A Visionary Medical Device (and Patent) Attracts Attention of a Major TV Retailer
A medical device inventor – and a client of mine – is on the brink of the ‘big time’ with her dual-purpose headband glasses, aptly branded as EyeBandz®. It’s attracting the attention of a major television retailer which could be the marketing tipping point for this visionary device.
If all goes according to plan, she hopes to confirm a spot on an upcoming Mother’s Day segment. This is a huge deal for Valerie Carbone, a tenacious and committed medical device inventor who has spent the last few years refining the manufacturing process in China for a product that doubles as both a reader and a “Alice Band” (a term commonly used in Europe).
Along the way she had to become a FDA registered importer to ensure her patented EyeBandz® could enter the U.S. legally. Additionally, she had to nail down two separate Chinese factories to build the band and optical lens before the final product could be assembled and shipped. Likewise, these two builders had to be FDA registered as well, requiring a lengthy and arduous selection process by the gritty inventor.
The specifics of this inventor journey can be found in a feature article on my sister intellectual property website, The Patent Professor, entitled: EyeBandz: An Inventor’s Vision Leaves No Hair Out of Place With Bulletproof Patent.
Valerie came up with her patented idea after her cell phone rang. She dropped her reading glasses down to her nose to read an item related to the call. She then popped the readers back up to the top of her head after the call ended.
Viola! EyeBandz® was born in an instant as she recognized the gap in the marketplace for this niche product.
She showed a large amount of moxie and self-reliance to craft the first prototypes which she brought with her to our first medical device patenting consultation.
Often the most successful inventors are the ones who don’t get stuck in endless prototyping before they have patent protection in place for their medical, dental or healthcare invention.
The understand the importance of locking in bulletproof patents and trademarks to protect their brand as they approach manufacturers, retailers and marketers in the course of their inventing journey. If you plan on attending several medical device inventing shows be aware that many of the industry people that examine your product will probably not sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) as they are literally swamped in product evaluations.
Your idea is thus always at risk of being stolen. Patents put a force field around your idea as you attempt to negotiate licensing deals with medical device companies.
Having a patent in place ensures you don’t fall victim to the machinations of larger firms who may simply engage their internal product teams to build something similar. This point was covered briefly in another article entitled How the “Garage Inventors” of 3M Perfected the Patented Post-It Note” which is relevant to medical device entrepreneurs, too.
In addition to patents, Valerie also had to become an expert in manufacturing, shipping and FDA regulatory guidelines. Importantly, the plastic optical lens used in EyeBandz is considered a medical device. The FDA recently released this advisory for optical lens medical device inventors:
“Foreign manufacturers must register their establishment with FDA and name a United States Agent; manufacturers must list their devices with FDA; manufacturers must meet Quality System (QS) requirements set forth in 21 CFR 820, the lens for spectacles and/or sunglasses must be certified as impact resistant under 21 CFR Part 801.410. “
Finding manufacturers that can meet these requirements can be challenging but Valerie used a chance meeting at the Home Shopping Network American Dreamer competition to establish a relationship with a reputable sourcing agent who helped her identify suitable factories.
After several months of toil, she has put the finishing touches on her packaging which includes optical lens strengths of 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5. EyeBandz wrapped in a lovely black Organza travel pouch and includes a high-quality microfiber cleaning cloth.
Her patented optical medical device is a highly demonstrable invention that solves an annoying problem for women frustrated at tearing their hair out each time they drop traditional readers down to their nose to read something.
By combining the attributes of two common products into a novel new arrangement, Valerie has come up with an elegant solution to an everyday problem. It’s simple and unique features also have one major other plus: It has a small physical footprint which fits easily on retail shelves.
Valerie Carbone thus joins a distinguished list of inventors who cleverly patented their medical device before spending considerable time adjusting the functionality and design of their healthcare prototype.
This includes Alex Gomez who patented his anti-fogging surgical device and Giselle Fermin who recently introduced a trademark-protected natural haircare line into the United States.
All these healthcare inventors grasped the value of simplicity, speed and passion in seeing their invention through to the finish line. Please follow Valerie’s journey on The Patent Professor which will include updates on her how her medical device is performing in the marketplace!