Patent Pending

Since about 1973 I have been playing with ideas for new products and businesses. In those early days I would draw them up and send them around to companies with similar interests. I soon found out most businesses are so busy with their own things they aren’t too interested in taking on something new. For all these years I have been jotting down invention ideas and putting them aside.

Now… years have gone by and Michael Jackson, Farah Faucet and Patrick Swazie have died and it got me to thinking... now that I am 58 years old, If I was on my death bed, what would I wish I would have done that I haven’t done yet? The answer wasn’t buy more antique phonographs or go on some exotic trip, it was: I wish I would have done more with my inventions. So I made a list of my 14 favorite inventions in the order of easiest and least costly to make to most costly. Number one was my TopnotchFRAME! (Number 2 is a device and method for teaching computer operation that I am about half way done with the Patent application and Drawings.)

My goal was to do my own patent and submit it August 1st , 2009. It was a lot of work, but I made it and was amazed when on August 18th I was informed I had Patent Pending status!

After I received patent pending status I looked for a company to make a die, extrude the aluminum frame and anodize the color. I researched many manufacturers and found one that could do it all. This all cost a lot of money and I learned a lot of surprising things about the manufacturing business, but a couple months ago, I got in my first order OF 2,180 feet! In this short amount of time I have framed many things with it. It is so versatile. We framed many pieces for an art show. The artist does paintings on copper, so we made an insert out of copper. We have another artist who does collages using birch bark, so we used birch bark in the channel. We did a huge panorama photograph of a football stadium where one school color was used in the insert and inside mat and the other school color was chosen for the top mat. I also used the TopnotchFrame for a couple of my own antique joke posters that have to do with money. I photocopied money and made inserts out of that. I have made inserts out of red silk, blue suede, mirror, carpet, linoleum, and maple wood!

I have been selling the frame like hot cakes here in my little mom and pop frame shop. I have also had two frame sales reps ask if I might be interested in letting their companies take a look at handling it. I even had one independent picture frame sales rep, who has been in the business over 30 years, practically beg me to let him show and sell this to his 300 accounts! He said they are looking for something new and different and he thinks he could do well with it. It has been very exciting for me to take something that started as an idea on paper and end up with a thing I can hold in my hand and people actually like!

As you can see, it looks like this may really take off! I am giving myself until mid summer to see if my TopnotchFrame website and ebay frame sales do well. If ebay and the web site do not sell the frames well, or I don’t sell the Patent Pending on ebay, I will let the 30 year sales rep show it to his 300 accounts and let the independent picture frame shops sell it to their customers. (If I go this way I would try and find other sales reps to get it all over the US and beyond.) The only reason I don’t let him take it now is that, with the advent of the internet, I can see the future is direct sales. With the internet, things can go from the maker directly to the customer.

Below is a copy of the Patent Pending pages. You will see on the first page many references cited. I searched for a couple weeks trying to find anything like this and the closest thing I could find was a Patent from 1934 that shows an iron form, made in the shape of a picture frame. It said that glass would be heated and slumped over the iron to form a glass frame dome. It would hold flowers and other three dimensional items. All the rest of the references cited were about things that had some of the key words that mine has, but none had the idea of a channel in a frame for removable decorative inserts.

While the web site is currently under construction here is a link to see the actual pages of the Patent Pending now listed on ebay.