How to Market and Protect Your New Ideas

Written by Neil Armand

The intellectual property transfer market is now estimated to be worth over $100 billion. If you have a new idea, a patent or an invention, you may be able to license it or sell it for millions of dollars.

Many Fortune 500 companies are now making their intellectual property available for sale or licensing at new online intellectual-property exchanges. These companies are trying to maximize their return on research and development investment and generate a new source of revenue by licensing their unused and underutilized inventions to others.

A number of online forums, including Minnesota-based (, California-based (, and Connecticut-based ( now link buyers and sellers of intellectual property. The traditional transfer of intellectual property is complicated, costly, and can take up to one year. However, these online forums simplify and speed uprepparttar process for transfer of new ideas.

The Internet currently reaches more than 560 million users aroundrepparttar 133545 world. This makes innovators’ potential for exposure much higher than with traditional forms of media. The worldwide online commerce has reached $2.2 trillion in 2002 and is expected to reach $6.8 trillion by 2004. The innovators today can leveragerepparttar 133546 massive reach ofrepparttar 133547 Internet and promote their new ideas torepparttar 133548 global market without substantial marketing costs.

Lasers and high-performance cutting

Written by Carolyn Griffith

When is a balloon not a balloon? When it’s a technical problem, a design challenge, and an inspiration forrepparttar development of new and more efficient cutting equipment.

EdgeWISE Tools founder Pat Momany — didn’t start out atrepparttar 133544 high-tech edge ofrepparttar 133545 fabric cutting industry. Problems that need solving get his inventive juices flowing, and his penchant for saying, "Sure, we can do that," before figuring out how, add up to an enterprise that’s reinvented itself several times. Now with that trademark inventiveness and can-do attitude, Seattle-based EdgeWISE is pushingrepparttar 133546 limits of fabric cutting, in a system custom-designed to cut outrepparttar 133547 huge scientific balloons NASA plans to send torepparttar 133548 very edge of Earth’s atmosphere.

From boats to balloons It started with boats. " I was inrepparttar 133549 printing business in 1985, and met a lady who was putting vinyl names and logos onrepparttar 133550 sides of boats," Momany relates. "Gerber had released a 15-inch vinyl text cutter, but she was doing graphics and logos in addition to letters. I wondered if we could somehow meltrepparttar 133551 vinyl to cut it. We started out with a soldering iron attached to an X-Y plotter." After working through many "thermal issues," midway through 1986 Momany, in partnership with another company that later went out of business, introduced a 36-inch thermal cutter torepparttar 133552 sign industry. The following year, "back when 286s wererepparttar 133553 hot computers," Momany reminisces, he and colleagues at GrafikEdge helped develop Amiable Technologies sign-cutting software, and came very close to perfecting a swivel knife cutter ofrepparttar 133554 sort that’s now widely used inrepparttar 133555 cutting business. "I didn’t trustrepparttar 133556 software engineers," he recalls this near-hit ruefully. Inrepparttar 133557 late ’80s, Momany began teaching himself about lasers, and in 1990 sold GrafikEdge and started EdgeWISE Tools to develop, sell and service cutting tools and systems. EdgeWISE debuted a roll feed laser (RFL™) system atrepparttar 133558 International Sign Association show in 1992, and received a US patent in November of 1993. For a few years EdgeWISE licensedrepparttar 133559 technology to another company, but when this route failed to producerepparttar 133560 desired growth, EdgeWISE began designing and selling its own RFL product line. According to company literature, RFL technology offers significant advantages over traditional flatbed systems that cut with blades:

repparttar 133561 RFL takes only one-third to one-halfrepparttar 133562 floor space of a flatbed; lasers use minimum heat, for less material distortion; lasers provide a high degree of accuracy, consistency, control and flexibility; repparttar 133563 extremely small cut width allows for detailed work and close nesting of components, minimizing waste; lasers decreaserepparttar 133564 risk of injury, com-pared to many mechanical cutting methods.

"We started focusing on designing and developing other laser tools, and were invited by Eastman Worldwide, an industrial fabric company, to exhibit in their booth atrepparttar 133565 1997 Industrial Fabrics Association show in Nashville. That’s where I met Raven Industries’ Ron Stevens, who was heading uprepparttar 133566 manufacturing end of NASA’s Ultra Long Duration Balloon Project," relates Momany.

The Single Direction Cutter (SDC) system was designed to provide precise beam delivery, material handling and motion control, developed to compensate for distortions due to material stretching.

The Ultra Long Duration Balloon Project (ULDB), profiled in our October 1999 issue, is NASA’s latest development in near-space scientific exploration. The project aims to develop balloon systems capable of supporting scientific observations above 99 percent ofrepparttar 133567 Earth’s atmosphere, for durations of approximately 100 days. Innovations in materials and construction—the current design is 600 feet tall and pumpkin shaped, with lobes that increase its strength, and made of a one mil five-layer Mylar-polyethylene-polyester composite that provides a previously unavailable combination of gas barrier, tear resistance and strength—add up to a balloon that can take near-space extremes of temperature and sun exposure, and carry a couple thousand pounds of equipment. "Ron and I discussed those 600-foot lobes, and I said, ‘Sure, we can do that,’" Momany says nonchalantly. "Our thinking has always been not-quite-mainstream, and that’s me. I’m a conceptualist; I have engineers to tell me what we can’t do. " The enormity ofrepparttar 133568 ultra long duration balloon poses huge manufacturing challenges. "The biggest problem was that NASA wantedrepparttar 133569 lobes to be cut to 600 feet plus or minus a quarter inch," Momany marvels. "These scientists are amazing. You get them in a room together and they have all these ideas, but they’re some-times not very realistic about manufacturing reality. We got them to agree to plus or minus three inches; that’s a .5 percent margin of error." Momany knew immediately that their RFL system, which moves material backward and forward under stationary cutting heads, wouldn’t dorepparttar 133570 trick; movingrepparttar 133571 film that Connecticut-based Dimension Polyant had developed for NASA forward 600 feet and then back to cut one gore would inevitably distortrepparttar 133572 fabric beyondrepparttar 133573 required accuracy level. The obvious solution was to develop a system that would moverepparttar 133574 material in only one direction. Momany is quick to credit engineer Bill Stuart with figuring out how to deviserepparttar 133575 software controls for EdgeWISE’s Single Direction Cutting (SDC) system, which combines state-of-the-art laser beam delivery, material handling and motion control to calculate required material length and digitally compensate forrepparttar 133576 stretching that occurs during handling.

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