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Inventor Update

Jill Gilbert Welytok is the managing attorney for Absolute Technology Law Group LLC, which is a team of Registered Patent, Trademark and Transactional attorneys.

Commercial Secrets of Serial Inventors

Next Inventors' Forum:
Downtown Inventors' Forum:  January 29th  - 135 West Wells - 5:30 -7:30 p.m. 
Four Successful Inventors tackle the topic of "The Inventors' Budget:  Patents, Prototypes and Beyond."  No advance registration required

Panel:  Patty and John Mueller, Reed Felton and Darrin Reasby

January 29th, four of Milwaukee’s most successful serial inventors will talk about breaking the barriers of commercializing a product in a recovering economy…These inventors are recognized for their ability to commercialize their inventions (repeatedly!), and will be telling others how to do the same.

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Darrin Reasby:  Designing for the Stars in a Brown Deer Basement 
 

What do Janet Jackson, Queen Latifah and Ice T have in common?

All three stars have worn Reasby's hip-hop designs during Milwaukee performances. Various other R&B and rap artists, including R. Kelly, M.C. Hammer and Ice Cube, also have sported his gear. Big-name stars have always figured into Reasby's marketing strategy for his start-up company Mountain Top Design Inc., a fledgling fashion business based in his parents' Brown Deer home and later in his successful retail chain of T-shirt stores.

Darrin’s line of clothing "Out Of The Ghetto Gear: Never Forget Where You Come From" has been carried by Milwaukee-area Boston Stores and several Chicago-area Carson Pirie Scott & Co.

Patty and John Mueller:  Debuting a Product on QVC
 

Patty and John Mueller got their start on the home shopping channel, QVC, with their first invention, the  POWER SPRAYER™.  The Muellers' company, Idea Factory, is now a multimillion-dollar company with 10 employees, with several product lines on the shelves of Target, Walmart, Steins and other major retailers.

The Muellers' first product was inspired when John asked Patty to clean the small shower stall in their home. She didn't rinse away the chemicals, thinking the next person showering serves as the rinsing device. Unfortunately for John, he got a mild chemical burn on the bottom of his feet!  They agreed there was not an easy way to rinse the walls of their shower stall. He knew a hand-held shower could easily rinse the walls, but hated the look of the clunky apparatus hanging there all the time. He wanted a permanently installed, “quick-connect” valve on the shower arm that would allow him to plug in a hose with a sprayer only when he needed it and store it away when not in use.  The Muellers searched stores, and ultimately the Internet.  A market for a quick-connect valve with hose combinations existed, but a product did not. They decided to proceed with engineering design, prototype development and patent application.  Their POWER SPRAYER™ product debuted on July, 1995 on QVC (the home television shopping channel).  The Muellers have since expanded their product line for various retail outlets, catalogues, hotels and and healthcare facilities. .

Reed Felton:  Is Your Baby Ugly?

Reed Felton is the President of Versatile Products LLC and Felton Consulting. Felton has 30 years of custom manufacturing experience as owner and president of a large manufacturer serving major retailersKnown for product innovation, he holds 9 US patents, several of which have been successfully commercialized and are sold by major retailers across the country.  Felton’s varied background and experience with multiple materials, industrial process, and advanced manufacturing methods has made him a great resource to the I&E clubs. Felton advises inventors to do three things in order to succeed. First, he coaches his clients to think like a business person and keeps them from letting their passion and enthusiasm for their idea get the best of them.  Second, he creates a “to do” list with a timetable including specific milestones and responsibilities.  Finally, he asks inventors to set a point in time when the inventor must address whether there really is a market for the product within the design parameters and budget established.  Felton calls this the “Is your baby ugly?” issue all “mothers of invention” must face.

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Patty, John, Reed and Darrin will be on the Inventors’ Club Panel January 29th and will be available to answer your questions about your marketing aspirations as well as share their stories.

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