The Inventor's Bible - Resources
Category Inventor Resources
This resource section, adapted from, The Inventor’s Bible: How to Market and License Your Brilliant Ideas, concentrates on these types of resources:
  • Free Information
  • Do-it-Yourself Help
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Government Agencies
  • Student and Teacher Assistance
Learn whom to trust and where to find reliable information.

To see a more expansive list of private companies offering services for inventors, go to, List of Invention Service Providers; individuals and organizations that will work for you to help you with your invention project.

Between these two targeted list of resources and service providers you should find all your answers and meet the needs of your invention project.

This resources section is broken down into the following categories:
Patent Searching and Patenting
You can perform a patent search at any of the over eighty US Patent Depository Libraries made reference to previously, or use the following websites for free patent searching:
USPTO
http://patft.uspto.gov
Google Patents
www.google.com/patents
Free Patents Online
www.freepatentsonline.com

For more advanced patent searching, and to search in-depth databases, consider the following fee-based services.
Delphion and Derwent
Delphion provides intellectual asset management software and services, and has an alliance with Derwent Information, provider of the world’s largest database of patents. The World Patents Index is directly linked to the corresponding original patents, which are in the Delphion Intellectual Property Network.

www.delphion.com/simple
www.thomsonreuters.com/products_services/scientific/DWPI
Dialog ProQuest
Dialog is one of the more popular fee-based patent databases. In addition to containing full-text patents dating back to 1971, Dialog offers the ability to do special key-word searches and make cross-references not possible on other databases, and includes scientific and technical information. Patent law firms often frequent this site.
Dialog a ProQuest Company
Toll free: 800-334-2564
Phone: 919-804-6400
customer@dialog.com
www.dialog.com
PatentWizard
PatentWizard is a software tool created by patent attorney Michael S. Neustel of Neustel Law Offices, LTD, to assist inventors in drafting and filing their own “provisional” patent application with the USPTO. It guides you through the steps; you need only fill in the blanks. It’s pretty slick.
PatentWizard, LLC
2534 South University Drive, Suite No. 2
Fargo, ND 58103
Phone: 888-382-7690
info@patentwizard.com
www.patentwizard.com
Patent It Yourself
Offers a variety of do-it-yourself guides for inventors by patent lawyer David Pressman and Richard Stim, Esq., including Patent It Yourself, 13th edition (World’s best-selling patenting guide), The Inventor’s Notebook (documenting your invention), and Patent Pending In 24 Hours (filing a provisional patent application). Available at book stores and direct from the publisher at:
Nolo Press
950 Parker Street
Berkeley, CA 94710-2524
Phone: 800-728-3555
www.nolo.com
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Inventor’s Organizations
Some of the best sources of information and support for independent inventors are the local inventor’s organizations throughout the United States. Finding them can sometimes be a challenge. Many local inventor’s groups do not have a budget for maintaining yellow pages advertising. As a result, when you look in the phone book under Inventor or Patent Attorney you may only find patent attorneys and the alleged “rip-off” marketing and submission companies. I trust the following private resources, but it’s possible for a questionable organization to slip onto their Web sites, so always do your research.
InventNET
The first Internet-based inventor’s organization and the first email-based discussion group. Its goal is to provide independent inventors with information to help them develop and market their inventions. Victor Lavrov is the founder.
InventNET
2777 E. Regal Park Dr.
Anaheim, CA 92806
info@inventnet.com
www.inventnet.com
National Inventor Fraud Center, Inc.
Patent attorney Michael Neustel, Esq., has compiled one of the more comprehensive Web sites for independent inventors.
National Inventor Fraud Center, Inc.
(Owned by Neustel Law Offices, LTD)
2534 South University Drive, Suite 4
Fargo, ND 58103
Toll free: 800-281-7009
Phone: 701-281-8822
neustel@inventorfraud.com
www.inventorfraud.com/goodguys.htm
MOM Invented
Established by Tamara Monosoff, a mother and inventor, Mom Inventors, Inc. is comprised of: consumer products with the trademarked Mom Invented® brand, an online community providing information, interaction and inspiration; and educational offerings for women entrepreneurs.
Mom Inventors, Inc.
P.O. Box 830
Alamo, CA 94507
Phone: 925-932-6674
Fax: 925-280-8224
info@mominventors.com
www.mominventors.com
The Entrepreneur Network (TEN)
TEN Online has a very informative Web site by Ed Zimmer, a self-made entrepreneur and inventor.
The Entrepreneur Network
TEN Online
edzimmer@TENonline.org
www.TENonline.org
InventRight.com
Stephen Key and Andrew Krauss combine over 30 years experience with marketing and licensing new products to share marketing tips, information, and networking for independent inventors.
InventRight.com
Toll free: 800-701-7993
Phone: 650-793-1477
andrew@inventright.com
www.inventright.com
MarketLaunchers.com
Publishes a free monthly newsletter for inventors: The Online Inventor, with informative articles and easily accessible archives. Paul Niemann’s MarketLaunchers.com builds web pages for inventors and places them on their invention database for companies to see.
Market Launchers, Inc.
2614 South 24th Street
Quincy, IL 62301
Toll free: 800-337-5758
Phone: 217-224-8194
www.marketlaunchers.com
PatentCafe.com
Pantros IP has acquired and merged PatentCafe.com with Smart IP Solutions. Patent Cafe has more than half a dozen Web sites focusing on various elements of the innovation process and each developed to deliver specific innovation-related product or service. Their free online IP Magazine accesses more than 500 searchable articles written by over 100 experts in the field.
PatentCafe.com
2890 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 250
Sacramento, California. 95833
Phone: 916-239-2500
andy@patentcafe.com
www.patentcafe.com
National Congress of Inventor Organizations (NCIO)
NCIO features free education and resources for new inventors including the Inventing 101 online course, special reports, newsletters, and more.
National Congress of Inventor Organizations(NCIO)
8306 Wilshire Blvd., Ste 391
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Phone: 323-878-6952
ncio@inventionconvention.org
www.inventionconvention.com/ncio
The Licensing Executives Society (LES)
LES, Inc. (United States and Canada) is a professional society comprised of more than 6,000 members engaged in the transfer, use, development, management, and marketing of intellectual property. The Licensing Executives Society International has a worldwide membership of more than 9,000 members in more than twenty-five national societies, representing over sixty countries.
Licensing Executives Society, Inc.
1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 280
Alexandria, VA 22314-2840
Phone: 703-836-3106
info@les.org
www.usa-canada.les.org/
The Canadian Innovation Centre (CIC)
Canada’s leading organization dedicated to assisting inventors and innovative companies.
The Canadian Innovation Centre
Waterloo Research & Technology Park
Accelerator Centre
295 Hagey Blvd, Suite 15
Waterloo, ON N2L 6R5
Canada
Phone: 519-885-5870
Fax: 519-513-2421
info@innovationcentre.ca
www.innovationcentre.ca
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Publications for Inventors
Very few publications or periodicals are geared specifically for the independent inventor community, but I’ve managed to find a few great ones. More publications are found on the Web sites referred to in the Private Organizations section and at the USPTO’s Patent Depository Libraries.
InventNET
The first Internet-based inventor’s organization and the first email-based discussion group. Its goal is to provide independent inventors with information to help them develop and market their inventions. Victor Lavrov is the founder.
InventNET
2777 E. Regal Park Dr.
Anaheim, CA 92806
info@inventnet.com
www.inventnet.com
GreatIdeaGear
Created by Ed Verry, this online catalog of books and software for inventors offers products in a similar manner to Amazon.com, but with a special emphasis on inventors.
GreatIdeaGear.com
1123 Woodland Dr.
Bozeman, MT 59718
Toll free: 800-319-2665
Phone: 406-586-3798
greatservice@greatideagear.com
www.greatideagear.com
Inventors’ Digest
This is the best, and only, nationally published magazine for inventors, since 1985. You will find it on some newsstands, or contact the publisher, Louis Foreman.
Inventors’ Digest
PO Box 36761
Charlotte, NC 28236
Toll free: 800-838-8808
info@InventorsDigest.com
www.inventorsdigest.com
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Special Resources
InnoCentive
InnoCentive engages in the new and growing field of ‘Open Innovation’.  It matches ‘Seekers’, companies who are seeking a solution to a problem with ‘Solvers’, any individual or team who may solve the problem. Each problem has a predefined reward. The person who submits the winning solution earns cash awards from $5,000 to $1,000,000.
InnoCentive, Inc.
201 Jones Rd, 4th Floor East
Waltham, MA 02451
Toll free: 866-812-7339
Phone: 978-482-3300
www.innocentive.com
Ocean Tomo Patent Auction
Ocean Tomo brands itself as the first Intellectual Capital Equity® firm. It started the first live, open auction of patents, now held three times per year at various international locations. Technology and high-tech are the primary categories of inventions sold. Anyone can submit a patent for consideration. Some patents have brought over a million dollars to their owners.

Ocean Tomo also created the nation’s first stock market index based on the value of intellectual property.  The Ocean Tomo 300® Patent Index launched in 2006 is priced on the New York Stock Exchange Euronext.
Ocean Tomo, Inc.
200 West Madison, 37th Floor
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312-327-4400
auctions@oceantomo.com
www.oceantomo.com
By Kids For Kids
By Kids For Kids is becoming the world's leading enterprise that connects youth with industry. The company mission is to inspire and motivate youth. BKFK sponsors kid’s inventor contests and awards prizes and other opportunities.
By Kids For Kids Co. (BKFK)
1177 High Ridge Rd.
Stamford, CT 06905
Phone 203-321-1226
Email info@bkfk.com
Website www.bkfk.com
Collegiate Inventor’s Competition
Operated by the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame, the Collegiate Inventor’s Competition is a national competition that has awarded the top patentable research since 1990. Contact the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation at:
Inventor's Hall of Fame Foundation
520 South Main St., Suite 2423
Akron, OH 44311
Phone: 330-762-4463
Fax: 330-849-8528
www.invent.org/collegiate
Northwest Invention Center
Features workshops and science demonstrations for kids; hands-on workshops for teachers; exhibits for museums. Director Ed Sobey, Ph.D., has written several books on inventing and science for kids, including How to Enter and Win an Invention Contest, and a listing of invention contests for all ages, which is available through the centers Web site.
Northwest Invention Center
15848 NE 92nd Way
Redmond, WA 98052
Phone: 425-861-8685
ed.sobey@gmail.com
www.invention-center.com
Intellectual Property Insurance Services Corporation (IPISC)
IPISC offers insurance products relating to legal enforcement of intellectual property rights, patent infringement, and the defense of accusations of infringement. Bob Fletcher, Esq., is the president and founder.
Intellectual Property Insurance Services
9720 Bunsen Parkway
Louisville, Kentucky 40299
Toll free: 800-537-7863
Phone: 502-491-1144
bfletcher@ipisc.com
www.ipisc.com
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Trade Shows
Periodically there are local and regional inventor conferences and trade shows; however, they have come and gone enough over the years that really only the two listed here stand out consistently. In addition, the USPTO Office of Independent Inventors (listed below) hosts an annual conference at various locations around the country and workshops throughout the year. Refer to the Web sites listed in the Private Organizations section for current events in your area.
Minnesota Inventor’s Congress
Since 1958, the MIC has annually hosted this World’s oldest invention expo in Redwood Falls, MN. During the event, Inventing Success™ Workshops help educate inventors about the product development process, and to identify reliable resources. The MIC also provides services and assistance for inventors throughout the year.
Minnesota Inventors Congress
235 S Mill Street
PO Box 71
Redwood Falls, MN  56283
Toll free: 800-468-3681 (800-INVENT1)
Phone: 507-637-2344
Fax: 507-637-4082
info@minnesotainventorscongress.org
www.minnesotainventorscongress.org
Yankee Invention Expo
An annual convention in New England in the fall, it serves to educate inventors and entrepreneurs on how to bring their product to market.
Yankee Invention Expo
21 Church Street
Waterbury, CT 06702-2106
Phone: 203-575-8322
yankeeinventionexpo@gmail.com
www.yankeeinventionexpo.org
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Research Resources
Many of the publications listed here can be found in major libraries, which is the way I prefer to reference some of them, particularly the catalog directories and the Martindale-Hubbell directory. Their Internet sites have searchable databases as well. Some also have searchable CDs available.
Government Printing Office (GPO)
For a wealth of free and inexpensive government publications on just about any subject imaginable, including patents and trademarks.
U.S. Government Printing Office
732 N. Capitol St., NW
Washington, DC 20401
Toll free: 866-512-1800
www.gpo.gov
bookstore.gpo.gov
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission oversees SEC 10-K reports and other information about all publicly held companies. It discloses a company’s products, target markets, market position, competitors, sales projections, sales history, complete financial details, and information about lawsuits settled or pending.
SEC Headquarters
100 F Street NE
Washington, DC 20549
Phone: 202-942-8088
help@sec.gov
www.sec.gov
Martindale-Hubbell Legal Network
A database of over one million lawyers and law firms in 160 countries. Use its free Lawyer Locator to find lawyers and law firms by location and/or by practice area.
Martindale-Hubbell
121 Chanlon Road
New Providence, NJ 07974
Toll free: 800-526-4902
Phone: 908-464-6800
www.martindale.com
Thomas Register of American Manufacturers
The hard copy of this standard bearer of the industry is available in most libraries, large companies, and many schools. It is easiest accessed in the print version.
Thomas Publishing Company
5 Penn Plaza
New York, NY 10001-1810
Phone: 212-290-7200
www.thomaspublishing.com
www.thomasnet.com
Switchboard
A database containing phone book information (name, address, and phone numbers) for businesses and individuals in the United States. This is somewhat similar to the “people finder” found on popular search engines.
www.switchboard.com
Google.com
Business directories populate the Internet, but when I can’t find it anywhere else, I go to:
www.google.com
The Directory of Mail-Order Catalogs
Contains over 13,000 mail-order companies selling consumer products throughout the United States. The companies are arranged in over forty chapters by product area. The publisher also offers authoritative reference directories for direct marketing, demographics, business statistics, research, healthcare, international trade, the food industry, and education.
Grey House Publishing
PO Box 56
Amenia, NY 12501
Toll free: 800-562-2139
www.greyhouse.com
National Directory of Catalogs
More than 12,000 North American catalogs including products carried, personnel, list rental data, and production info from Oxbridge Communications.
National Directory of Magazines
Over 20,000 U.S. and Canadian magazines, journals, and tabloids with advertising rates, circulation, and more from Oxbridge.
Standard Periodical Directory
Circulation, advertising, and list rental data for more than 60,000 North American magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and directories from Oxbridge.
Oxbridge Directory of Newsletters
Includes over 15,000 newsletters, bulletins, and fax letters from Oxbridge.
Oxbridge Communications, Inc.
186 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
Toll free: 800-955-0231
Phone: 212-741-0231
www.oxbridge.com
Harris InfoSource
A database for sales and marketing professionals profiling nearly 400,000 manufacturing establishments. A division of Dun and Bradstreet.
Harris InfoSource
2057 E. Aurora Road
Twinsburg, OH 44087-1999
Toll free: 800-748-5482
Phone: 330-425-9000
www.harrisinfo.com
The Directory of Associations
A searchable database of more than 40,000 associations around the world.
Concept Marketing Group Inc.
8655 East Via de Ventura, Suite G-200
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Phone: 800-575-5369
concept@marketingsource.com
www.marketingsource.com
Trade Show News Network (TSNN.com)
TSNN.com is the leading online resource for the trade show and exhibition industry. Its database contains data on more than 17,500 trade shows and conferences and more than 360,000 seminars.
Tarsus Group plc
TSNN.com
375 Jaffrey Rd., Suite 14
Peterborough, NH 03458
Phone: 603-925-1160
www.tsnn.com
Chemical Abstracts Service
A comprehensive database with over sixteen million records and referrals to over two hundred other databases in science, technology, business, and patents, administered by their science and technology division.
CAS
2540 Olentangy River Rd.
Columbus, OH 43202
Toll free: 800-848-6538
Phone: 614-447-3600
cas.org
Battelle Memorial Institute
Battelle is the world’s largest private research company. It is a nonprofit, with a staff of 7,500 scientists, engineers, and support specialists. Projects are performed for nearly two thousand companies and government agencies. Battelle’s business volume is nearly $1 billion a year. Typically, this work results in between fifty to a hundred patented inventions each year. On its Web site: forecasts for the top business challenges, opportunities, and technologies for the next five to twenty years, at: www.battelle.org/SPOTLIGHT/tech_forecast/index.aspx
Battelle Memorial Institute
505 King Avenue
Columbus, OH 43201
Toll free: 800-201-2011
Phone: 614-424-6424
www.battelle.org
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Small Business Resources
These include both government and private resources geared especially toward helping entrepreneurs and business start-ups. They offer free resources, information, services, and/or assistance.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Offers free information for budding entrepreneurs. Publications, some of which cost a small fee, may be accessed from:
SBA
409 3rd Street SW
Washington, DC 20416
Toll free: 800-827-5722
answerdesk@sba.gov www.sba.gov
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program
SBIR’s are administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

SBIR is a highly competitive program that encourages small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides incentives for them to profit from commercialization. Small businesses must meet certain eligibility criteria to participate in the SBIR program.
  • American-owned and independently operated
  • For profit
  • Principal researcher employed by business
  • Company size limited to under 500 employees
Each year, eleven federal departments and agencies are required by SBIR to reserve a portion of their research and development (R&D) funds for award to small businesses. The following agencies designate R&D topics and accept proposals: U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Transportation; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and the National Science Foundation.

Agencies make SBIR awards based on small business qualification, degree of innovation, technical merit, and future market potential. Small businesses that receive awards or grants then begin a three-phase program.

Phase I is the startup phase with awards of up to $100,000, Phase II awards of up to $750,000, and Phase III is the period during which Phase II innovation moves from the laboratory into the marketplace. No SBIR funds support this phase. The small business must find funding in the private sector or from other non-SBIR federal agencies.
Small Business Administration
Office of Technology
409 Third Street SW
Washington, DC 20416
Toll free: 800-827-5722
Phone: 202-205-6450
answerdesk@sba.gov www.sba.gov/sbir
State SBIRs and Other State Programs
Some states have their own SBIR programs partially funded on the state level. Contact the Web site listed above or your state’s office of business development for more information about funding on this level.

This may seem enticing; however, remember that SBIR grant solicitations are very specific and the government’s requirements and your research will have to match exactly. Some research companies make a business out of acquiring SBIR grants.

A clever inventor with an entrepreneurial bent could approach a business with SBIR experience, propose a joint arrangement, and share in the grant proceeds. Look hard enough and you may find the right match.
Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Program
The SBA administers the SBDC Program to provide free management assistance to current and prospective small-business owners. SBDC offers one-stop shopping for small businesses by providing a variety of information and guidance in centrally located, easily accessible branch locations. Web site:
www.sba.gov/sbdc
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) Association
The SCORE Association is a national, nonprofit association with 11,200 volunteer members and 370 chapters throughout the United States and its territories. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Volunteer members provide free individual counseling and business workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners.

SCORE volunteers abide by a code of ethics and hold all client discussions as confidential. The volunteers’ business specialty and expertise are matched with the needs of the client. Chapter locations can be identified by a city and state search online or by phone.

Of particular value is SCORE’s Business Resource Index. This is a comprehensive compendium of good business resources. If you want a one-click business and market research link, try this one. It will directly forward you to many of the business resources referred to in this book.
SCORE Association
409 3rd Street SW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20024
Toll free: 800-634-0245
Phone: 202-205-6762
www.score.org
The Small Business Development Center National Information Clearinghouse (SBDCNET)
Has a website that provides very useful information and seminar dates.
SBDC National Clearinghouse
501 W. Durango Blvd. 3.322E
San Antonio, TX 78207
Toll free: 800-689-1912
Phone: 210-458-2147
www.sbdcnet.org
The National Business Association
A nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and educating the small business community and the self-employed.
National Business Association
P.O. Box 700728
Dallas, TX 75370
Toll free: 800-456-0440
Phone: 972-458-0900
www.nationalbusiness.org
Your First Business Plan
A useful and concise book by Joseph Covello and Brian Hazelgren.
Sourcebooks, Inc.
1935 Brookdale Road, Suite 139
Naperville, IL 60563
Toll free: 800-43-BRIGHT
Phone: 630-961-3900
www.sourcebooks.com
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Government Contacts
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO)
Offers free access to patents, trademarks, lists of registered patent practitioners, and other searchable databases through its main Web site.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Commissioner for Patents
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
Toll free: 800-PTO-9199
Phone: 571-272-1000
independentinventor@uspto.gov
www.uspto.gov
U.S. Patent and Trademark (USPTO)—Inventors Assistance Program
The USPTO offers special outreach programs to independent inventors. It hosts an annual inventor’s conference, has a resource-rich Web site complete with a “kids page.”
USPTO - Inventors Assistance Program
Mail Stop 24
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
Toll Free: 866-767-3848
Phone: 571-272-8033
Fax: 571-273-0170
independentinventor@uspto.gov
www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/iip/index.htm
U.S. Copyright Office
The copyright office located at the Library of Congress houses a tremendous amount of material from books to art. A copy of every piece of registered work is available here for public inspection. For information about registering your copyright, contact:
U.S. Copyright Office
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20559-6000
Phone: 202-707-3000
Forms and publications hotline: 202-707-9100
www.copyright.gov
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Government Programs
There are hundreds of programs available through state and federal governments. Key word searches on the Internet are an excellent way to identify sources of information from the U.S. government, as well as the private sector.

Since government programs and the funding for them are changing so rapidly, we will not dwell on identifying all of the specific government programs. The important thing is for you to know that many programs exist and to know how to reach them.

Each year the U.S. government, and some state governments, gives millions of dollars to independent inventors for the development of inventions. Although the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE or DOE) has been most active in helping independent inventors, most areas of the government allocate money for inventors. If an inventor is inventing in an area that the U.S. or state government believes should be encouraged, they will solicit research proposals relating to those topics.

One of the reasons it can be difficult to learn about such programs is because of the layering of government. For example, the USDOE oversees the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, which oversees the Office of Industrial Technologies (OIT), which oversees the Inventions and Innovation (I&I) program.

For any phone number at USDOE, go to:
phonebook.doe.gov
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE) Information Center answers questions about EERE's products, services, and technology programs, and refers callers to the most appropriate EERE resources, including the Inventions and Innovation (I&I) Program.
Inventions & Innovation (I&I) Program
When funded, the I&I provides financial assistance for research and development of innovative, energy-saving ideas and inventions. This assistance is provided at two levels: Up to $50,000 for technologies in early-stage development and up to $250,000 for technologies approaching the point of prototype.
EERE Information Center
I&I Program, MS EE-2F
1000 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20585-0121
Toll free: 877-337-3463
Fax: 202-586-4403
eereic@ee.doe.gov www.eere.energy.gov/inventions
USDOE—Golden Field Office
The Golden Field Office works to bring to the world energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar power. As the primary field agent for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Golden builds partnerships to develop, commercialize and encourage the use of those technologies, and in doing so, works closely with DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), other national laboratories, the private sector, state and local governments, and many other stakeholders across the nation.

Golden is also responsible for administering the contract for the management and operation of NREL, the nation's primary laboratory for research and development into energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
DOE—Golden Field Office
1617 Cole Blvd.
Golden, CO 80401
Phone: 303-275-4700
www.eere.energy.gov/golden
The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)
Owned and operated by the U.S. DOE and is part of DOE’s national laboratory system. NETL supports DOE’s mission to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States.

The NETL has operational responsibility for the DOE Unsolicited Proposal (USP) Program. It is the single point of contact for all unsolicited proposals, meaning any proposal that you wish to make that is not otherwise covered by another government program. Please direct all correspondence and/or unsolicited proposals to:
John N. Augustine, Mail Stop 921-107
Unsolicited Proposal Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
626 Cochrans Mill Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15236-0940
Phone: 412-386-4524 or 6000
Fax: 412-386-6137
john.augustine@netl.doe.gov
www.netl.doe.gov
www.netl.doe.gov/business/usp/USPGuide022604.pdf
IDEA (Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis) Programs
IDEA programs encourage investigation of innovative concepts with potential for technological breakthroughs in transportation. Research contracts, averaging around $85,000, are awarded to individuals, companies, nonprofit organizations, and universities that IDEA committee members feel will demonstrate new technologies or methods for improving the safety and efficiency of surface transportation in the United States in the following categories: Highway, High Speed Rail, Transit, and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
Transportation Research Board
The National Academies
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-334-2934
gulliver.trb.org
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
CFDA is a government-wide compendium of federal programs, projects, services, and activities that provides assistance or benefits to the American public. The two thousand plus page PDF file contains information about hundreds of project grants and financial and non financial assistance programs administered by departments and establishments of the federal government. Find it at: www.cfda.gov.
Grants.gov
Grants.gov allows organizations to electronically find and apply for competitive grant opportunities from all Federal grant-making agencies. Grants.gov is THE single access point for over 900 grant programs offered by the 26 Federal grant-making agencies.
www.grants.gov
More Information about Government Grants
One of the key things that the government does not want to do is compete with, or be construed as competing with, private enterprise. The last thing government employees need is a complaint to a congressperson by someone in private enterprise that they are being competed against by the U.S. government. Therefore, funds offered by the government are generally earmarked for research and development activities to advance and prove a concept so it would then be ready to turn over to private enterprise for commercialization.

This is an important distinction to realize. Many times inventors expect the government to help them with commercialization. Although this is not the role of government, the benefit to inventors does come indirectly since the research and development of an inventor’s project may be the missing link necessary to prove a concept to a corporation that otherwise would not be willing to commercialize your project.

Most inventors who have not had any experience using government resources view the government as a huge bureaucratic entity with no personality and foreign procedures. Although the government itself is very large, the specific programs that deal with inventors may only have a handful of employees. It is possible to get very personalized service.

If there is something I don’t know procedurally, I simply contact the right person and ask. Government employees in the area of invention are generally more than willing to point you in the right direction so you can proceed with your project.

It should be noted that programs such as the ones mentioned above are grants and not loans. You do not have to return grant money, as long as you abide by their rules and successfully complete the project. The federal government does not typically demand that you sign your rights over to the government; instead it generally reserves the rights to your invention for government use. You then have complete freedom to commercialize your invention in the private sector on your own. It didn’t used to be this way. The U.S. government has loosened up over the years, and there is now a big push to move all types of government technologies into the private sector.
Applying for a Grant
I once applied for a federal grant and was rejected because my grant proposal read more like a business plan. The second time around I got smarter and hired a person skilled in writing SBIR grant proposals. The grant was awarded. The lesson here is that even though you may become chums with the government official who oversees your grant area, your written proposal still must be able to jump through the bureaucratic hoops. The people who review your grant proposal will likely be complete strangers to you. The government does this to help depersonalize the grant award process and make sure that grants are awarded based on the merit of the proposal and not the personal relationship between the grant administrator and the inventor.
Government Technologies Available
There are databases listing hundreds of technologies that were developed within the various branches of the U.S. government that are now available for the private sector to commercialize. NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, National Laboratories, all branches of the military, and others offer technologies. Use of many of these technologies is more or less free for the asking. Contact the specific agency that has topics of interest to you, or see the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer at:
www.federallabs.org
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Adapted from, The Inventor’s Bible: How to Market and License Your Brilliant Ideas, Copyright 2001, 2004, Ten Speed Press, a Crown Publishing imprint of Random House, All Rights Reserved.
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