Tag Archives: Invention

Collaboration May Be The Answer You Are Looking For To Be Successful With A Product

Collaboration May Be The Answer You Are Looking For To Be Successful With A Product
By Andrew R. Spriegel

Here is a product that we have just started to commercialize successfully after 7 years of sitting on the shelf because it was 2 complicated. It is a drip-less baster that required tooling, $50,000+

We had received several licensing deals on the baster from numerous companies but all of the companies were offering pennies on the dollar, so we turned them down.

I was introduced to a marketing professional this year and we spoke about the products I have at various stages of development. When he looked at the baster he said “you don’t have to license the baster, you only have to license the valve!”

This is why collaboration is critical. We gave the marketer a percentage of sales and went from a position of weakness with the baster to a position of strength with just the valve.

At the Chicago Home and Housewares show this year we offered companies a non-exclusive license to make and use the valve for a royalty on each valve sold. Of all the companies we approached only one wasn’t interested. We showed the companies this video http://www.WonderValv.com and they realized without the valve their baster would leak and the basters with the valve wouldn’t…If we hadn’t brought someone else on the baster would still be on the shelf gathering dust.

youtube=http://www.WonderValv.com/watch?v=JaNH56Vpg-A

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Do you make these mistakes marketing your product?

Do you make these mistakes marketing your product?
by Andrew R. Spriegel
February 23, 2011

ANDHOW INNOVATIONS, LLC is finally ready to sign the non-exclusive licensing agreements and make money on our product!

The product is a dripless baster.  Here is the initial prototype:

 

Baster Valve

Baster Valve Inserted into the Tube

I don’t know why it took me seven years to figure out how to market my business partner’s and my invention.  My business partner is Howard Loewenthal, a principal engineer at Invacare Corporation. We developed a dripless baster that we have attempted to market and sell for years.

Here is a video of a typical baster in operation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kUYyJ5ACYA

Here is a video of the ANDHOW INNOVATIONS, LLC dripless baster

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rs5c96jKes&NR=1

We tried over and over to sell the baster with the check valve, we were in a position of weakness.  Last year we received a licensing offer from Merry Chance, a Chinese Company, that was below our expectations. In spite of our desire to so settle a deal, we turned down the offer and it dawned on me!!!

We don’t have to sell the baster!!….We just have to sell the valve!!!

INSTANTLY WE WENT FROM A POSITION OF WEAKNESS TO A POSITION OF STRENGTH!  Either you license out valve and have a dripless baster or pass and sell a baster that LEAKS!

Introducing the:

In comes Van Washburn from FIT-Brands www.fit-brands.com to handle the marketing and a new video:

www.wondervalv.com

Off to the Housewares Show in Chicago next month, we will keep you posted on the outcome!

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Innovators and Genius in Ohio: Andrew R. Thomas PhD

Interview with New York Times Best Selling Author Andrew R. Thomas PhD
by Andrew R. Spriegel
January 24, 2010

Where did you receive your PhD?

University of Bucharest, Academy of Economic Studies, in International Business. A substantial portion of the funding was provided by the U.S. State Department under a Fulbright Scholarship.

How did you become an author?

After I left the transportation business, I wrote my first book on global business strategy. I enjoyed the process – as well as having authored – so I wrote another one; and then another, and another…

How many books have you published?

Authored, co-authored, or edited 15.

What awards have you won?

The Berry-AMA Prize for the best book in marketing for 2010 (The Distribution Trap).

In 2008, my book Direct Marketing in Action was a finalist for this same award.

In 2003, The Rise of Women Entrepreneurs: People, Processes, and Global Trends selected as Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge Recommended Book on Entrepreneurship.

In 2002, Global Manifest Destiny: Growing Your Business in a Borderless Economy selected as Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge Recommended Book on Global Marketing.

I am most proud that in 2006, I was selected as the Phi Eta Sigma Student’s Choice Award for Favorite Faculty Member at the University of Akron.

What is the American Marketing Association’s Berry Award?

The Berry-AMA Book Prize for the Best Book in Marketing recognizes books whose innovative ideas have had significant impact on marketing and related fields.  Created by distinguished author and professor Leonard L. Berry and his wife Nancy F. Berry through generous contributions to the American Marketing Association Foundation (AMAF), the prize was awarded for the first time in Fall 2002.

Please tell me about your new book “The Distribution Trap”?

The premise is simple: too many inventions today are left in the hands of others to determine their value in the marketplace. This flawed business approach has enabled Mega distributors to rise up in every sector and control those same sectors. This has lead many innovative products and services to become commodities almost overnight.

What does it mean “marketers of innovations should control the channel themselves”?

To create something requires a huge investment in time, money, thought, sweat, and tears. It flies in the face of reason that once the invention is created, control over the sales and distribution of that invention is given over to a third party, which has no stake and very little real interest in whether it succeeds or fails. It is not logical. But it is what the management “gurus”, business professors, and other thought leaders have told inventors they must do to be successful.

I understand you are quite the world traveler.

I’ve been fortunate to have traveled and conducted business in more than 120 countries on all 7 continents.

How much do you use social networking?

Not much. I do have a LinkedIn account and a Facebook account, although I check them every few days. I prefer a personal visit or a phone call.

If you had to live your life over what would you do differently?

I have never had that question asked to me before. And, I’ve never thought about it, until now. I am totally cool with my life and everything that’s happened to me.

The success rate for inventions is estimated to be less than one half of one percent; I attribute that a high percentage of failures can be attributed to poor marketing.  Would you agree?

I would. From my experience, the way an invention is marketed and sold is so often much more important than the quality of the invention itself.

 

Andrew R. Thomas PhD

Title: Assistant Professor of Marketing and International Business
Department: Department of Marketing
Office: CBA 321
Phone: (330)972-7119
Fax: 330-972-5798
Email: art@uakron.edu
Website: http://www.AirRage.org

The Berry-AMA Book Prize recognizes books whose innovative ideas have had significant impact on marketing and related fields.

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Why would you as a firefighter want to use a patent attorney that is a professional fire fighter and an Inventor?

Why would you as a firefighter want to use a patent attorney that is a professional fire fighter and an Inventor?
by Andrew Spriegel
January 12, 2011

Many of the advances made in firefighting and EMS equipment and training have been made by firefighters and paramedics.  So if you are one of the numerous firefighter/EMS inventors, who do you go to write a patent to protect your idea?  Paul Filon, full-time lieutenant and paramedic in the Strongsville Fire Department and a licensed and registered Patent Attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Paul works at Spriegel & Associates, LLC (Patent & Trademark Attorneys) in Hudson, Ohio, http://www.Smart2Patent.com.

In addition to working as an EMT/paramedic for 22 years and a firefighter for 16 years, Mr. Filon is also chemistry specialist and Haz-Mat technician for the regional Haz-Mat and bomb teams.  He is experienced in several technical rescue disciplines and teaches a variety of firefighter and EMS classes.

Spriegel & Associates, LLC is gaining a reputation as working with firefighters, Captain Phil McLean is one of their clients and one of those inventor/firefighter types that owns Sensible Products Inc. (www.senpro.net), in Richfield, Ohio.  Phil and his business partner, retired Fire Chief, Russ English are quality manufacturers of unique holders and bracketry for fittings, adapters, brass goods and tools mounted on fire trucks.  Here is what Phil has to say about working with Paul:

I have worked with Paul Filon on several occasions related to product development. With his Fire Service background and knowledge of Emergency Services it made the development and patent process easy for me and my company as we were developing a new product in the business. He is an energetic worker and has a passion for all the work and all of his professions.  His multi-professional experience was and continues to be an asset to our project.

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More organizations virtualize computer stations, enabling users to access software remotely

More organizations virtualize computer stations, enabling users to access software remotely

By CHUCK SODER
4:30 am, January 10, 2011

(Reprinted with Author’s permission)

 

Most of the employees who will populate the new University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center will work on computers shaped like tissue boxes.

They won’t be alone: A growing number of companies and organizations in Northeast Ohio are working to “virtualize” their desktops, and even more are thinking about it.

For University Hospitals, the Ahuja Medical Center is just the beginning. The hospital system plans to replace most of its personal computers with those “tissue boxes” — referred to as “thin client” computers — over the next few years, said Brad Chilton, chief technology officer in the hospital system’s information technology department.

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Innovators and Genius in Ohio

Innovators and Genius in Ohio
Tom Moran
By Andrew R. Spriegel
December 30, 2010

There are many stories about the lack of innovation and the down economy in the Ohio and Cleveland Area.  Enter Tom Moran of Midwest Plastic Fabricators (MPF) in Aurora, Ohio.  Innovator and Inventor of numerous patented manufacturing processes and products, Tom is a 45 year veteran and leader in the industry.

One of the innovative products is a line of NEMA PVC Junction Boxes.  A combination of innovative materials and patented cutting edge technology combines for easy installation and reduced life cycle cost.

PVC offers less resistance than conventional metal in cutting holes for conduit entrance.  In addition, non-conductive PVC eliminates potential shock hazard.  In addition, its non-corrosive properties offer longer life and environmental integrity.

Photo Above: Light weight PC Enclosures offer Heavy Duty Performance for food process applications

Photo Above: Innovative Non Metallic PVC Enclosures feature Three-Point Latching

Photo Above: Patented PVC Elbow Crate Saves warehouse Space and is a dispenser pack.

Consider the Fulton Road Bridge,

a Cleveland engineering landmarks is a $44 million architectural attraction that spans the Cleveland Metropark Zoo


and Big Creek Valley.

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Interview with Inventor and Patent Attorney Andrew Spriegel about the Portion PadL

Interview with Inventor and Patent Attorney Andrew Spriegel about the Portion PadL

By Tara1 | Published: December 1, 2010

portion padl pizza cutter

My thanks to Inventor and Patent Attorney Andrew Spriegel for agreeing to an interview with me about his business partner Greg Getzinger’s invention the Portion PadL and how together they brought the product to market. The Portion PadL was invented to enable pizza businesses to quickly and easily slice pizzas into equal pieces. The Portion PadL is available for both commercial and home use.

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about yourself, where you are based and your career background?

Andrew Spriegen Inventor and Patent Attorney

Andrew: I worked most of my career as a Manager or a Lead Senior Electro-Mechanical Engineer for Fortune 100 companies, GE, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Invacare and others.  My experience involves a wide range of products, satellites, locomotives, off-highway vehicles, medical durable goods, surgical devices and consumer goods.  I have many US and international patents and had made a lot of money for other companies.  At 48 years old I decided to go to law school to become a patent attorney and commercialize my own products and other’s products.  I now own a patent law firm (www.Smart2Patent.com) and own several businesses commercializing products.

Tara: Is the Portion PadL the first invention you have bought to market?

Andrew: No, I had brought numerous products to market prior to the Portion PadL.

Tara: I understand that the original idea for the Portion PadL was invented by Greg Getzinger with whom you are now in business. Please could you tell me a little bit about Greg, how he came up with his invention and how the two of you connected and set up your business?

Greg Getzinger

Andrew: Prior to owning a pizza business (Pizza BOGO, www.pizzabogo.com) ), Greg was a Vice President for a large Insurance Company.  He developed the equal slice pizza cutting board (Portion PadL, www.PortionPadL.com) for his business to develop school and institutional accounts.  He heard complaints about unequal size slices of pizzas and worked on developing a solution for the problem.  Greg and I met at a networking event that his group was having at the building where my law firm is located.  It was a chili cook-off and Greg brought in a “chili pizza” on one of his prototype boards.  I saw the board and I asked him if it was patented and said that if it wasn’t it would be a great product to patent and commercialize.  We formed NuVo Grand, LLC as equal members.

Tara: Did you start with working drawings of the product or did you make a prototype?

Andrew: Greg built numerous prototypes (20+) of the equal slice pizza cutting board.  He was trying to perfect the cutting board for his business.  He did not have drawings, rather his father-in-law was making various designs based on Greg’s dimensions.  Greg tried numerous materials, sizes, grooves…

Tara: How did you go about protecting the invention?

Andrew: I have written two utility patents on the cutting board and I am working on a third utility patent.  We are building up a lot of intellectual property around the product.

Click here to see Video

Tara; Were there any mistakes, issues or problems you both experienced in the process of commercialization of the idea?

Andrew: Actually it has gone very smoothly.  Greg and I seem to compliment each other’s skill sets.  Greg is great at sales and marketing and I knew how to have the product manufactured, the manufacturers, the processes and protecting intellectual property.  I spent my career commercializing complex products very quickly and therefore I help inventors avoid the mistakes made by the typical inventors. Greg did encounter a big snow storm delivering materials to the manufacturer…a two hour trip turning into a twelve hour ordeal.

Tara: Did you consider licensing the invention or did you always plan to manufacture it yourself?

Andrew: The only products that I pursue are patentable, simple, revolutionary and either we can manufacture or have someone manufacture, preferably one at a time.  I prefer to take an order and then manufacture the product, that way you get to positive cash flow quickly.  Inventors often run out of money because they buy large quantities of product to get a good price on the product and they wind up with a garage full of product they can’t sell.

In my experience, licensing a product is a difficult thing to do.  Either you don’t get a deal, someone attempts to steal or design around the product or you get offered pennies on the dollar.

If you can manufacture and sell the product you start to “take away market share” and companies sit up and notice.  At that point if you sell or license the product you get a much better deal.

Tara: How will you go about marketing and publicizing your product? Do you intend to sell the product direct to businesses and public yourself or are you planning to wholesale it?

Andrew: Greg started marketing the product to large companies right away.  He has a real talent for sales.  Greg knows that it takes a lot of “no responses” to get a single yes.  Now our customers are Domino’s, Schwan’s, Speedway, Piccadilly Circus Pizza…and many Mom and Pop pizza shops.

I built the website www.PortionPadL.com and work with bloggers and social networking to build the brand.  If you Google “Portion PadL” we are the main listing for about the first six pages.

Tara: How long has it taken from Greg’s initial idea to where you both are now with the business?

Andrew: We have been working together less than a year.

Tara: What advice would you give to an aspiring inventor who thinks they have a good idea?

Andrew: We all love our own ideas, you have to determine if there is a market for the product.

Here are some of my key decision factors:

  • 1. Is the product Protectable? (Patent, Trademark, Copyright…)
    • a. If you have a great product and it is not protected people will copy it fairly quickly.
    • b. If you can’t protect the product I wouldn’t bother commercializing it
      • i. However, there are products that sell very well such as the Snuggies, the Amish Fireplace…but those products have been successful because of large ad campaigns
    • c.    The Portion PadL is protected by numerous Utility Patents Pending so it’s met that key decision factor
  • 2.    Is the product Revolutionary?
    • a. If it meets “a need” it is likely a commodity
      • i. People can listen to music on a large number of MP3 players
    • b.    If it meets “a want” it is likely Revolutionary
      • i. The iPod is the product that people want to listen to music on and therefore they have the largest market share.
    • c. The Portion PadL has numerous advantages over the existing products that assist people in cutting and therefore it is a “want” product.
  • 3. Can be manufactured “one at a time” until you have volume orders?
    • a. In the initial stages of commercializing the product we bought a full sheet of Richlite and when a customer ordered one we had the manufacturer make one and ship it.  That way we got to positive cash flow quickly.

Tara: What advice would you give to an inventor who has already developed and manufactured their product and are now looking at ways to publicize and market it?

Andrew: If they don’t have the expertise get help.  Many inventors have a great idea or product but they get in their own way because they have no idea how to sell it.  The product fails not because of the product but because the inventor cannot let go of controlling everything.

Tara: You have started creating a series of books for inventors chronicling the journey of inventors from invention idea to commercialization, perhaps you could tell me a little more about what you hope to achieve with the books?

Andrew: The series is called the Spilled Coffee Chronicles of Invention. I have several writers documenting inventors progress in commercializing products.  I have a high success rate in commercializing products and the books will help inventors avoid the many inventors pitfalls.  The books describe the successes and the failures along the way.  The volumes are just starting to be published but the first volume for the Portion PadL is on Kindle and Amazon at: http://tinyurl.com/2wspqrh and http://tinyurl.com/36ypa6a, respectively.  The books are also written to dispel many of the myths around inventing.  It is not a get rich quick thing, it takes hard work and persistence.  The books generate income for the inventors, the writers, myself and for reinvesting in publishing the series.

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