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Patent Pending...Magic Toob

Postby jackbnimble56 » Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:45 pm

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Hello Everyone

I've been reading the posts on this board with interest and I've concluded that this whole business of inventing and marketing is a rather risky business no matter how you slice it. This point was brought home pretty well by Inventor X's last post on the NDA thread. At the "risk" of being thought a fool, I'm going to bring everyone here up to speed on my own efforts over the past few months.

I had an idea a few months back that Roger was kind enough to discuss with me under an NDA that he very graciously provided. Since then it would truly be an understatement to say that the past few months have been like a roller coaster ride. To make a long story short, I went back and forth over whether my idea could truly succeed and I concluded that it could. I got myself a patent attorney and had his team conduct a search. After sitting on pins and needles for a couple of weeks the results came back and lo and behold, my idea had never been done before.

I decided to forge ahead with two separate patents knowing full well that they don't provide the sort of protection that people often think they do. The first patent has been filed and the second one will be filed shortly. I can now legally label my nascent product as "Patent Pending" and the real work of marketing begins in earnest. I set up a web site for the product and I'm working with a young film buff to create series of viral videos aimed at a You Tube audience to try and generate some buzz for the product. I also have a bunch of t-shirts on order because it turns out they're one of the cheapest forms of advertizing out there. I'm currently packaging samples of the product myself that can be sold over the internet and distributed to various retailers as free samples. I have a supplier lined up in Asia for the raw material; I have identified a packaging operation I hope to use and am presently soliciting quotes for the packaging configuration.

Soooo.... without further ado, I would ask everyone to please visit http://www.magictoob.com and offer any comments or critiques you may have. Thanks!

Jack
Nimble Jack Enterprises - Innovative Solutions to Everyday Problems
To purchase the Magic Toob product visit: http://www.magictoob.com/

Re: Patent Pending...

Postby Michelle » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:02 am

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Cool idea. Congrats on getting so far with the product!!

And thanks so much for sharing your process with us.

Please update us on this thread as you continue to share your invention journey with us.

Also, feel free to submit your invention to our Invention Gallery, as it may help your invention get better search status etc. on google, and other search engines.

Michelle

Re: Patent Pending...

Postby Scrupulous » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:10 am

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Hey Jack, allow me to give you some constructive criticism...

Your website was short and sweet, which I think is good. The first video is a good demo. But, I would stay away from addressing your concern about the bulb-shaped CFL, altogether. It's very distracting. The next two videos totally undermine the product. Let people compare prices at the store, there they'll know your product will save them money in the long run. (And realistically, if it won't save them money, then it won't save them money...let the customer decide.)

Secondly, I'm not sure your market is big enough to make the venture profitable. You might want to consider generating more demand for your product by emphasizing the limitations of lampshades in general. That is, they still let most of the light shine from eye-level, creating large 'wasted' areas in any room, which cannot be viewed directly. How about pushing a lampshade that reflects and focuses most of the light toward the ceiling? Push the lampshade. That way your Magic Toobs become handier for directing that light onto an exact location conveniently. Then you can point out that it's the quickest way to replace any lampshade.

The T-shirt is decent. (I don't know what the copyright symbol is for...)

By the way, please do us a favor and edit your title to this topic, and make it more specific. You'll get more traffic to your site, too.

Thanks. :D

Re: Patent Pending...(Magic Toob - Nimble Jack Enterprises)

Postby jackbnimble56 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:35 am

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Thanks for the comments. I have just a few comments in response.

The constructive criticism is more than welcome. I don't have a whole not of experience in web page development so I regard the site as a work in progress at this point. I had almost abandoned the whole idea when a friend told me the round CFL bulbs were already on the market. Then I did the cost comparison: about $4.00 for one of those bulbs vs. less than $1.50 for the coiled spiral ones. To me, that's more than enough reason for people to consider purchasing my Magic Toob product. I've been thinking of offering the toobs as a kit that would adapt four clip-on lampshades for the price of just one round CFL bulb but that's by no means carved in stone at this point. I'm working my butt off to get my costs down so I'll have as much pricing flexibility as possible.

With respect to the two videos mentioned, I posted those based on complaints I heard from people about the GE's new, round (and very expensive CFL bulbs). I don't really see them as undermining the product but I may remove them from the site and simply post links to the You Tube videos to save precious space. To me the fact that the round CFL's are considerably more expensive AND really slow to brighten up by comparison to their coiled counterparts, simply works in favor of my invention albeit perhaps not directly. The point being here is that if you want to be a "green" person and start using CFL's to help save money and the planet, you're better off buying the spiral bulbs until you run into the clip-on lampshade issue.

Now as for the size of the market, I estimate that clip-on lampshades make up about 20% of the market for table lamps. I based that on the following. When I added up all the CFL's that Home Depot stocks and divided them between the spiral type and the round type the round ones made up about 13% of the total. Then I went to the Lamps Plus web site and did two searches. I first searched under "table lamp shades" (to rule out things like floor lamps, wall sconces, etc.). That produced 672 hits. I then searched the site under "clip on" and got 187 hits. Taking the latter as a percentage of the former gives about 28%. Hence, I concluded that such shades probably make up about 20% of the table lampshade market. Lastly, I took a (very small) survey stating with my own house. I counted 16 lamps and 3 clip-on shades. At my friends house there were zero and at her mother's house, there was only one. But when I visited my brother's little three bedroom cottage in NH last week I counted 5. So that nine clip-on shades in four homes which is about two per home. Now multiply that by the number of single family homes in the US. Then add in multiple family dwelling, then, apartment, condos, trailers, you name it. Conservatively speaking there must be at least 100 million domiciles in the US so that's what, 200 million clip-on shades? Then add in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, etc. Seems like a pretty large installed base to me!

Here's another tidbit people might find interesting. Americans are probably the biggest "energy pigs" on the planet when you compare our consumption to other nations. Would anyone care to hazard a guess what the CFL adoption rate is in the US? When at last check it was a paltry 6%! But here's something else I neglected to mention. The federal government has mandated the phasing out of virtually all incandescent bulbs by the year 2014 (according to the WSJ). So like it or not, soon everyone in the US is going to be using CFL's. (LED lights are on the horizon but those will be YEARS away and they currently make CFL's look dirt cheap!) So I'm not too concerned about the market size because from my vantage point at least it looks plenty big enough, but of course only time will tell. There are many other little tidbits that auger well for my idea but this post is already pretty long.

In answer to the last comment by Scrupulous the reason for the copyright symbol is that I have already filed for a copyright on the name "Magic Toob". Thanks for reading this lengthy tome and please keep the comments coming!

Jack
Nimble Jack Enterprises - Innovative Solutions to Everyday Problems
To purchase the Magic Toob product visit: http://www.magictoob.com/

Re: Patent Pending...

Postby jackbnimble56 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:42 am

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Michelle

I tried posting to the Invention Gallery but I kept getting an error saying that my user name (jackbnimble56) isn't recognized. Am I missing something?

J
Nimble Jack Enterprises - Innovative Solutions to Everyday Problems
To purchase the Magic Toob product visit: http://www.magictoob.com/

Re: Patent Pending...

Postby CriterionD » Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:05 pm

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Some more constructive criticism,

When I view the website, I initially cannot tell whether you are trying to sell new light bulbs, or trying to sell something that holds a lampshade in place. I mean, I look at the graphic, read the first sentence, and then the rest of the site makes me wonder if I had been imagining things.

Therefore, I agree with Scrup, the emphasis on the lightbulbs themselves is distracting. I can buy good quality lightbulbs for cheap anywhere, or so I assume. I am more concerned with what you are bringing to the table that I cannot get elsewhere.

Now, if I am looking for an accessory to keep my lamp shades straight...cool, but I can't tell how your product works by looking at the website...I am going to trust it more if I can see exactly how it works...but I understand you don't want to give that away to protect patentability...

Also, doing literally about 10 minutes worth of research, I find the patented StraightShade, http://www.straightshade.com/, as well as a few recent and not so recent patents on products that aim to accomplish the same thing (including US patent 5,462,105). Your invention might be different, better, and patentable for all I know, and you say "my idea had never been done before." But I hear that a lot and have seen some iffy patent searches and what not.

In any event, putting in the effort is half the battle. It is always good to see someone getting things accomplished and I do wish the best of luck.
_____________________________________

http://www.criteriondynamics.com

Re: Patent Pending...

Postby jackbnimble56 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:54 pm

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Criterion et al

First off I don't disagree with any of the comments on the web site because as I had indicated, it's still a work in progress and I have been focusing most of my energy elsewhere lately. Eventually the site will get revamped, and re-focused. Part of the reason why the website isn't as simple and direct as it eventually will be is that I had been waiting until the patent was filed. Because the invention is SO SIMPLE, I have been very concerned about someone beating me to the punch if I disclosed more information. That's why in the side-by-side lamp demo you see the EFFECT of the product but NOT the product itself. There's another reason for playing it coy and that's because it's part of an initial marketing strategy. For that same reason (and others), I chose the rather ambiguous name for the product.

I had people suggest taking a more direct approach with regard to the name but I wanted it to be a bit more creative. I also wanted to include the word "Magic" from the start because it seems that's a virtual requirement for just about everything Billy Mays is pitching these days and yes, I was once under the delusion that he would just jump at the chance to pitch my incredible, unbelievable, life-changing product. :wink: Then I woke up and was jolted back to reality. The idea was to pique people's curiosity as in: "Magic Toob? What the hell is that??" Then when someone actually SEES the product it's like "Oh, I get it, the Magic Toob is actually a Magic TUBE!" Will I be right in this approach? I'll have to get back to you on that! I was convinced at the start and I still am that once I actually show people the product they'll instantly figure out how it works. But don't take my word for it. Go to http://www.nimblejackenterprises.com and you can see another video that shows the toob actually being installed on the bulb clip. (That will be the package I'll soon be sending to A.J. Khubani... :wink: ) Eventually when the Magic Toob site gets revamped, that video along with the side-by-side demo will both be front and center. And quite frankly, after seeing those both of those videos anyone who can't figure out how the product works or what it does might actually be too stupid to live...

Back to the rather unusual marketing campaign. Well since I don't expect a call from the Discovery Channel begging me to be on the show Pitchmen anytime soon and because TV advertising is ridiculously expensive, I've come up with a sort of "guerilla marketing" approach. So if you'll all indulge me while I sketch it out for you, you can then please feel free to offer any critiques you may have. Don't worry, you won't hurt my feelings!

Okay, so I first looked into becoming a supplier to all of the following: Home Depot, Lowes, GE, Wal-Mart, Sears, Trader Joes, Ace hardware, etc. Virtually all of them have a way to apply to become a vendor. But unfortunately (pay attention all you newbies out there!) I kinda put the cart before the horse on that one. When you fill out one of those applications they ask for things like a picture of your product: Sorry, patent's not filed yet, can't really show it to ya! Company name? Nimble Jack Enterprises. But don't go lookin' for it at ThomasNet cause it ain't there! Moving on... Number of employees? Ummm... <ahem> One. Annual sales? Ahhhh... Zero. I think you guys get the picture. However, now that I have patent pending status and all the (bogus) protection that offers, hell, they can have all the pics they want now! Of course, the annual sales questions is still a bit sticky...

Okay back to the guerilla marketing. The plan is to make up a bunch (hundreds) of free samples and try taking them some small independently owned hardware stores, etc. The samples all say "FREE SAMPLE!" in big bold letters and they all show a picture of the product similar to the one on the t-shirts that are being printed as I type this. BTW, the t-shirts: 100 Hanes Beefy T's (very good quality). The cost was $724.00 and the shipping is free. So that $7.24 per shirt. If I give them all away that's pretty short money for what amounts to 100 walking billboards displaying the product! Both the samples and the shirts have the web address on them. This is where the real guerilla marketing campaign comes in. I just signed a contract with a young guy who already has a fairly large You Tube following. (For anyone who's interested I can send you some links to some of his videos.) I found him through and ad for interns that I posted on Craig's List. I posted it in four different categories at $25.00 per for a total of $100. Again, fairly short money. (I've gotten about two dozen responses and I'm still getting them!) So the plan is to have this kid with somewhat warped off the wall sense of humor create a series of viral videos about the Magic Toob. Think of something with an absurd plot line right out of Austin Powers. In each video (in which every single indoor scene has at least one very crooked lampshade in the background), there's all kinds of talk about the product but you never actually see it. The theory here is basically one of reverse psychology, i.e. if you want something to spread like wildfire, just tell people it's a secret! The plan is for a series of videos each of which will have an over-the-top style designed to make the viewer think that nothing less than the fate of the entire world rests on getting this miraculous new product into the hands of the consumer. Each video ends in dramatic cliffhanger fashion leaving the viewer anxiously awaiting the next episode, or so I hope! Am I crazy? Maybe. Or perhaps crazy like a fox. My young would-be Mel Brooks has gotten thousands and in some cases, tens of thousands of views on his other You Tube work soooo… we'll see!

Okay, this post is already way too long so let me quickly try to address some of Crit's comments. As stated (and perhaps overstated) the website will get totally revamped from what you see today. In the meantime, please check out the Nimble Jack Enterprises site (also a work in progress) and check out the video that actually shows the product. [A little aside here. When you view that video try not to notice how dinged up my hands are. I had a hand model all lined up but alas it turned out he was not master of his domain. That's for all you Seinfeld fans out there! :wink:) Now with respect to Crit's comments, I took a look at the StraightShade site and you can color me underwhelmed. I will positively smoke that guy! LOL! Seriously though, while I get the theory behind it, I can't see it posing any sort of challenge if and when the Magic Toob gets off the ground. That product appears to be targeted primarily to the mini shades used on chandeliers and because they so small and lightweight, I'm not even convinced that the swiveling bulb clip will even work. It certainly doesn't look as though it would be very useful for table lamps unless you live on a boat perhaps. And unless I'm mistaken, that's something that would only be effective as part of a newly manufactured shade which does nothing to address all the crooked shades already out there. Lastly, based on the picture shown, it appears to made out of brass coated steel which is the norm for virtually all bulb clips (trust me on this, I've done my homework!) and over time that stuff will inevitably rust. When that happens, so much for that free moving swivel action.

Crit also mentions "US patent 5,462,105". Did you look that one up dude? That patent applies to window shades. Now you could be right and perhaps my idea has been done before but it sure as hell didn't show up on the rigorous search that Russ Weinzimmer & Associates took three weeks to complete. I spent over an hour on the phone with him and a member of his team going over everything they did find in excruciating detail and there simply isn't anything similar out there that's been published anywhere so I'm fairly confident that the idea is unique.

There's a LOT more to the Magic Toob story (or should I say "saga") but I've taken up enough eyeball time for now. Please continue with the critiques as they are most valuable because I think one of the worst mistakes an inventor can make is to fall in love with his or her own idea. Think back to the Pitchmen episode that featured the Grab It gizmo that that guy spend $13 million on, yikes!

Jack
Nimble Jack Enterprises - Innovative Solutions to Everyday Problems
To purchase the Magic Toob product visit: http://www.magictoob.com/

Re: Patent Pending...

Postby CriterionD » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:29 pm

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jackbnimble56 wrote:Crit also mentions "US patent 5,462,105". Did you look that one up dude?


Yeah, lol. Must've pasted the wrong number. 4,414,618 is more along the lines...

You are right, the StraightShade appears to be designed for chandeliers.
_____________________________________

http://www.criteriondynamics.com

Re: Patent Pending...

Postby Michelle » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:46 pm

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jackbnimble56 wrote:Michelle

I tried posting to the Invention Gallery but I kept getting an error saying that my user name (jackbnimble56) isn't recognized. Am I missing something?

J


Umm, I am not sure. Let me ask Roger, our webmaster and see what is going on.
Will you remind me in a few days if I forget to follow up? ;)

Michelle

Re: Patent Pending...

Postby Michelle » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:48 pm

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Cool viral stealth marketing idea. Love it!!

Michelle
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