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All posts for the month November, 2018

Read the Complete Article at: http://onestopinventionshop.net/blog/2018/11/introduce-your-invention-using-social-media/

Introduce Your Invention Using Social Media

With the decline of independent retailers, inventors need a new approach to jump start their sales. Social Media fortunately does step into the spotlight to get products into the marketplace.  Here are some steps.

Have a web page and have a sign up for a newsletter. Use Constant Contact or Convert Kit to set up routine newsletters to people. You can send out offers to people on a regular basis.
Have friends pin your product on relevant Pinterest Boards. For example if you do a search for babies Pinterest boards on Google, you’ll get lots of boards. Your friends can pin items from your site on the board. Be sure they included your web page. You might even ask people who come to your site and like your product to Pin your product to boards they may know of.
Set up a Facebook Store. http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/how-to-set-up-a-facebook-store/
Set Up an Instagram Store. http://www.wikihow.com/Establish-an-Online-Shop-through-Instagram
Start using Facebook Fan pages https://blog.kissmetrics.com/facebook-fan-pages-guide/
Start Using Instagram Fan Pages. http://blog.fanpagekarma.com/2014/08/26/5-tips-for-more-success-on-instagram/                         https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnIlPM-
Post videos on You-Tube of your product. You don’t expect people to find you on you-tube but you want to refer to the video on your web page, plus all your information on other social media sites.

You need to expect to work 20 hours a week keeping up with all the traffic you generate and answering queries and writing your blog.  But you can generate the buzz and sales you need to help license your product or place your product into major retailers.

Internet – Social Media Success Story

Lisa Pinnell is a young mom whose success has all happened because of Social Media. Her company, Binxy Baby, started selling the first commercial version of the product in 2014 and its current version of her product in February 2015. Binxy Baby had sales of $250,000 in 2015 and Pinnell expects to sell $500,000 to $750,000 in 2016.   All the sales have been from her web site, which she promotes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Inspiration: In September 2008 Pinnell’s second child was born and she soon learned that taking two children, including one infant, to the grocery store was impossible.  The baby needed to go down into the grocery cart itself, with child number one the shopping cart’s child safety seat area.  The problem was there wasn’t any room for groceries. Pinnell thought the solution was a baby hammock that would hang across the shopping cart which sells on the Internet today for $49.95.   http://binxybaby.com/products/shopping-cart-hammock

Social Network Marketing

Pinnell’s unanticipated marketing plan started when she placed a photo of the product on her Facebook site.  She had only a bare bones Bixny Baby web site set up at the time.  One of her friends noted the picture and pinned it to Pinterest with a reference to her Facebook site. Then, while not quite going viral, the interest took off.  People loved the picture of the baby in the hammock. Moms knew moms and suddenly many moms were seeing the picture.

Pinnell wasn’t set up at all for this traffic. But she moved fast.  On her web site she set up an email list for people who wanted to know when the product was available.  She also let people friend her on Facebook and follow her on Instagram so that when her product was ready she could let her network know

Pinnell placed her first order from China for delivery in the fall of 2014.  About 6 weeks before delivery she started letting everyone know the product was coming either by email or by her postings of pictures on both Facebook and Instagram and let people place pre-orders on her site.  She received over 600 pre-orders before the shipment arrived. She was also helped by being featured on a Steve Harvey show in the fall of 2014 right after the shipment came in.  Within 30 days Pinnell sold out of her first order

Today Pinnell still markets through her pins on Pinterest and her Facebook and Instagram pages. Her favorite is Instagram. The only promotional program she runs is to team up with some other baby product inventors who sell primarily on Etsy.com, a site where many moms are sellers of handmade baby items. On one promotion Pinnell teams up with four other sellers of baby related products and they post a picture of all four of their products with, for example, a spring-give-a-way promotion. To be eligible for a prize they have to sign up to follow all four sellers.  Pinnell mentions that this is a great way to get people to sign up to follow them or friend her site.

Pinnell has tried more traditional marketing, she attended the ABCKids show in 2014 with samples in a booth.  She attracted some retailers but she has found that they just aren’t as profitable as selling online.  The key, says Pinnell is that “when moms of infants see her product, they want to buy.”

FACEBOOK GROUPS

Why Join Facebook Groups?

One of the biggest reasons to join Facebook groups is the visibility and networking they offer. On any given day that I look in my news feed, I see many posts from groups that I’m active in, but fewer from pages that I like.

Groups are also more visible because people who belong to the group get notifications about new posts, which tends to keep the discussions going. (However, people can turn these notifications off if they want to.)

One of the downsides of Facebook groups for some business owners is that you have to join as your personal Facebook profile—your page cannot join a group. So if you don’t want to use your profile, then Facebook groups may not be for you.

I’m a big fan of using your profile to connect with others on Facebook, just like you would show up personally to a networking event.

Before You Join a Group

You can join up to 6,000 Facebook groups, but I suggest focusing on 10-20 where you know you’ll be active regularly. If that’s too many for you, focus on a few that will have the highest impact for you.

Before you join a group, make sure it’s a good fit. Measure it against a few key criteria: active members, good description and low spam.

If it’s a closed group, you won’t be able to see the activity until you join, so it will be hard to tell if the membership is active. If you join and find the group isn’t for you, don’t feel bad if you leave right away.

When you’re looking at a new group, read the About section to see the mission of the group. This will give you a feel for whether it’s right for you. You may also find that the group restricts membership based on certain qualifications.

No group is going to be a valuable place to participate if it’s just a bunch of sales messages with no-one contributing conversation. Many groups have rules about what you can and can’t post. Some allow a little bit of promotion, but with qualifications—such as only promoting on certain days or within certain threads.

Find Facebook Groups

If  you’re looking for a Facebook group to join, you can take Facebook’s suggestions or you can search with Facebook’s Graph Search.

https://www.facebook.com/graphsearcher/ search box on top.

Create Your Own Facebook Group

Bring Fans Into a Focused Facebook Group

If you haven’t heard the news, Facebook pages don’t have the same reach they used to.

Instead, there’s a hidden world on Facebook that’s taking over: the Facebook group. Groups are collections of like-minded people who share a common interest or goal and cover all sorts of niches.

The control you have over a group’s visibility is part of the appeal. Many Facebook groups are private communities where people connect outside the prying eyes of their friends and families. However, within a group, Facebook doesn’t limit who can see what. Members of a group see all of the posts in it.

You could join a group owned by someone else, but the best way to tap into this tool for business is to create your own group.

First of all, you need to know that Facebook groups don’t operate like Facebook pages. The Groups feature’s sole purpose isn’t promoting a business. Your group shouldn’t even be about your business. Instead, you want to provide a place where your target audience can feel safe and comfortable.

Think about the interests your audience shares. For instance, if you provide web design services for app developers, you want to create a group that sits on the crux of your product and your audience. So you might create a group called Design for Apps.

Create a Group

If you haven’t heard the news, Facebook pages don’t have the same reach they used to.

Instead, there’s a hidden world on Facebook that’s taking over: the Facebook group. Groups are collections of like-minded people who share a common interest or goal and cover all sorts of niches.

The control you have over a group’s visibility is part of the appeal. Many Facebook groups are private communities where people connect outside the prying eyes of their friends and families. However, within a group, Facebook doesn’t limit who can see what. Members of a group see all of the posts in it.

You could join a group owned by someone else, but the best way to tap into this tool for business is to create your own group.

First of all, you need to know that Facebook groups don’t operate like Facebook pages. The Groups feature’s sole purpose isn’t promoting a business. Your group shouldn’t even be about your business. Instead, you want to provide a place where your target audience can feel safe and comfortable.

Think about the interests your audience shares. For instance, if you provide web design services for app developers, you want to create a group that sits on the crux of your product and your audience. So you might create a group called Design for Apps.

To begin creating your Facebook group, look for the Groups section in the left-hand sidebar and click Create Group. When Facebook asks you to choose the purpose of your group, click Connect and Share.

If  you’re looking for a Facebook group to join, you can take Facebook’s suggestions or you can search with Facebook’s Graph Search.

https://www.facebook.com/graphsearcher/ search box on top.

The post Introduce Your Invention Using Social Media appeared first on One Stop Invention Shop.

Read the Complete Article at: http://onestopinventionshop.net/blog/2018/11/how-to-patent-a-simple-invention/

How to Patent a Simple Invention

By Carly Klein

You came up with a simple, elegant solution to a common problem. You want to bring this non-complex and one-part product to the marketplace. Now what?

To make your simple invention available for consumer use, and to monetize your invention to the fullest possible extent, you should first obtain intellectual property protection by securing a patent.

What is a patent?

A patent is a federal statutory grant of exclusivity to the inventor of a useful, novel, non-obvious invention for up to twenty years. Patents are a powerful and lucrative form of intellectual property. The right conferred by a patent grant is “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States.

Patents are granted for this limited time period of twenty years to an inventor on the basis of an application after a process of examination. Once valid, a patent grants protection from any subsequent independent invention by another inventor that tries to copy the product, deeming the the latter inventor the infringer.

What qualifies as a simple invention?

A simple invention is anything that is a tangible, physical consumer product with fewer than two moving parts. A simple invention will not contain a software or technical component as it is merely just a device. There might be no movable parts or there could be one or two. Examples of simple inventions are baseball bats, grill scrapers, coffee mugs, etc.

If my invention is so simple, it should be easy to patent- right?

Interestingly enough, the answer is no. Patents for complicated designs are often easier to obtain than patents for simple inventions. Most of the time simple, solutions can get rejected because they are not novel or not non-obvious.

What are the complications involved with patenting a simple invention?

First, in order to qualify for a patent, an invention must meet five eligibility standards set forth by the US Patent & Trademark Office:

The intention be a new and useful process, machine, or object.
The invention must have utility.
The invention must be novel/new.
The invention must be non-obvious.
The invention must not have been disclosed to the public before the patent application.

Patent attorney J.D. Houvener says that, “Most of the time, simple solutions get rejected when you file a patent application because they fail to meet the eligibility requirements of novelty or non-obviousness. Unless an invention is completely groundbreaking or first of its kind, it is difficult to obtain a patent for something so simple.”

Most simple inventions fall under the scope of a utility patent. However, utility patents are often too difficult to obtain for a simple object because they lack the aspects of functionality and novelty.

For example, if an inventor seeks a utility patent for a new hairbrush, he or she must show that it performs its function better than anything else. The patent will likely be rejected because its merely an obvious twist on an already existing object which performs the same function as the original model.

A design patent as a loophole

An inventor struggling to patent a simple invention under a utility patent can sometimes get a design patent instead. While a design patent has much less value as it only protects what the invention looks like, it is better than no patent at all. With the hairbrush example, the inventor might be trying to patent a brush with a new kind of curve. Rather than demonstrating how the curve works, the inventor can show how the brush has a specific aesthetic twist and be eligible for a design patent. This will protect people from having that exact design.

Patents consist of descriptions and claims

Another complication in patenting a simple object is that patents are granted and defined by claims. These claims are comprised of descriptions and a numbered list of specific traits that explain how the invention is non-obvious, novel, and new. The claims explain how the product works, why the product exists, and how to use the product.

If an inventor is trying to patent their simple invention with a simple claim, Houvener says that, “A very simple one liner claim is going to get rejected unless you have something unbelievable that no one has ever seen. Most patents today are improvements that stand on the shoulders of current inventions. It is actually quite rare to see a brand new genus or new type of patent object.”

Case study: the toothbrush

The toothbrush is a simple, elegant invention that everyone (hopefully!) uses multiple times a day. Picture the most basic, disposable toothbrush you have ever seen. In picking it up and examining it, you can see that there are only two parts: the brush itself and the bristles.

However, the patent for this simple invention is not so simple. There are twelve total claims on one toothbrush patent and twenty-two total paragraphs describing the toothbrush. One of the claims for a toothbrush patent reads:

“A toothbrush comprising a handle (12) and a brushing head mounted thereon and including an elongated base element (14) having a longitudinal axis (18) and mounting a plurality of bristle elements (16) extending generally transversely to said axis and each having one end (26) affixed to said base member and the other end (24) free, said free ends defining together a generally V-shaped channel (40) for receiving a tooth and for guiding said brushing head….”

You get the picture: even the most simple, elegant invention, requires an extremely specific and in depth description.

The solution: draft your claim well

To write a claim for a simple invention that will stand up against the eligibility tests of non-obviousness and novelty, you and your patent attorney must get extraordinarily creative with the patent language. As Houvener explained, you can’t come up with a one-liner and expect patentability.

Instead, to have the best shot at patenting a simple, elegant invention, the patent claim language must break the device down into a number of claims in equally simple, elegant language.

Moreover, the claim should consist of as few claims as possible to cover every specific aspect, nuance, and use for the invention. The language does not need to be convoluted or confusing, but it does have to be all-encompassing. The shorter and simpler the claim is, the more valuable it will be. Longer claims with more wording have less value because in order to show infringement, a patent holder must prove that the infringer is copying everything in the patent claim. Literal infringement involves making, using, or selling a copycat version of a patented invention. The less complicated or lengthy the patent language, the easier your patent will be to enforce because it will be easier to demonstrate literal infringement.

 It is difficult, but not impossible to patent your simple invention

 While it might be more of an uphill battle to patent your simple invention than you may have thought, it is possible to do so if your claim can stand up to the eligibility tests of novelty and non-obviousness.

On the upside, some patent law firms actually charge less for a simple invention with less moving parts than they would charge for a complicated new piece of technology or software.

If you think your invention has what it takes to get a patent, and you think your invention has the power to make someone’s life just a little bit better, then the patent process may very well be a path worth taking.

The post How to Patent a Simple Invention appeared first on One Stop Invention Shop.