Common Sense Inventing - Educational articles to help Inventors make informed decisions

A misconception that plagues Inventors is two-fold, one they don’t do the proper research to see if their idea is patented and the other is they don’t do research to see if it is on the market. These two are independent of each other, but they both need to be done before you move forward and start spending money on your idea. You can do a lot of this for free, it just takes your time.

They forget every item patented is not on the market and every product on the market is not patented. So, just doing a patent search is not the answer to every idea you may want to research. I get contacted by Inventors all the time telling me they did a patent search and could not find their idea anywhere and I have had Inventors swear they looked online and in every store for their idea and can’t find it.

In both cases they missed the product in the other field. When checking to see if your idea is out there you need to check both areas not just one. Go into any large chain store and look at how many products you see on the shelf without a patent. I think you will be amazed at what you find.
As I always say “patentable does not equal marketable” In a number of cases branding and getting to market first has proven to be more effective than a patent.

Not a week goes by without an Inventor emailing me wanting to know why it takes so darn long to get an answer from a company they have approached or is reviewing their idea. Being a serial Inventor myself I understand the frustration with the long wait, so I am going to try and give you some insight into why it takes so darn long.

Here is an example I like to use: I contacted a company I have a long relationship with to look at a particular product. First, you have understand the company owns 34 other companies and all new products have to go through one central person to be reviewed by this person to decide if it should even go to a particular company within their grouping. He then gets involved with the lead person for that division and works with them the entire process. The 34 companies make everything from industrial lubricants, pet items, tools, medical supplies, plumbing items, auto parts and more. So they are very diverse.

I have talked with this person weekly for a number of years. So we have a great working relationship. He first saw the product in December of 2012. He forwarded it to the division lead that looked at the product and liked it for their pet division. They did some initial costing and other reviews. They came back saying they wanted to do further testing and would get back to me. The testing took 2 months due to the complexity of the product. They came back saying it was of interest but they had some internal personnel changes and it would take some time to move forward if at all. I continued to send the product to other companies for review and got a couple of bites, but those companies decided to pass on the product.
After several more months the original company I presented it to were back looking at the product and starting with a new focus group. So, I started their review process all over with the new people in that division. As things progressed we got involved with their engineering people discussing CADs, design changes and other information. After a couple more months we started discussing terms for the licensing of the product. It took 2 months of back and forth to agree to terms on a final contract. That contract was signed March 2014. So as you can see it was not an overnight success, but it was a great success.

To give you some real life examples of why things don’t move as quickly as you and I may want. Read some of the responses below that you get from companies. Do you think calling them daily or weekly asking for an update would help or hinder your chances of getting the current product they are holding licensed? If you called them daily or weekly asking for an update in these situations do you think they would be happy to work with you and want to see more items from you? Do you think pushing the issue would change their internal policy?

From a major leader in this particular market.
I forwarded the concept to our __________ Folks. Can we please touch base again in another month about this and other _________ ideas?

Am I supposed to tell him a month is to long to wait? Should tell him I need an answer by Friday because I don’t want to wait that long?

This is from a Toy Company that specializes and is the leader in the type of toy I want to present. I contacted them on October 2013 and below was their response.

Hi Roger,

Thank you for your email. __________ is currently wrapping up our product development for 2014, but if the opportunity is still available in the spring, perhaps we could discuss then.

Should I tell them Spring is to far off, I think December would be better? I went back to them in March and they have interest in the product I presented to them. They were so interested we have a meeting set to meet them face to face in the next few weeks to discuss that product and others.
Do you think it would have gone so well if I had emailed them every week saying “ Is now a good time?” “ How about now?”

Would I love to send a product out on Monday and be closing the deal by Friday? Yes. Does it work that way? In most cases I would say, No. Typically you are working within each company’s system and dealing with multiple people within those companies to get the products reviewed by the right person within the company, allowing the company to do their internal due diligence, costing, focus group or whatever else they deem necessary for them to make an informed decision. Why? Because, they will be spending a large sum of money and effort to get your product to market. You want them to be successful which means you will be successful.

One thing I have learned over the past 15 years of inventing and getting my products licensed is that you WILL have to wait, things will not always go the way you want, but if you do things in a professional manner your chances of success are higher.

A good practice to follow is once you have a product out there for evaluation don’t just sit there worrying about where that product is, and its progress. Start working on your next product to take your mind off the first one. The time will go by quicker and you will have another product to add to the mix.

Being a Serial Inventor and having worked as a Licensing Agent I have seen both sides of the industry. Working with Inventors over the past 18 years I have found that in a majority of cases Inventors have unrealistic expectations of how the inventing and manufacturing industry works versus how they think it should work. So I put together a list of comments Inventors should read and consider because they are a fact of the industry whether you want to believe them or not called Just Because:

1. Just Because you love it and can see it in every home in the U.S. does not make it a reality.

2. Just Because your friends and family love it, does not mean it is a million dollar idea.

3. Just Because you have a patent does not mean its marketable.

4. Just Because you can make it cheaply does not mean a company HAS to sell it.

5. Just Because you sent it special delivery to a company does not mean they will open it right away or that they will love it.

6. Just Because YOU KNOW it would fit well with the company’s line of products does not mean they will.

7. Just Because you spent a lot of money having a prototype made, paid a lot for a patent, paid more to shoot a video, paid a marketing company for
a marketing analysis and are in debt over your head does not mean a company has to take that into account when they review your idea.

8. Just Because you have been busting your butt for the past 3 years on this product does not make it marketable.

9. Just Because YOU want it to happen you can’t force consumers to like your product and buy it.

10. Just Because you got rejected does not mean THEY are stupid.

11. Just Because there are 360 million people in the U.S. does not mean you put in your sell sheet that all 360 million people will throw away their current (perfectly working) product to buy your product.

12. Just Because you don’t understand WHY, people will buy things you think are stupid and useless over yours it will still happen.

13. Just Because you called the company and left a message does not mean they have to call you back.

14. Just Because you sent them your prototype unsolicited does not mean they have to pay for the return postage.

15. Just Because a company has the capabilities to make your product does not mean they Have Too.

16. Just Because you don’t want to do any of the boring research does not mean a similar or better product than yours does not exist.

17. Just Because you have a patent does not mean companies will be beating down your door to buy it.

18. Just Because you have all the facts and figures on your potential sales does not mean you will meet those goals. Rule number one- consumers are fickle.

19. Just Because your presentation was great and your prototype worked perfectly companies still can and Do say NO.

20. Just Because you have a patent does not mean your product won’t be knocked off.

21. Just Because you think the long story of how you came up with your product is interesting does not mean you have to add it to your presentation to the company.

22. Just Because you signed a contract with a company does not automatically mean you will be rich. It still has to sell to the consumer.

23. Just Because you have a product on the market does not mean it will sell forever. Every product has a shelf life and each one varies.

24. Just Because you spent $10,000 on a prototype and a patent does not mean you will make your money back.

25. Just Because you want everyone to be a cheerleader for your product doesn’t mean you won’t have to face criticism.

26. Just Because you can talk people into investing in your product doesn’t mean it will be a great seller in the stores.

27. Just Because you get rejected does not mean you can’t find success. Learn from the criticism, improve your product and try again.

28. Just Because your product is a niche item doesn’t mean you can’t be the leader in that niche.

29. Just Because you have competition in your market does not mean you can’t compete, you just have to work harder at it, find your HOOK and stand out from the crowd.

30. Just Because you have three patents you want to sell does not mean a company has to buy them. They have to have market value to get a company interested.

31. Just Because you can get a loan to file a patent…should you? (Do your research first and make an as informed decision as possible before going in debt)

32. Just Because you interpret another person’s patent in your favor does not mean the Patent Examiner will have the same interpretation.

33. Just Because you think you are to smart to fail, doesn’t mean you won’t. Do your research upfront and treat it like a business……because it is.

34. Just Because you are able to make a prototype does not mean it is marketable.

35. Just Because none of your relatives have said your idea is not marketable doesn’t mean a company will have the same assessment.

36. Just Because you are willing to travel with your product to explain it to a company doesn’t mean the company will accept that offer.

37. Just Because you want your product on the market this year does not mean the company can make it happen. You have to take into account their selling season, the time to manufacture, get it in front of Buyers for retail and distribute the product. That all takes time.

38. Just Because you feel you should get a top royalty rate does not mean one will be offered. Royalties vary depending on what you bring to the table, the ROI, their margins, your target market and more.

Persistence, Patience and Positive Attitude
I thought I would share the Three P’s that have made my inventing successful.

Persistence- defines persistence as “the act or fact of persisting.” I would expand on that definition to add “A controlled steady movement towards a goal”. Many Inventors tend to be overly pushy and demanding wanting answers immediately from the company they are trying to get interested in their product idea. There is a fine line between Persistence and being a Pest. Once that line is crossed your chances of success are lost.

Patience-If you don’t have it, you better start learning it. Inventing is a love/hate relationship. You love your idea and want the world to buy it, but you hate the time it takes to get it to market. No matter how much control you think you have over your project there are always obstacles you can’t control. So, unless you are the sole person doing every aspect of the design, gathering materials, manufacturing, shipping, sales, marketing, product placement and own a chain of stores to sell it, you will be waiting on someone.

Positive Attitude- The final P is Positive Attitude. Without it the first two mean nothing. Your attitude can make or break your success. Whether it is a meeting with potential investors, a presentation of your idea to a company or speaking with a consumer about your product your attitude is key to your success.
You have to have faith in yourself and your idea. If you don’t why should anyone else? You don’t see an infomercial on T.V. saying “We think you might like our product.” Instead they are saying “You will love how it does _________ faster, better, easier.” Why, because they know these are words that are positive and tell the consumer the benefits of their product. They are stating all the positives to get you in that same frame of mind.
Ask yourself why you came up with this idea. Do you truly believe it will accomplish what you say it will? If you can be positive about your product and its benefits are real, not just hype, it will sell.

Remember- “Dreams are accomplished by people who do, not by people who wish”.

Finding an Inventor group near you is a great resource to have at your disposal. Some groups have members that are lawyers, designers, engineers and other skills that can help you find success. I try and keep this listing of Inventor Groups as accurate as possible. If you see any that are wrong or missing please email me at so I can correct it. Also looking to expand the International Inventor groups/clubs listing. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks


United Inventors Association of the USA
1025 Connecticut Ave Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036

National Congress of Inventor Organizations (NCIO)
8306 Wilshire Blvd., Ste 391
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
1-866-466-0253 FREE
Auburn Student Inventors and Entrepreneurs Club
Auburn University Campus
Samuel Ginn College of Engineering
1210 Shelby Center
Auburn, AL 36849
Grant Moore

Invent Alabama
Bruce Koppenhoefer
137 Mission Circle
Montevallo, AL 35115
Inventors Association of Arizona, Inc.
Tim Crawley, President
PO Box 6436
Glendale, AZ 85302
(623) 680-5192

Carefree Innovators
34522 N Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale AZ 85266
Arkansas Inventors’ Network
Chad Collins
PO Box 56523
Little Rock, AR 72215
Phone: (501) 247-6125
American Inventor Network
Jeff McGrew II
1320 High School Rd.
Sebastopol, CA 95472
(707) 829-2391

Inventors Forum
George White, President
PO Box 1008
Huntington Beach, CA 92647-1008
Phone (714) 540-2491

Invention Accelerator Workshop
11292 Poblado Rd.
San Diego, CA 92127
(858) 451-1028

San Diego Inventors Forum
Adrian Pelkus, President
1195 Linda Vista, Suite C
San Marcos, CA 92069
(760) 591-9608
Rocky Mountain Inventors’ Association
Roger Jackson, President
1805 So. Bellaire St., St. 480
Denver, CO 80222
(303) 271-9468
Christian Inventors
Association, Inc.
Pal Asija
7 Woonsocket Ave.
Shelton, CT 06484
(203) 924-9538

CT Invention Convention
PO Box 230311
Hartford CT. 06123-0311

Danbury Inventors Group
Robin Faulkner
2 Worden Avenue
Danbury, CT 06811
(203) 790-8235

Inventors Association of Connecticut
Doug Lyon
521 Popes Island Road
Milford, CT 06461
(203) 924-9538

Aspiring Inventors Club
Peter D’Aguanno
773 A Heritage Village
Hilltop west
Southbury, CT 06488
District of Columbia
Inventors Network of the Capital area
P.O. Box 18052
Baltimore, MD 21220
Ph: 443 794 7350
Inventors Council of Central Florida
Dr. David Flinchbaugh
5635 Commerce Drive
Orlando, FL 32839

Edison Inventors Association, Inc.
PO Box 60972
Ft. Myers, FL 33906
(239) 275-4332

Inventors Society of South Florida
Leo Mazur, President
P.O. Box 6008
Delray Beach, FL 33482

Space Coast Inventors Guild
Angel Pacheco
4346 Mount Carmel Lane
Melbourne, FL 329 01-8666

Tampa Bay Inventors’ Council
Wayne Rasanen, President
7752 Royal Hart Drive
New Port Richey, FL 34653
(727) 565-2085

North Florida Inventors Group
Bob Hawkinson

North Florida Inventors/Innovators Group

Jacksonville, FL
993 New Product Developers


Check out this Meetup Group →

The Columbus Phoenix City Inventors Association
PO Box 8132,
Columbus GA 31908
Mike Turner

Inventor Association of Georgia
Dave Savage,
Point of contact
1407 Bunky Lane
Dunwoody, GA 30338

Hawaii Inventors Club
95-488 Awiki st
Mililani, HI 96789
Inventors Association of Idaho
P.O. Box 817
Sandpoint, Idaho 83854

Creative Juices Inventors Society
7175 W. Ring Perch Drive
Boise, Idaho 83709
Chicago Inventors Organization
Calvin Flowers – President
Maurice Moore – Office Manager
1647 S. Blue Island,
Chicago, Illinois 60608

Black Hawk Hills Entrepreneur & Inventor Club
PO Box 173
Lanark, IL 61046
(815) 541-0577

Illinois Innovators & Inventors
Don O’Brien, President
P.O. Box 623
Edwardsville, IL 62025
Indiana Inventors Association
David Zedonis
10699 Evergreen Point
Fishers, IN 46037
(317) 842-8438

Iowa Inventors Group
Frank Morosky-President
PO Box 10342
Cedar Rapids, IA 52410
(206) 350-6035

Inventors Assoc. of S. Central Kansas
Richard Freidenberger
2302 N. Amarado St.
Wichita KS, 67205
(316) 721-1866

Inventor’s Club of Kansas City
Carrie Jeske, President
15701 Howe Street
Overland Park, KS 66224
(913) 322-1895

MidAmerica Inventors
Association, Inc.
David F. Herron II
PO Box 12457
Overland Park, KS 66282
(913) 495-9465

Central Kentucky Inventors Council, Inc.
Don Skaggs
699 Perimeter Drive
Lexington, KY 40517

Louisville Metro Inventors Council
PO 17541
Louisville, KY 40217
Alex Frommeyer

International Society of Product Design Engineers/Entrepreneurs
Roderick Whitfield
PO Box 1114
Oberlin, LA 70655
(337) 802-9737

Inventors Network of the Capital Area
C/O Glen Kotapish
PO Box 18052
Baltimore, MD 21220
(443) 794-7350

Cape Cod Inventors Association
PO Box 143
Wellfleet, MA 02667
(508) 349-1628

Innovators Resource Network
P.O. Box 6695
Holyoke, MA 01041
(Meets in Springfield, MA)
413-367-3668 (367-MEET)

Inventors Association of New England
Robert Hausslein
PO Box 335
Lexington, MA 02420
(781) 862-9102

Jackson Inventors Network
John D. Hopkins, Chairman
2755 E. Berry Rd.
Rives Junction, Mich. 49277

Grand Rapids Inventors Group
Bonnie Knopf, President
2100 Nelson SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507
(616) 293-1676

Inventors Council of Mid-Michigan
Martin Sovis
PO Box 232
Lennon, MI 48449-0232
(810) 659-6416

Muskegon Inventors Network
Orville Crain
530 East Giles Road
Muskegon, MI 49445
(866) 719-1290 FREE

Inventors’ Network Minneapolis/St.Paul
Todd Wandersee
4028 Tonkawood Rd
Mannetonka, MN 55345
(612) 353-9669

Minnesota Inventors Congress
Deb Hess, Executive Director
235 S Mill Street, PO Box 71
Redwood Falls MN 56283
800.468.3681 FREE

Society of Minnesota Inventors
20231 Basalt street
Anoka Mi 55303
(763) 753-2766

Southwest Missouri Inventors Network
Springfield, Missouri
Jan & Gaylen Healzer
PO Box 357
Nixa, Mo 65714
(417) 827-4498

Inventors Association of St. Louis
Robert Scheinkman
PO Box 410111
St. Louis, MO 63141
(314) 432-1291

Mississippi SBDC Inventor Assistance
122 Jeanette Phillips Dr.
University, Mississippi 38677
(662) 915-5001
(800) 725-7232 FREE

Inventors Society of Southern Nevada
3627 Huerta Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89121
(702) 435-7741

Nevada Inventors Association
C4Cube Location
300 east 2nd st #1405
Reno, NV 89501

New Jersey
National Society of Inventors
Stephen Shaw
8 Eiker Road
Cranbury, NJ 08512
Phone: (609) 799-4574
Monthly meetings Held in Roselle Park, NJ

Jersey Shore Inventors Group
Bill Hincher, President
24 E 3rd Street
Howell, NJ 07731
(732) 407-8885

New Mexico
The Next Big Idea: Festival of Discovery, Invention and Innovation
Los Alamos MainStreet
109 Central Park Square
Los Alamos, NM 87544
Phone: (505) 661-4844

New York
The Inventors Association of Manhattan (IAM)
Ananda Singh – Membership Manager
Location TBD every 2nd
Monday of the month
New York, NY

Inventors Society of Western New York
Alan Reinnagel
174 High Stone Circle
Pitsford, NY 14534

Inventors & Entrepreneurs of Suffolk County, Inc.
Brian Fried
PO Box 672
Melville, NY 11747
(631) 415-5013

Long Island Forum for Technology, Inc.
111 West main Street
Bay Shore, NY 11706
(631) 969-3700

NY Society of Professional Inventors
Daniel Weiss
(516) 798-1490 (9AM – 8PM)

North Carolina
Inventors’ Network of the Carolinas
Tom Getts, President
520 Elliot Street, Suite 300
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 369-7331

North Dakota
North Dakota Inventors Congress
2534 South University Drive, Suite 4
Fargo, ND 58103
(701) 281-8822
(800) 281-7009 FREE

Inventors Council of Cincinnati
Jackie Diaz
PO Box 42103
Cincinnati, Ohio 45242
(513) 898-2110 x4

Canton Inventors Association
DeHoff Realty
Frank C. Fleischer
821 South Main St. North Canton

Inventors Connection of Greater Cleveland
Don Bergquist
Secretary 440-941-6567
P.O.. Box 360804
Strongsville, OH 44136
Sal Mancuso- VP
(330) 273-5381

Inventors Council of Dayton
Stephen W. Frey
Wright Brothers Station
PO Box 611
Dayton, OH 45409-0611
(937) 256-9698

Inventors Network (Columbus)
1275 Kinnear Road
Columbus, OH 43212-1155
(614) 470-0144

Youngstown-Warren Inv. Assn.
100 Federal Plaza east
Suite 600
Youngstown, OH 44503
(330) 744-4481

Oklahoma Inventors Congress
Dan Hoffman
PO Box 204
Edmond, OK 73083-0204
(405) 348-7794

MicroEnterprise Inventors
Program of Oregon (MIPO)
Kedma Ough
5257 NE MLK, Suite 201
Portland,OR 97202
(503) 998-9560

South Coast Inventors Group
c/o Southwestern Business Development Center
2110 Newmark
Coos Bay, OR 97420

Inventors North West
Attn: John Herrick
#11 Pioneer Lane
Sunriver, OR 97707
American Society of Inventors
Henry Skillman
PO Box 58426
Philadelphia PA 19102-5426
(215) 563-4100, Ext. 235

Central Pennsylvania Inventors Association
9 First Avenue
Lemoyne, PA 17043
(717) 763-5742

Pennsylvania Inventors Assn.
2317 East 43rd St.
Erie, PA 16510
(814) 825-5820

Williamsport Inventor’s Club
One College Ave., DIF 32
Williamsport, PA 17701

Puerto Rico
Associacion de Inventores de Puerto Rico
Dr. Omar R. Fontanez
Cond. Segovia Apt. 1005
San Juan, PR 00918
(787) 518-8570

Puerto Rico Inventors Association
PO Box 1081
Saint Just, PR 00978
(787) 760-5074


South Carolina
Charleston Inventor Association
847 Coleman Blvd, Mt Pleasant, SC
Mark Reyland
Charleston South Carolina

Midlands Inventors Association
USC Technology Incubator
1225 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC
Lew Wayburn

Music City Inventors
James Stevens
3813 Dobbin Rd
Springfield, TN 37172
(615) 681-6462
Mid South Inventors Association
Deborah Murdock
1115 Halle Park circle
Collierville, TN 38017
(meets in Memphis)
(901) 850-7324

Tennessee Inventors Association
Igor Alexeff
PO Box 11225
Knoxville, TN 37930-1225
(865) 483-0151
Amarillo Inventors Association
J. T. Haynes, President
2200 W. 7th Avenue
Amarillo, TX 79106
(806) 367-8610

Houston Inventors Association
Ken Roddy
2916 West TC Jester #100
Houston, TX 77018
(713) 686-7676

Alamo Inventors
3463 Magic Drive
Suite T-14
San Antonio, Texas 78229

Austin Inventors and Entrepreneurs Association
Lill O’neall Gentry
12500 Amhearst
Austin, TX
David Osborne
8180 s 700 E, Suite 350
Sandy, UT 84070
(801) 748-1939

Virginia Inventors Forum
Bambi Walters
PO Box 5743
Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 253-5729

Virginia Innovators Network
Suzie Smithson
Enterprise Meeting Center
Richmond VA

Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club of Juneau County
Economic Development Corp.
Terry Whipple/Sandra Morris
PO Box 322, 122 Main Street
Camp Douglas, WI 54618
(608) 427-2070

Inventors Network of Wisconsin
Jeff Hitzler
1749 Chateau Dr.
Green Bay, WI 54304
(920) 429-0331



Inventors Association of Australia (SA)
Where? When? What?
7:30pm – South West Community Centre, 171 Sturt Street, Adelaide
3rd Thursday each month
President – Mr Paul Barnden

United Kingdom

Black Country Inventors Club
31 Ambrose Cresent, Kingswinford
West Midlands DY6 7RE
Email – invent@blackcountryinventorsclub,

East London Inventors Club
The clubs meetings take place on the last Thursday of each month (except in August & December) as the University is closed during these times. The meetings normally start around 18:30, with a presentation starting at 19:00. We aim to finish around 21:00.
Meeting location
The University of East London,
Knowledge Dock Centre,
Docklands Campus,
4 University Way,
London E16 2RD

Ideas North West. Blackburn
Ideas North West LTD
Stockclough Lane
Blackburn Lancashire BB2 5JR
Tel: 01254 208419

Malvern Inventors Club
Tel: 07913 578555
Where do we meet?
Malvern Hills Science Park
Geraldine Road
WR14 3SZ

Manchester Inventors Group
Central Library, St Peters Square, City Centre M2 5PD (Next to Manchester Town hall)