Friday, October 29, 2004

Cohn article: increased competitiveness adversely affecting inventors

An article by Meredith Cohn in the Baltimore Sun on October 29, 2004 argues that it is getting harder for individual inventors to sell their ideas. The article observes that the number of patent applications in the United States is at an all time high.

This viewpoint is a different take on things from that of Quillen and Webster. Cohn looks at the number of patent applications and sees increased competitiveness. Quillen/Webster look at the increased patent grants and see lowered quality at the PTO.

Excerpt from Cohn:

-->Inventors then can pitch their products directly to manufacturers, distributors or companies that would license the product. Recently, some big corporations have begun accepting pitches from inventors.

Dial Corp., maker of the household products Dial, Purex and Renuzit, set up a Web site this month through which inventors can submit their patented or patent-pending ideas to complement the soap, laundry detergent and air fresheners already in the company's lineup. Dial is looking for new products and creative packaging and dispensing systems.

But DiForte, 60, knows having a new and appealing product doesn't guarantee success. After a career as an inventor, with some products actually making it to market, he believes his latest life belt invention, called The Survivor, is his best work.

He said he has spent years and much of his savings on the belt, with his first patent won on it in 1992. But never has he encountered such resistance from buyers and investors. They tell him they already offer a full line of personal flotation devices. But he can't let it go.


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