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DOUG HALL BLOGGED LIVE- Hi folks -- I've answered some of the questions posted to get things going... - Doug Hall

doughallphotoQUESTION: What's to keep others from stealing the inventions we see on the show? Or more precisely, how much exactly must a similar idea differ for a mega-company to get their own patent on it?

DOUG: Sadly, many of the inventors don’t have an invention that is protectable. Hopefully those that do have filed a utility patent.

QUESTION: Why doesn't the show screen inventors before they come before the judges so they don't waste your time with products that already exist?

DOUG: They do and many have been removed – however it’s also part of the “real world” that many people believe they’ve invented something when in truth it’s fundamentally the same. Besides it’s good entertainment.

COMMENT: Doug, as a viewer I am *so* tired of hearing the inventors talk about how much time and money they put into their invention, as if nobody else has ever put all their time and money into something. If this show is to go another season, less melodrama and more of the science (CSI-type angle). I hate to say it, but I cringe every time they go in for a closeup on Mary Lou as she tears up (oh, pleeeeease). I know you're not the producer, but could you pass this along?

DOUG: I so agree with you. As I said – It’s NOT American Sob Story. If you’re frustrated imagine what it’s like to spend 12 hours a day for 10 days – hearing story after story -- it’s enough to make me vomit! COMMENT: Production-wise, one of the best shots in the show was when you went back and encouraged the boy inventor who chose the wrong invention to present. DOUG: It was a very honest moment. I almost insisted that they not film it. I was afraid what it would look like. But in the end it came out very real. By the way – Kyle is really an awesome kid. I so hope to see him next year. I’ve sent him my books and some audio CD’s from my radio show.

COMMENT: I'm following the show and from my observation Doug Hall has The germ filtering toilets seat couple (FlushPure or Pureflush), The spherical baby seat man and the door clip woman. Sounds like such a broad range of ideas. Why these three???


DOUG: I selected these three because all three solve REAL problems. The problems vary from small problems that happen frequently (Sharon’s Door Clip) to the infrequent but BIG problem (Januse’s Baby Seat) to the in between – Joe & Jenny’s toilet seat. I have given all three my word that I will.

COMMENT: why do the judges keep asking what the market potential is for the receiver's training pole? The market is huge--any parent who wants their kid to get outside, try football, maybe find out they can succeed at it.

DOUG: The reason is because amazingly we have criteria that we’re supposed to be judging on – and one of the criteria is “Mass Market Consumer Product.” Needless to say each judge considers this differently. In my mind the priority is 1: Does it solve a real problem (make the world better) , 2) Uniqueness of the invention (it can’t be “just like), 3) Mass Market potential and 4) That the invention can be manufactured and sold at a reasonable price for that invention. NOTE: A great “sob story” is NOT on my list.

QUESTION: The Invention or Inventor. Honestly what is more important? I use thousands of great inventions on a daily basis and don't know nor care who invented them. They work and that's the bottom line.

DOUG: I agree totally. The measure of a great “inventor” can be seen in their invention. Those who have the courage to be bold and brave with their inventions are the great inventors in my opinion.

COMMENT : I look forward to Sunday night. I'm sure Doug will have some good insight as to the future of American Inventor. Marc Griffin
The "BulletBall Guy"

DOUG: Marc, my vote on BulletBall was one of the toughest of the competition for me. As the NEW YORKERS to my left (Mary Lou and Ed) were pounding on you – I so wanted to vote yes – just to annoy them and to defend you. In the end – I voted no because I thought to myself what it would be like to try and sell Bullet Ball to Parker Brothers or Milton Bradley --- I could see that set of “judges” saying no to the game – because of cost and size for the table (they like things that go into a box) – and because of the one dimensional nature of the game play (they like multi-levels). NOTE: I’m not saying they would be right – just that that’s what I anticipate I would hear based on my experience. I wish you the very best of luck with the game. I so hope you show that we were “idiots” for voting you down.

QUESTION: Shouldn't focus groups be of target consumers? Who were the consulting companies? Are they all in one production & marketing houses? Don't they have sales prices in mind, and isn't the focus group a good time to propose that?

DOUG: Yes target consumers would make more sense. The firms are primarily industrial design firms. I was able to get my contestants to use some other specialists – can’t say any more till the show airs.

QUESTION: I know it wasn't Doug's call, but why did "Time Out Tot" get cut while "Naia" is still going?

DOUG: You had to BRING THAT UP. I’m still ANGRY ABOUT IT. You’d have to ask the Red Head!

QUESTION: If the show comes back, any hope of format changes?

DOUG: I’m hopeful. ABC and Freemantle appear to be open to suggestions for improvement. I’ve got a list of things that I’m working on.

Comments
Apr 23, 2006
by Think Outside T...
Think Outside The Circle's picture

DOUG. WELCOME AND THANKS FOR COMING!

Alright here we go.

Apr 23, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

Holey cool. I can't believe

Holey cool. I can't believe it's really Doug!!

Hi Doug:

I got to say, I think you have alot of brass for coming onto a site where some of the inventors have been more than vocal in complaining about the show.

What do you hope to accomplish by blogging on this site?

Apr 23, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

INVENTION

Should a focus group occur before a prototype is ever made? How much touch a marketing group generally charge? Which is preferred,a patent lawyer or agent or patent online
Thanks!

Apr 23, 2006
by Doug Hall

The inconsistency ---

I just read the history of Niya's development -- I knew it was being sold -- I didn't know that it had been sold in Kmart -- I so wish I'd known that earlier. Just wait till I see Mary Lou again.

Apr 23, 2006
by Doug Hall

I'm not a big fan of Focus Groups

The research indicates that ideas that "anticipate the future" are 10 times more likely to be successful than those that simply listen to the "voice of the customer" Net -- use them with caution -- better yet -- just talk to some trusted friends - the kind of friends who you know will tell you the truth.

A focus group is also often seen as a "public disclosure" that can impact international patent rights - unless you have specific wording in your agreement with participants.

Apr 23, 2006
by Samma

What have you invented

I think it was mentioned by a commenter on this site or elsewhere that you do not have alot of patents, but you are known as an inventor. Is that true?

What are some of your inventions that you are most proudest of?

Thanks for coming to blog here, I have to say, I think its pretty cool of you. My respect for you has gone up 1000%.

Apr 23, 2006
by Doug Hall

Yes it's Doug

Doug also known in recent weeks as "A-Hole" (Mary Lou) -- "The Grinch" (Don the idea guy) -- "Mr. Know it All (AI) and my favorite -- "The balding troll" (Comedy Central) .

I'm here to listen, teach a little and have some laugh.

The inventors have complained about the show -- so have I -- but hey at least the country is talking about inventors.

Apr 23, 2006
by Aries

Judges

How do you get along with the rest of the judges? There seems to be a lot of tension.

Apr 23, 2006
by Doug Hall

Patents

My business model is corporate inventing -- on a fee basis ($150,000 for 3 days is my classic arrangement -- the Ranch also has lower cost options without me). I'm an "inventing mercenary" as such my contracts consider my work "work for hire" thus I'm not mentioned on patents.

Hey it's good work if you can get it.

Apr 23, 2006
by Think Outside T...
Think Outside The Circle's picture

WILL YOU BE A JUDGE IN SEASON 2?

Will there be a season 2?

Apr 23, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

I totally agree that the

I totally agree that the show has served to highten awareness about inventing and inventions and for that, I am grateful to you and to the show.

I mean when else would Jay Leno and Martha Stewart and Ellen Degenerer, all who are looking for inventers according to American Inventor Spot?

If not for this show, we'd still be all sitting in a dark garage somewhere looking to win the measley $25,000 "prize" with modern marvel.

Apr 23, 2006
by Doug Hall

Mary Lou Boo Hoo

This was first brought to her attention when we did THE VIEW together (I was called the Grinch in the same blog).

I don't think she likes it -- although she did tell me she always loved the Dr. Suess story about the Grinch.

I know she does think I'm the Grinch -- then again isn't the Grinch the hero in the end?

Apr 23, 2006
by Alexis

Format

If there was one thing you could change about the show, what would it be?

Apr 23, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

Do u have any background information about the invention

I know someone who auditioned for your show and her invention was chosen as one of the BEST inventions by TIME Magazine and also won
a very popular Search for Invention contest for a fortune 500 company but received all 4 no's from the judges. Her invention was perfect
for the show and is going to sell in millions. DO u have any knowledge about the invention's background before the inventor auditions??
And do u have any regrets afterwards? DO any of the judges wish they would have said yes to some inventions they said no to?

Apr 23, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

If for instance...

If for instance there is an invention that I am very interested in purchasing (*coughrestroomdoorclipcough*), but it does not make the cut...will there be information on how to go about getting one (or more)? Or will we have to camp out at Ebay or something of that sort?

Apr 23, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

HOW DO THE INVENTIONS HERE IN THE INVENTION GALLERY RATE?

I'm not sure you've had a chance to check out the inventions here at AIS in the Invention Gallery, some of them actually made it on the show, and many haven't. My invention is up there. Not going to say which one. But... I'd love to know what you think of them at some point. Even if not right now.

Apr 23, 2006
by Doug Hall

Season 2

I spoke with Peter Jones today by phone. He had just finished another round of Dragon's Den. I asked him about season 2 -- knowing I was on tonight. He said "ABC continues to be very excited about the show. They know it's in a very, very tough time slot. The final decision will depend on what else is available and how the next few weeks go."

From what I've heard from Freemantle and ABC -- I'm personally cautiously optimistic.

If there is a second season -- I am under contract to do it.

Apr 23, 2006
by Amarsir

Loving it so far! Few more questions:

  • 50 products dropped down to 12 w/o really seeing any reasons - will we ever see why things were cut?
  • Quality Assurance - is that being done "behind the scenes"? Wouldn't do much for the franchise if the winning invention is fragile and flawed.
  • The way editing's been done, how satisfied are you personally on a scale of 1-10?
  • The product you're staking your reputation on as an inventor - it's the toilet seat, right? ;-)
  • From what I've seen of the contract, it says the $1m is an advance on royalties, but doesn't spell out the royalty percentage. Is that an oversight?
  • Apr 23, 2006
    by Anonymous (not verified)

    HOW DO YOU GET INTO CORPORATE INVENTING?

    I come up with ideas, all day long, for someone else. And I invent on the side, for myself. How did you get into it, and how can I?

    Apr 23, 2006
    by Anonymous (not verified)

    Do you have roles for the

    Do you have roles for the show?

    I mean have the producers ever given you any indication that you should act like a certain personality or character or is what we see the real Doug Hall?

    I know the show is edited by the production team, but how scripted is it?

    Apr 23, 2006
    by Doug Hall

    Judge Tension is REAL

    Yes it's very real the tension that you see. The fight between ML and I in show one was a big one -- I felt she was using a "technicality" to get out a lady who was amazingly normal (No crying) -- she felt that it was the right thing to do.

    Peter and I are the most similar -- we both started our companies with nothing. I used credit cards to fund mine. He was washing his hair in cold water.

    Apr 23, 2006
    by faxman

    Submission Invention ad's on TV-commercial

    Hi Doug,

    Not know what to do with my idea or where to start, I am one of those guys
    who fell for an invention submitting company. I know know that I will
    not get any where with them. So back to square one.

    How does one start, if one does not know how to start and fianicing is
    an issue?

    Apr 23, 2006
    by Anonymous (not verified)

    Are there any inventions

    Are there any inventions that you thought were good but didn't get to the top 30 (or further for that matter)?

    Apr 23, 2006
    by Pat Rock (not verified)

    Take-A-Seat

    Hi Doug. What did YOU truly think of Take-A-Seat? Was
    it too expensive for the show? Any ideas why more footage
    was not shown, especially since you all told us you
    liked it? We never were really told why we missed
    the top 12, but are thankful for getting as far as we
    did.

    Kind Regards,
    Pat Rock
    Take-A-Seat

    Apr 23, 2006
    by Doug Hall

    Show Roles

    I don't know about the others -- I know that in my case they were looking for someone who really knew inventions and wasn't afraid to be blunt about it. I told Simon I was not interested in being RUDE -- as I told all the inventors they're my hero's -- it's the chumps without the guts to get up and do something that i have problems with.

    Simon laughed and said -- Doug you don't get it. If you tell the truth you're going to be seen as nasty - it's as simple as that.

    So yes there are many times that I "cringe" at the edit. However in the end I know that I spoke and speek the truth to the best of my knowledge in the situation. That said. There are many times I learned later....

    Apr 23, 2006
    by Aries

    Do you know why ABC did not

    Do you know why ABC did not air all of the inventors that made it to the final 24 and final 50? I would have loved to have seen everyone who made it past "Round 1".

    Apr 23, 2006
    by Amused and Bemused

    Wacky Stuff

    Hi Doug:

    I write on this site on stuff I find amusing or bemusing. I know you have seen alot of wacky stuff on the auditions for the show. Which was your personal pick for wackiest invention?

    Thanks,

    Amused and Bemused

    Apr 23, 2006
    by Doug Hall

    Take-A-Seat

    You've been ROBBED in the EDIT. So too has Matt with the Trailer Tower. Both are two of my personal favorites.

    I believe you have a great product. My advice is to do some clever cost engineering -- figure out how to make it a $1,000 value for $400 i.e. through clever multiple uses of pieces. I just bought a bike rack for $200 (ouch) -- I'd much rather of had your system

    Apr 23, 2006
    by Amarsir

    Price

    Is "price" a bad word? You're the only one I've seen bring it up (solar cooler and drinkplate IIRC) and both times you were scoffed at. In a nutshell:

    At some point before the final voting will we have some idea what this stuff costs?

    Apr 23, 2006
    by Doug Hall

    Wackiest Invention

    I personally most loved the Beatle Utopia for the world of wacky -- great ideas walk a fine line between GENIUS and FOOLISH -- he was definitely on the line. You only saw a portion of it (remember most inventors are with us for 15 to 30 minutes (or 40 minutes in the case of the paper lady).