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Edison Nation Launches Phase 2 of $25 Million Innovation Fund

Written by Gene Quinn
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Patent Attorney, Reg. No. 44,294
Zies, Widerman & Malek
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Posted: Jul 20, 2011 @ 4:11 pm
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Louis Foreman, the producer of the Emmy Award winning PBS television show Everyday Edisons and the publisher of Inventors Digest, announced in April 2011 that he was launching of a $25 million Innovation Fund. Phase 1 of the search for inventions for the Fund to invest in was completed in mid-June 2011.  Phase 2 of the search for inventions and ideas has just begun and will run through Monday, September 12th, 2011.

“The Fund is off to a great start and we have received some very innovative technologies as part of the first wave,” Foreman said. “I am amazed at the creativity and ingenuity. It just reinforces our original premise that everyone has a great idea, but most people don’t follow through. The Fund has become a catalyst to submit these ideas and see if they have commercial viability.”  The proceeds of the Fund which will be invested by Edison Nation to bring innovations to market.  Inventors who have their inventions or ideas selected will share in any profits with Edison Nation.

Foreman is not only interested in the type of gadget inventions that the Everyday Edisons PBS TV show are known for. The goal of the TV show is to find inventions that have a short enough gestation period that allows for the idea/invention to go from concept through to designed product on the shelves of a store. In fact, the final episode of the season for Everyday Edisons will show the inventor walking into the store where they will see their product on the shelves. Obviously, with such a short timeline there are many good inventions that simply cannot qualify for inclusion in the TV show.

“We’ve been typecast, sadly, because we produce this TV show, it’s like the guy who is always the heartthrob or always the villain, it’s kind of hard to imagine him doing anything else,” Foreman told me when I interviewed him on May 4, 2011. “But the fact is that we’ve got a really talented team engineers and designers on staff that understand these technologies. And so we want to pursue those as well.”



Indeed, the Innovation Fund is looking for medical devices, military and law enforcement technology, social networking innovations and even software. “We’re actually much more competent in those types of products — medical devices, military and law enforcement products — than you would imagine,” Foreman said. “If someone brought me a surgical device at a casting call, as much as I would love it, there would be no way that we’d be able to get that product to market in the nine months that we have to produce the show. So as a result we really can’t take those types of products on for the show. The fund is an opportunity to look beyond the typical consumer products. So we’re working very closely with universities, with researches, with the venture community out there because we want to attract — yes, we want to attract consumer products, but we also want to attract products in energy, in life sciences, in social networking.”

To help what might be the best ideas and inventions percolate to the top Foreman has created what he refers to as a “Patent Attorney Referral Program.”  This program is designed to benefit patent attorneys and patent agents whose clients submit innovative ideas and concepts.  If a client of a patent attorney or patent agent is selected and accepts the offer of assistance from the Innovation Fund then the patent attorney or patent agent representing that inventor will be retained by the Innovation Fund to provide the legal services required to pursue patent rights.

On average Foreman expects to file between two to five patent applications per invention/idea, with an additional $150,000 to $200,000 being invested to develop the invention, bring the total investment per invention/idea to $250,000 each, which means the Innovation Fund will be able to invest in roughly 100 inventions/ideas.

So what has come of Phase 1 of the Invention Fund search? “We are currently vetting the submissions and doing the necessary diligence to determine which we will proceed with,” Foreman says. “Our expectations are that we will identify 8-10 to begin development work on. These inventors will be notified in September.”

Stay tuned!

 

 

About the Author

Eugene R. Quinn, Jr.
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
US Patent Attorney (Reg. No. 44,294)
Zies, Widerman & Malek

B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Rutgers University
J.D., Franklin Pierce Law Center
L.L.M. in Intellectual Property, Franklin Pierce Law Center

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Gene Quinn is a US Patent Attorney, law professor and the founder of IPWatchdog.com. He is also a principal lecturer in the top patent bar review course in the nation, which helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam. Known by many as “The IPWatchdog,” Gene started the widely popular intellectual property website IPWatchdog.com in 1999, and since that time the site has had millions of unique visitors. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, CNN Money, NPR and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide. He represents individuals, small businesses and start-up corporations. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

4 comments
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  1. Google Me! It hard to trust attorney. When , I have had to fire two firms already. For no ethics,…call me or not 989-490-4408 Minnow

  2. Gene:

    I admit Edison Nation and their new program ‘$25 million Innovation Fund Series II’ sounds very exciting to inventors and the like. However, as I was reading the ‘Edison Nation Innovator Agreement’ (referred to below as “the Agreement”), statements were made that jumped out to me like ’red flags’ .
    The Agreement defines an innovation as “an idea from an innovator” and innovator is defined as “(t)he person or persons entering into agreement with Edison Nation”. The World English Dictionary defines innovation as “something newly introduced, such as a new method or device”. Other dictionary definitions of the word innovation are similar. Hence, the common use of innovation seems to have been changed.

    The beginning section of the Agreement says –
    … WHEREAS Innovator has one or more Innovations that Innovator desires to submit to Edison Nation for consideration of possible commercialization of one or more Innovative Products, such commercialization to be performed by Edison Nation or an affiliated entity of Edison Nation or an entity in privy to Edison Nation;
    WHEREAS Innovator purports and warrants to be the sole owner of all rights, title, and interests in and to the Innovation, including all associated Intellectual Property; and
    WHEREAS Edison Nation desires to Consider the Innovation for purposes of possible acquisition of the Intellectual Property;

    The first part seems to be suddenly interchanging Innovations and Innovative Products. To be perfectly clear “…commercialization of…” should probably read “…commercialization to…”

    The second part seems to improperly equate Innovation (defined by the Agreement as an idea) with invention (patented and unpatented) but does not mention the latter. Unfortunately, the uninitiated may believe that they have rights to their idea or ideas when clearly they do not. On the other hand, an inventor in a disagreement with Edison Nation may lose some steam to their argument because he or she would have admitted that their invention (especially unpatented) is simply an idea. Another important point to note – the Agreement never mentions the word invention.

    Except for twice in your article, you do not mention the word innovation except to repeat it in an Edison Nation term. You properly refer instead to inventions and ideas separately and are careful not to mix or interchange the two with the word innovation.

    At the end of your article you mention to Mr. Foreman the term “Invention Fund Search” which apparently does not exist in Edison Nation. I believe you meant to say Innovation Fund Search because you mentioned “Innovation Fund” earlier in your article concerning the “Patent Attorney Referral Program”. Curiously however, Mr. Foreman did not correct you and even went on to use your term. “These inventors (not innovators) will be notified in September.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————-

    When at the website http://www.edisonnation.com and reviewing the “Requirements” section for ‘Edison Nation Innovation Fund Technology Open Search’, the website refers to something called a “patented or patent pending idea”? This phrase appears to have the same issue as some of the statements made above and as a result seems very confusing if not misleading.

  3. Malcolm-

    If you are uncomfortable with Edison Nation then don’t submit your idea or invention.

    What I can tell you is they are accepting inventions or ideas. I can also tell you that you will not find anyone more ethical or with a better reputation than Louis Foreman. I have never heard of anyone who has had any rights compromised, but know many inventors who did not have the funds, and in some cases only had an idea, who have made money on their inventions they never would have made. They do engineering of ideas and inventions to make them better and it is a win-win for everyone.

    $250,000 is a lot of money to invest, and the inventor or idea generator selected shares in profits. If that is not enticing enough then I would recommend you look elsewhere. I, however, recommend my clients submit. I have also submitted an invention of my own.

    Via iPhone

  4. Gene:

    I like almost everything about Edison Nation that I have seen and read and I was seriously thinking of entering an invention myself until I noticed the terminology noted above. In its present form, I still think that the terminology could be problematic for some inventors or what you are now rightly calling “idea generators”. I met Mr. Foreman in November last year at a fantastic USPTO conference in Alexandria VA and he seemed like a great guy and friend to inventors. However ,intent aside, a poorly worded contract can leave an inventor or “idea generator” open to attack. I hope Edison Nation cleans up its terminology because I too would like to enter the contest one day.