application that is not a provisional application or a design application is often referred to by the USPTO as a non-provisional, but, to be clear, not all non-provisional applications are utility applications. 

A provisional patent application, sometimes referred to as a “PPA” is a place-holder application.  It is often referred to as a place-holder application because it is generally filed as a precursor to a utility patent application.  Filing a PPA provides inventors with one year to prepare and file a utility application to protect their inventions.  PPA’s are not examined, so they do not truly afford any patent protection rights. However, they do provide a priority date and allow you to use “patent-pending” status when referring to your invention. A priority date is extremely important in that the earlier your priority date, the greater your protection, as anything similar filed after that date is not considered prior art against your application.

PPA’s are often a good option for individual inventors in that they have a much lower filing cost, and they provide inventors with one year to fine-tune, market, test, etc. prior to committing to a utility application.  But inventors must note that if you allow your PPA to lapse without filing a utility application which claims priority to the PPA, you will lose your rights to that early priority date.  While you can re-file for a new PPA, assuming there has been no public disclosure of your idea, you will have to restart the process and get a new priority date.

By contrast, a design patent application is filed for “new, original, and ornamental design embodied in or applied to an article of manufacture, it permits its owner to exclude others from making, using, or selling the design for a period of fourteen years from the date of patent grant.”  Basically, design patents cover the overall look of an invention rather than its functionality.

Design patent example

Design applications are generally less expensive than utility applications, and they also tend to have a faster examination period.  They are often a good option for inventors who have developed a new look for something rather than a new method for doing something.  While utility patents arguably offer more protection against potential infringers, design patents are an enforceable IP right and may be the right path for some inventions.

In sum, licensed patent counsel, including what is covered by an Edison Nation licensing deal, is the best resource for selecting a patent path and navigating the complex process of patent prosecution.  However, the more informed you are the easier it will be to understand your intellectual property and how to best protect it.

Keep inventing and check back next month for more information on intellectual property and how you can protect your ideas!

 

Have an idea you’d like considered for a licensing deal or ASOTV commercialization?

Submit Now

 


 

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

License Product License product License product

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

 

 

 

From G1-G8: Mastering Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the Invention Submission Process

It happens to everyone…you’re driving to work, you’re walking through a store looking for that one thing you can’t find anywhere, you wake up from a dream, you’re in the shower and BING! You’ve got an idea.

BING

It’s an awesome idea and you know just where you share it…Edison Nation. So you log in, you perfect your invention submission online and you hit “Submit”! And then it starts, the curiosity, sometimes the anxiety, the endless logging in, the nail-biting…what’s happening now?

Allow us to help you relax, well, a little. This is the first installment of 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’ll look at Stages 1-3. Back to our story…once you click “Submit”, your idea is now live in Edison Nation’s secure system and is visible to us. The idea will appear on your Dashboard and you’ll see your first green check – you’re at G1 (green at Stage 1)!

 

submit invention

How do you get to that check mark at Stage 2? Make sure your idea fits the search description. Read and gain an expert understanding of the search landing page. Familiarize yourself with the search sponsor to ensure your product idea would be a great fit for a their product line. For example, if the search is for an innovation in tool storage, do not submit a bathroom organizer. If you meet all the requirements of the search, you’re now a G2 (green at Stage 2) and onto Stage 3! In Stage 3, we’re going through your submission section by section to understand your idea and ensure it is unique and innovative.

 

invention submission

Remember, first impressions are important. When you submit your idea, make sure it is complete and ready for review. Once submitted, at least one person from the review team will be reading it within 24-48 hours of your submission. We should be able to understand your idea quickly and easily. Once we have familiarized ourselves with your idea, we complete preliminary research to find potential competitors.

 

As the majority of innovative ideas are improvements on existing products, the details you provide in your submission should address why your idea is better than potential competitors in the space. Research, research, research! Use a search engine to look for similar products. Search for different variations of the product title, function and benefit to ensure your considering all potential competing products. If your idea stands out from the crowd following our initial review, you’ll see that third check on your Dashboard and you’re onto Stage 4!

 

invent help

The next installment of this series will take a deep dive into what it takes to achieve that elusive “G4”…


 

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

License Product License product License product

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

Second Invention Idea Licensed from Ellery Homestyles Innovation Search

Edison Nation invention  Avatar

We’re excited to announce that a second licensing deal has been signed from the Ellery Homestyles Innovation Search we hosted last fall. To remind, Ellery Homestyles is a leading supplier of branded and private label home fashion products, which are sold in major retailers such as Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, JCP and Kohl’s. We have already announced that Elizabeth Crouch’s idea was also selected by Ellery in the same search search back in September.

Daniel Moskal came up with his invention idea specifically for the Victoria’s Classics Innovation Search held earlier that year. While it was presented to the sponsor at G7, it unfortunately was not selected. Taking his Insider feedback to heart, Daniel’s idea was later opted into the Ellery Homestyles search with much better fate.

Daniel, who describes himself as the “last person you want decorating your home,” challenged himself to step out of his comfort zone and come up with several ideas for the search. He first identified a strong problem and then thought about potential ways to solve it while considering the perspectives of consumer, manufacturers and distributors:

“[You have to] put yourself in the shoes of the customer. Are you solving a problem in a way that motivates consumers to change their way of doing things and part with their money? Put yourself in the shoes of the manufacturer and distributor, does your idea fit into their existing product line? Does the cost allow for a good profit? Is it strong enough for them to focus on your invention over other profit opportunities?

While we’re excited to disclose that Daniel’s idea will improve the way we decorate, we are still working to develop and patent it. As is customary when licensing deals are signed, we protect the intellectual property of the inventor and the licensor until it is patented. Until we are able to announce more details, be sure to stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates.

“If you are going to succeed as an inventor, you are going to fail again and again along this path. Like many members, I had spent tens of thousands on lawyers and prototypes while trying to develop unsuccessful inventions on my own. Edison Nation enables you to fail for $20 and the community that comes with EN increases the quality of the learning experience.”  – Daniel Moskal

Congratulations, Daniel!


 

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

License Product License product License product

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

Edison Nation Inventors “Pitch the Hill” to Showcase American Innovation

Patent litigation

As you may know, Edison Nation has been a key player in fighting for the rights of independent inventors. Last year, Edison Nation was instrumental in ensuring the voice of independent inventors was heard, resulting in Senator Leahy dropping proposed patent legislation that favored large corporations over legitimate patent holders. In addition, Edison Nation CEO, Louis Foreman, has been called on, multiple times, to brief the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on legislation related to the U.S. patent system.

In a continued effort to raise awareness for the rights of independent inventors, seven Edison Nation inventors recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to pitch their invention ideas to a panel of investors on Capitol Hill and demonstrate just how important independent inventors are to the fabric of our country. Members of Congress and government officials were present throughout the event to learn firsthand the vital role independent inventors play to the U.S. economy.

Unfortunately, “snowpocalypse” (no more than an inch of slush) forced Charlotte airport closures the morning of the event and Louis, as well as the Edison Nation team, were unable to join the crew in Washington, D.C. Fellow Edison Nation member and accomplished inventor, Eric Huber, rose to the occasion in absence of Louis Foreman to speak on his behalf on a panel of speakers. Despite our absence our group did a great job representing Edison Nation, independent inventors and the spirit of American innovation!

 

inventor help
Edison Nation members prepare to showcase their inventions

 

Washington D.C.
Eric Huber stands in front of Capitol Hillpatent legislation
Pitching and exhibition took place in the historical Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Building

Inventor speaking

Eric-Panel
Eric Huber fills in on the panel for Edison Nation CEO, Louis Foreman, to represent the voice of U.S. independent inventors

 

Capitol Hill
Edison Nation inventors prepare for pitching and exhibition in the Russell Senate building

 


 

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

License Product License product License product

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

Meet the EN Team: Mike Irwin

 

Mike Irwin

As an online community and innovation marketplace, you can imagine there is a lot of necessary web upkeep. Lucky for us, we have our newest Web Developer, Mike Irwin, to understand what MVC frameworks, jQuery and AngularJS are so the rest of us don’t have to.

Q1. What is your position and what does it entail?

A. Web Developer. I’m helping to make edisonnation.com and edisonnationmedical.com more awesome.

Q2. What do you enjoy most about working at Edison Nation?

A. The people. This place is teeming with good folks. I like that.

Q3. If you could be doing anything else right this moment, what would it be?

A. Playing music.

Q4. What’s your hidden talent?

A. I’m a classically trained percussionist, an ex-amateur boxer and I make a mean pot of coffee.

Q5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A. Astronaut, cowboy, Wolverine.

Q6. If you could experience someone else’s life for just one day, who would it be?

A. A blind person. I’m curious to know what it would be like to experience the world by having to rely on my other senses since vision is such an overwhelmingly powerful sense. I’d like to “see” what it’s like to not be able to depend on my eyes so much. Closing my eyes doesn’t count since it’s too easy to cheat.

Q7. Who are you often told is your doppelganger?

A. Glen Hansard, that devilishly handsome lad from the Emerald Isle.

Q8. You’re only allowed to eat one food for the rest of your life. What would you choose?

A. Sushi. Any kind as long as it’s fresh.

Q9. What’s a goal you’re most proud of accomplishing?

A. Getting to travel to many places around the world, whether on tour or just for fun.

Q10. What do you think is the greatest invention in your lifetime and why?

A. Easy. The web. It puts most of the world’s knowledge at our fingertips, helps level the playing field for anyone that wants to play, gives a microphone to anyone that wants to be heard and generally makes our big world much smaller.

 

Want to meet other members of our staff? Catch up on past Meet the EN Team posts!


License Product License product License product

Inventing 101: Terminology Inventors Should Know

Invent word cloud

The inventing process can be a daunting one, for veterans and newbies alike. All the industry jargon, legal vocabulary and technical terms can be confusing and detract you from understanding important inventing processes and guidelines and leave you feeling overwhelmed.

At Edison Nation, we try to remove as many barriers as possible that stand between inventors with great ideas and companies looking for innovation to expand their product lines. Even though we make it as simple as submitting an idea to an innovation search, there may be times that you come across confusing concepts or convoluted terminology in search descriptions or our inventor forums that you aren’t familiar with.

Here’s an A-Z glossary of inventing terms for you to bookmark and reference when you need a little help. The list is in alphabetical order, but we also suggest using your browsers ‘find’ feature by pressing command + F on a Mac or cntrl + F on a PC to search for a particular term as it is very long!

 

3-D printer – Utilizing CAD drawing input the printer makes a 3-D solid model of the design.

 

Add-on – A product or service added to the main product to increase interest and sales in the main product.

 

Abandonment – In regards to patent law, the reply of an applicant to an office action that must be made within a prescribed time limit. If no reply is received within the time period, the application may be considered, depending on the jurisdiction, as abandoned or deemed to be withdrawn, and, therefore, no longer pending.

 

Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) – The revenue left after costs such as charge backs, spoilage, damages, returns and allowances are deducted from the profits.

 

Advanced Shipping Notice (ASN) – A document sent to the customer letting them know detailed information about their order such as the weight, number of boxes, how the product is packaged and how it is being shipped.

 

After Market – Parts/accessories that were not originally installed or they can be replacement parts for the original parts. EXAMPLE: Various car accessory kits available for purchase that were not original equipment when it was made.

 

Annuity Fee – Fee to be paid to maintain a patent application in force. Also called “maintenance fee” or “renewal fee”.

 

As Built Drawings – A set of drawings showing all the changes made during the construction phase of the product. These normally show the exact dimensions and positions of all the parts making up the product.

 

Bill of Materials (BOM) – A comprehensive list of the various materials, components, sub-components, and quantities of each component needed to manufacture the finished product.

 

Blister Pack- A clear or lightly-tinted piece of molded plastic attached to a cardboard backing used to display the product to the consumer. a/k/a “Bubble Pack”

 

Blow Molding – Method for making a product that requires a hollow space. Used for items such as bottles, cans, containers, jars, etc. The process normally uses two heated internal surfaces of a two piece mold, hot plastic and compressed air to make the product/part.

 

Branding - Method used to promote the product to the consumer. A proper branding campaign can be more effective than patenting to protect a product from knockoffs.

 

Business plan- Documents that summarize how the company will be structured operate, and how money contributed by investors will be used. It gives an investor an overall view of the company and the projected milestones they will meet and the proposed profit the company and the investor is projected to attain.

 

Buy Back – A provision in a contract where the seller agrees to buy back the merchandise for a certain price after being sold to the retailer if it arrives damaged, unsellable, customer returns, late shipment (such as a holiday item that arrives after the holiday) and other issues that the two parties have negotiated into the contract.

 

Canadian Standards Association (CSA) – recognized by OSHA (Occupational Safety Health Association) as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory that tests products and if they pass testing, the CSA symbol/logo can be shown on the product indicating certification. CSA is very familiar with U.S. requirements.

 

Claim – A noun phrase defining the extent of the protection conferred by a patent, or the extent of protection sought in a patent application.

 

Clam Shell Packaging – is a container that can be clear or tinted that has two halves that come together to form the enclosure to hold the product.

 

Cold calling – Contacting a company for the first time to pitch an idea/product without knowing anyone within the company.

 

Commission of Europe (CE) – The CE mark is used to certify a product has met the European Union health, safety and environmental requirements that ensure workplace and consumer safety. If a manufacturer wants to sell their product throughout Europe they need this CE mark to avoid having to go through further product modifications from other European countries.

 

Computer Aided Designs (CAD) – Designs generated by the designer using computer software depicting the object so that it can be machined, tested, give specific dimensions, material specifications and more to aid in the production of the object.

 

Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) – Automated controls guide machines and varying tools to do the job that used to be done manually. A number of these machines use Computer Aided Designs (CAD) or Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) written programs to run the commands to operate the machinery.

 

Copycats/knockoffs – A product that is built similar to the original and is in direct competition with the original product. It may also be in violation of the original product’s patent. The term for this violation is called infringement.

 

Copyright – A form of protection provided to the authors producing original works. Normally designated by a ©.

 

Consumable – A product used by consumers or businesses that have to be replaced regularly. EXAMPLES: Paper products, foods, fuels, and more.

 

Cost of Goods (COG) – The total cost attributed to the production of the product sold by the company including the material and labor costs.

 

Declaration of non-infringement – A declaration obtained from a court that one’s actions do not infringe a particular patent. An action for a declaration of non-infringement may be brought before a court as a preventive measure prior to being sued by a patent proprietor.

 

Deliverables – Something specified to be accomplished or met in a contract.

 

Demand letter – A letter sent to a company “seeking royalties and threatening legal action for patent infringement.” Also called a “threat letter”.

 

Die casting – A process of metal forming where molten metal is forced into a mold/form and put under pressure to fill all the cavities to produce a part or object.

 

Direct Response (DR) – Method of selling a product to consumers via television direct purchase.

 

Discrete Manufacturing - A product is accounted for by distinct serial numbers, distinct amount of units, instead of accounting for production by weight or volume as in some other processes.

 

Display costs – The cost of a display holding a product divided by the amount of units it will hold. EXAMPLE: If a display will hold 40 units each unit is 1/40th the cost of the display.

 

Distribution Center (DC) – Location used for receiving, redistribution, and sometimes temporary storage of goods. a/k/a “Branch Warehouse” or “Distribution Warehouse”

 

Divisional patent application – A type of patent application which contains matter from a previously-filed application. Also referred to simply as “divisional application”.

 

Double Patenting – The protection of one single invention by two patents usually owned by the same proprietor.

 

Drop Shipping – Sending product directly from the manufacturer to a retailer’s stores.

 

Due Diligence – Time period where the company interested in possibly licensing a product does their research into that products market share, cost, return on investment, profit margin, manufacturing process and more before deciding to make an offer on the product offered for licensing.

 

Durable goods – A product with a longer life span than consumables such as computers, phones, furniture, electronics and automobiles.

 

Elasticity of Demand – An increase in sales as a product price drops and a decrease in sales if the price rises.

 

Electrical Testing Lab (ETL) – They are recognized by OSHA (Occupational Safety Health Association) as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory that tests products and if they pass testing, the ETL symbol/logo can be shown on the product to indicate certification. They are known for having a lower cost structure than UL certification and quicker turnaround through their process.

 

Embodiment – In a patent or patent application, “a specific combination of features or a specific mode of carrying out the invention, by contrast to a more abstract definition of features which can be carried out in more than one way.

 

Essential patent - A patent claiming an invention that is required to implement a given industry standard. 

 

European Article Numbering (EAN) – Standardized 13 digit bar code system for identifying almost anything. The EAN code is compatible with the UPC.

 

Exclusivity - An agreement between the inventor and the company stating that the company will be the only party entitled to manufacture and sell a product. It is normally written for one market or all markets for the life of the contract.

 

Exploded View – Drawing showing the product disassembled so that the viewer can see the relationship of all the parts to each other. These are also used to in owner manuals to help the consumer order new parts.

 

Field-of-use limitation – A provision in a patent license that limits the scope of what the patent owner authorizes a manufacturing licensee (that is, a licensee that manufactures a patented product or performs a patented process) to do in relation to the patent, by specifying a defined field of permissible operation or specifying fields from which the licensee is excluded.

 

Filing date – The filing date of a patent application is the date the patent application was filed in one or more patent offices. That date is typically the date on which the documents are deposited at the office, but may be later if there are defects in the documents. If a patent application is mailed to the USPTO by Express Mail, Post Office to Addressee, then the date the application was deposited in the post office is the filing date

 

First to file – A legal concept in which the right to a patent for an invention is determined by the first person to file for a patent to protect that invention.

 

First to invent – A legal concept in which the right to a patent for an invention is determined by the first person to make that invention.

 

First Right of Refusal – When an Inventor or company has a written contract stating that they will allow company X to see all ideas they design first and they will not send them out until written notice is given that company X has no interest in that product/idea. This is done prior to sending them out to other companies for review. There can be a clause in the contract that says they have first right of refusal for products in a certain market and all others are free to pursue elsewhere.

 

Footprint – The amount of space a product will take up on the store shelf or on the store floor as a display.

 

Free on Board or Freight on Board (FOB) – Which party (the seller or the buyer) pays for shipment and loading costs.

 

Fulfillment - The distribution process of moving products from the factory to the retailer, managing sales, and collection and distribution of funds.

 

Gap in the market (or Gap Analysis) – A void in the market that has potential customers and no one is serving a need/service. These gaps can be opportunities for companies or individuals to grab a customer base and expand their reach into the market place.

 

Garbage-in Garbage-out (GIGO) – Data/research is only as good as the information source it was gathered from

in the first place. Faulty information will yield a faulty final analysis.

 

Hold Harmless Clause – A section in a contract/agreement that states one or both parties agree not to hold the other party liable/responsible for damages or other issues that may arise. These issues are normally stated in the agreement upon which they both agree.

 

Hook – The main feature/function a product has that will make a consumer see value in having the product. EXAMPLE: Saves time, saves money, does the task faster, easier than other product.

 

IGES – Neutral file format used to transfer files between various CAD software. Editing this type of file is normally not available because the history tree is unavailable in this format.

 

Indemnify – Contractual term protecting a person or company against damage or loss.

 

Indirect Infringement – When a patent is infringed by some party other than the one actually directly engaged in the infringement of the invention, but the original party is the cause of the infringement. For instance, when a third party supplies a product which is intended to be used, or can only be reasonably used or worked upon to make the device claimed in a patent.

 

Industrial Applicability – A requirement of many patent systems, requiring that an invention be capable of industrial applicability in order for a patent to be granted for that invention.

 

Industrial Design (ID) – A division of a product development/manufacturing company. EXAMPLE: You will sometimes hear companies say “We will have our ID department look it over. Or “It is in review with ID”

 

Industry Standards – Criteria within an industry that sets the rules used for day to day operations.

 

Injection Molding - Method similar to Blow Molding except you are squeezing the mold under high pressure. Molds are normally made from ceramic, steel or aluminum and used to make solid objects. Where Blow Molding objects are normally hollow inside.

 

Innovation Patent – A type of patent in some countries used for inventions that have a short commercial life or that offers a comparatively small advance over existing technology. It often has a shorter term of protection.

 

Intrinsic value – This is the price you see on a good or service based on its demand and availability. It does not reflect the quality of the good or service. Which means just because it costs a lot or a little doesn’t mean it is good or cheap.

 

Intuitive Use – If how a product functions is easily understood. Questions to answer:  Does the consumer understand the purpose of the toy, tool, product by just seeing it or is there a learning curve involved? Will it need a commercial built around it, specific packaging detailing how it is to be used, will it require an onsite video playing to get the consumers attention to the products value?

 

Invention Disclosure – A confidential document written by a scientist or engineer for use by a company’s patent department, or by an external patent attorney, to determine whether patent protection should be sought for the described invention.

 

Inventive Step – A patentability requirement according to which an invention should be sufficiently inventive, i.e. non-obvious, in order to be patented.

 

Investor/Angel Investor - Person(s) or group that invests money for the development and production of an idea/product. This investment is for a portion/ownership of the company/product.

 

Kill Fee – Amount paid for services rendered if the deal/contract is cancelled.

 

KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid) – Taking a look at any project, process, idea and finding the simplest and most direct path.

 

Landed Cost – The total amount it costs of a landed shipment that includes freight, insurance, port fees, purchase price and any other costs that might be incurred to bring the product to the final port of destination.

 

Large Entity – In United States patent law, one of the available applicant’s status, along with the “small entity” status and the “micro entity” status.

 

Letter of intent or MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) – Either document is used to state each party’s intent and course of action to meet a common goal. These documents are normally followed by a formal contract between the two parties once everyone is in agreement.

 

Liability risk – The risk associated with liability for a product purchased by an individual that may cause or has caused damages to those owning the product. Most companies try to avoid these issues by proper design, testing and quality control of the product. Companies can purchase insurance to help defer the costs of lawsuits which may arise from liability issues.

 

License – A contract wherein a party (the “licensor”) grants to another party (the “licensee”) the authorization to use an invention which is subject to a patent, generally in exchange of a financial compensation, the royalties.

 

Licensing agent or Broker – A person that represents an inventor and their product to possible investors, manufacturers, and licensing companies. They get a percentage of the royalties of any licensing deal accepted as part of their services.

 

Licensing Agreement – Document stating the terms of payment both parties agree to for licensing the product. These include, minimums, advances, royalties, payment schedule, length of contract and assigned rights.

 

Licensing Evaluation/Review – When a company takes the time to consider adding a new product to their product line. During this time the company evaluates the cost to bring the product to market and if it can be done at a profit.

 

Like for like sales – Process where this year’s sales figures are compared against last year’s sales figures to determine which products within the product line moved better than the others.

 

Limitation of liability – A disclaimer within contract detailing the conditions/limits under which the disclaiming party can be held liable for damages or loss.

 

Line Extension (sometimes called Brand Extension) – Adding new products to an existing brand and hoping that the existing name recognition will help fuel sales and exposure of the new products.

 

Line Review – When a company is showing their product line to a retail chain in hopes of either establishing a line of products within that retail chain or expanding the current line they have within that chain already.

 

Line Sheet – A breakdown about the product being sold provided to the retailer outlining the minimum quantities needed per order, the price per unit, a photo of the product, if they come in varying colors or sizes, discounts for orders over a certain volume, what are your best sellers, payment terms, lead time on orders, shipping method, damage and return policy.

 

Maintenance Fee – A fee to be paid to maintain a patent or a patent application in force. Also called “annuity fee” or “renewal fee”.

 

Manufacture Gross Profit (MGP) – The difference between the development price and the wholesale price.

 

Manufacturer’s Break Strength (MBS) – Point at which the product will most likely fail. There are many variations of this break point depending on the materials used and the product itself. EXAMPLE: The break point for a rope is different than the break point for an audio speaker. Each has its own set of parameters at which it will fail.

 

Manufacturing Broker – Person, company or group that will find a factory to manufacture your parts or product and takes a direct fee, or percentage of each unit made as payment.

 

Margin – The difference of the cost price of a product/service and the selling price of that product/service.

 

Market share – The percentage share a company has of total sales within a given market.

 

Milestone – A scheduled accomplishment that is met within a project. This can be a deliverable event in a contract or a process/project. Most milestones are measureable and observable and are one portion of a series of milestones to end with the completion of the project.

 

Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) – The minimum amount of product that has to be ordered to get the product and the manufacturer to make a profit.

 

Minimum royalty payment – The lowest amount per the contract the inventor will receive quarterly in royalties no matter how many units of the product are sold.

 

Minimums - Clause in the contract that states whether a product sells X-amount units or not, the inventor still gets paid X-amount per year.

 

Misdirected perception in packaging (also involves perceived value) – When the consumer feels they are getting more for their money by making the packaging bigger. EXAMPLE: Potato chips are sold by weight not volume, but the larger bag makes the customer think there is more inside until the bag is opened.

 

Multi-Brand Strategy – This is the practice of marketing a number of competing products by the same company but using different brands to compete against each other. This allows the company to gain more shelf space and keep others limited to smaller shelf space. It also makes it look like there are more players in that space than there really are which can give the impression to the consumer this is a need product. The company hopes it gets the consumer thinking “Why else would there be so many choices if it wasn’t something a lot of people are using”.

 

Non-Disclosure (NDA) – A document that both parties signs agreeing to keep any information discussed or shown confidential. Each party must get a signed original for their records of the document.

 

Non-exclusive – An agreement that the company has the right to manufacture and sell a product, but the inventor is still able to make the same agreement with other companies.

 

Non-obviousness – A patentability requirement according to which an invention should not be obvious to a “person having ordinary skill in the art”, in order to be patented.

 

Non-provisional patent application – A United States patent application that is not a provisional application. A complete non-provisional application differs from a provisional in that a non-provisional must contain at least one claim and is to be examined. A non-provisional application may also claim priority to a prior filed application, which is not permitted with provisional applications.

 

Novelty – A patentability requirement according to which an invention is not patentable if it was already known before the date of filing.

 

Oblique Drawing – A three dimensional drawing of the object that can be used by the inventor or a business to showcase the product and its features.

 

Office Action – In regards to patents, a formal report from a Patent Office examiner to an inventor or attorney detailing which claims in a patent application were allowed for later issue (publication) in a patent and which claims were rejected. The examiner gives reasons for allowance or rejection.

 

Off-Shore – Generally referencing manufacturing done outside the United States.

 

Operation Cost Target (OCT) – The max amount a company will spend on a particular project. This usually covers the material, labor and overhead associated with the project to make final completion.

 

Original Equipment by Manufacturer (OEM) – Producer of the end product. EXAMPLE: The motor for a car that was originally installed at the facility where the car was built.

 

Patent - An issued document by the U.S Patent Office that the patent claim(s) has been recognized by the U.S. government and that the patent holder owns that claim. It helps protect rights to that unique patent and claim.

 

Patent Agent - Works with the product developer/Inventor to negotiate patent agreements. Does similar work as the Patent attorney, but is normally not a lawyer.

 

Patent Application – Documentation submitted to the USPTO by an inventor as a request to be the sole owner of an idea or invention’s patent. The application will include elements of a patent which may also be modified during the application process approval.

 

Patent Attorney – Writes patent claims, researches the patent, and works to help the client obtain a patent on their idea/product.

 

Patent Infringement – Commercially exploiting an invention claimed in a patent without permission of the patentee.

 

Patent Pending – A warning that a patent application has been filed for an invention integrated in a product. The warning indicates that the applicant(s) may be entitled to some rights even if a patent has not been granted yet, or that the applicant(s) will be entitled to some rights once a patent is granted.

 

Patent Search - A search done by a patent lawyer or patenting firm to see if any other patent has been issued on the same or similar concept being considered. Any claims similar to the product idea will have to be addressed and rebuttal as to why the idea is unique from the patent issued.

 

Patent Troll – A person or company who enforces patent rights against accused infringers in an attempt to collect licensing fees, but does not manufacture products or supply services based upon the patents in question.

 

Patentability – A set of substantive requirements for a patent to be granted. An invention satisfying these requirements is said to be patentable.

 

Patentee – One to whom a patent was granted. Also called “patent holder” or “patent proprietor”.

 

Perceived Value - What a consumer sees as value that prompts them to buy one product over the other.

 

Plan-o-gram (POG) – A drawn plan that designates the placement/ location of the product on the stores shelves. These plans are normally prepared by the corporate office for the store/retail chain for its employees to follow.

 

Polyethylene (PE) – One of the most commonly used plastics. It can be found in plastic bags, plastic containers, bottles and more. a/k/a “Polythene”

 

Polypropylene (PP) – A thermoplastic used in a wide array of products such as plastic containers, plastic parts, various packaging and more. a/k/a “Polypropene”

 

Prior Art - Material publicly available prior to the priority date of an application which may anticipate the subject of and prevent the grant of a patent.

 

Product Adaptation – Making improvements/modifications to an existing product to make it stand out from the others currently on the market.

 

Product Development – Normally consists of a business, a division of a company or companies that work on all or a single branch of the process that has dealings with design, innovation/creation and marketing of new products.

 

Product Launch – Date the company plans to have the product on store shelves available to consumers.

 

Product Line – A collection of products produced by one company for sale for profit.

 

Product Placement – A method of getting product expose/publicity by having the product used in something the public sees such as advertisement, media events, celebrity endorsement, used in a movie or TV by the actors or placed in view in the background.

 

Product Search – A company that holds an innovation search for a sponsor/company looking for innovation in a particular area. It can also be the process of doing a search to see if a product already exists within the market place.

 

Proof of Concept – The ability to demonstrate via a prototype, engineering model, 3-D animation, etc. that the product actually will work as claimed.

 

Prototype - Functional model that can demonstrate a product’s features. It can be crude to manufacture ready in quality.

 

Provisional Patent Application (PPA) – An inexpensive method to file a “holding spot” with the patent office for one year on an idea. During that one year, a full patent application needs to be filed.

 

Public Pair (Patent Application Information Retrieval) – A great resource for finding out if maintenance fees are current or the patent has lapsed. Gives information on issued or published patent application status (http://portal.uspto.gov/pair/PublicPair).

 

Quick Response Bar Code (QR Barcode) – A two-dimensional bar code that is inside a square block and can be read by most Smart Phones. It is associated with a link to a website, additional information, phone number, text, video and wide variety of other information. They are very commonplace outside the U.S. and gaining popularity within the U.S.

 

Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) – The wireless non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data.

 

Ready To Assemble (RTA) – Products that require assembly after purchase.

 

Realistic Expectations (in reference to inventing) – Having a good vision of the reality of a situation understanding what cannot and can be done. A good practical understanding of how things work and what can be expected. Knowledgeable of the industry they work within or at least willing to learn how the system works.

 

Repetitive Manufacturing – The process of making the same product during a manufacturing cycle. This normally happens in an assembly line type of environment.

 

Retail Price - Price stores charge the consumer for the product.

 

Retainer or Hold fee - Monetary payment made to inventor to allow company to exclusively keep a product/idea longer for further evaluation or development.

 

Return on investment (ROI) – This is what investors look at before putting in any money. What will the return in profits to them be versus how much they have to put in? This is where they decide what the risk factor is.

 

Running Royalty – A royalty paid to the inventor based on the number of units sold or manufactured instead of a onetime lump sum.

 

Seeding the Market – Placing small amounts of new product in strategic retail locations.

 

Sell sheet – A one or two page document with drawings, and benefit explanations specific to the product. This allows the reader to get a full overview of the product and its marketability.

 

Sell-In – The wholesale price a retailer is given from the manufacturer.

 

Shelf Life – For items such as produce, meats and other items that deteriorate it is the time that the item can remain effective/viable. For other goods it generally means how long they expect it to remain in inventory.

 

Shipping Container – A container that can be sealed and reused normally used to ship product from one country to another via ship or overland by truck or train. They are typically two sizes twenty foot in length and forty foot in length.

 

Small Business Association (SBA) – Organization that helps small businesses with loan programs and mentoring/counseling. They also ensure a certain percentage of federal dollars are expended to small businesses.

 

Small Entity Status – In United States patent law, a status allowing small businesses, independent inventors, and nonprofit organizations to file a patent application and maintain an issued patent for a reduced fee. An entity that does not qualify for small entity status is charged double the fees charged small entities.

 

Spoilage – The number of items broken in a shipment from the factory or fulfillment center to a retailer.

 

Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) – Every SKU is identified with its own unique number tied to a particular item. This helps track product and inventory. These numbers can be tied to the items EAN or UPC.

 

STEP – Neutral file format used to transfer files between various CAD software. Editing this type of file is normally not available because the history tree is unavailable in this format.

 

Subject Matter Expert (SME) - Person that has the most knowledge of a particular subject. In an inventor’s case, they should be that expert on their product.

 

Technical Drawing (TD) – Drawing(s) showing enough detail, dimensions, and notes sufficient for the product’s construction.

 

Test marketing – When a product is exposed to a select sample of the population so the company can get a snapshot of consumer’s reaction to the product. Based on these positive results, they may decide to move forward with the product or reject it before going to a full scale launch of the public. It can also be used to find and fix issues found by the test market group prior to full scale launch.

 

Trade Barrier – The barrier normally imposed by the government on the exchange of international services or products. This can be enacted by tariffs, customs policies, import/export policies, restrictions on licensing, quotas limiting so many of a certain product into the country, technology transfer restrictions and a host of other factors.

 

Trade secret - Know how, confidential information, formula, process that gives the company/individual a competitive advantage and if the know how, confidential information, formula, process is disclosed will harm the company/individual.

 

Trademark – A symbol, name, device or even a word that is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. The same name can be used by two different companies because they are in totally different categories of trade. Trademark is what consumers recognize as the brand/insignia of your product/goods. A Service Mark and Trademark are very similar to each other. With the exception that a Service Mark doesn’t apply to products/goods, it only applies to services

 

Turns – How many units of a product can fit on the shelf and how many times you will need to refill it in a year?

 

Unit Cost – Final cost to the manufacturer after adding in all of the associated costs to manufacture. This can include the materials, molds, shipping, taxes, tariffs, employees, etc.

 

Universal Product Code (UPC) – This is normally a 12 digit barcode placed on the item being sold. UPC is used for pricing at the checkout, inventory, sales, ordering stock and a host of other options. (12 in the U.S.; 13 in Europe)

 

Unrealistic Expectations (in reference to inventing) – Unreasonably idealistic in approach and vision of how things really work and what is believed should happen. Inventors who have unrealistic expectations could be deemed impractical and difficult to work with from a company’s perspective. Not knowledgeable of the industry they are working within and feels the industry should bend to their demands.

 

Upfront payment or “advance on royalties” – Payment made prior to the product going to market to the Inventor. Once the product is on the market the Inventor does not receive any royalties until the advance is equaled in royalties paying the company back for the advance.

 

Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) – They are recognized by OSHA (Occupational Safety Health Association) as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory that tests products and if they pass testing, the UL symbol/logo can be shown on the product to indicate certification. They are known for having very high standards in compliance and do follow-up with companies to ensure they maintain those standards in production.

 

Utility – In regards to patents, a patentability requirement mainly used to prevent the patenting of inoperative devices such as perpetual motion machines.

 

What the Market Will Bear – The top price the consumer will pay before they decide it is too costly for their wants/needs. Example music CDs could sell at $8 and still make a profit but they know consumers are willing to pay $12 and up for their favorite music group.

 

Wholesale Price – The price a company charges for a product normally sold to a retailer. The retailer will then increase the price they paid and sell it to the consumer. NOTE: This is normally the price used when referring to a royalty rate percentage paid per unit in a licensing agreement to an Inventor. It is not to be confused with the Retail Price that is charged to the consumer.

 

Wish List- Some companies will send out a list specifying the areas they want to see new ideas.

 

Work for Hire – Normally a fee paid for services rendered where the person providing the service has no legal ownership of the finished product. EXAMPLE:  A prototype is made by a company. They performed the work but the inventor owns the finished product. If the inventor sells a million of them, the prototype company does not get any further compensation than the fee initially paid for the original service of having the prototype made.


Working Load Limit (WLL) – This is normally the recommended safe area in which the product performs as desired/designed.