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Caveat Inventor

Should you trust an invention promotion company with your next big idea?

3 min read

Just because you have a great idea doesn't mean that you are ever going to make money from it. Each year the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO, Alexandria, Va.) receives 340 000 patent applications and issues about 150 000 patents. But only 2 percent of those patented inventions, or about 3000 per year, are ever successfully commercialized.

That's why many independent inventors, enticed by television commercials and Web sites promising the moon, turn to invention promotion companies to help them commercialize their ideas. These companies promise to patent your invention, determine its marketability, identify potential manufacturers, and negotiate licensing agreements, all for a fee.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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