Robert Lewis, Reporter
ITM News, Santa Rosa, CA

This article is reprinted from ITM News, October 1992.
Last month I had the privilege of commenting on the L.A. Expo. This month I get to tell you about the Invention Convention which took place over Labor Day Weekend in Pasadena, CA. It was sponsored by Stephen Paul Gnass. The same Stephen P. Gnass that had his security department remove me from the convention four years ago for passing out my business cards.

I feel it appropriate to bring this up at this time as there is a lesson to be learned here. Miscommunication and mistakes happen in life. And while our approaches are different, our two goals are similar - to provide a service to improve the environment for the independent inventor.

Over the years, Gnass and I have even worked together at international gatherings promoting his convention and we are now lobbying against the Harmonization Legislation and the outrageous patent maintenance fees.

As inventors we have to be aware that miscommunication is our biggest problem when dealing with our objectives. Currently our club is suffering from miscommunication. Just like Stephen and I went through. If I had gotten mad and bitter, much that we have accomplished together would not have been done as well.

You, as independent inventors have the same problem. If you can't communicate your needs and goals to your potential investors, manufacturers, marketing people or licensees you are going to get rejections. If you get bitter, you lose, the public loses and the economy loses, in that they may never get the benefit of your invention.

So what has all this to do with the Invention Convention review? "Preparation", the underlying theme of the convention. If you take the time to prepare your presentation, - outline your goals and understand your true needs, you will be much more successful in meeting them.

The Convention staff knocked themselves out with communication and preparation training for the exhibitors. Months in advance they worked to educate the participants. Their efforts were very evident at this year's show. This year was the finest show of this kind I have ever seen. Mr. Cordell Lundahl, President of the National Congress of Inventor Organizations (NCIO) told me it was even better than the international show's he's attended.

Why was this? Not for the reasons one might suppose. This convention has the same problems as all conventions have. Many of the exhibitor's badges were missing the first day. The speakers were too loud, the food too expensive and the trade people never showed up on Friday, the trade day. So how could this be a great show? The exhibitors were "prepared" for success. They knew how to communicate to the people they were looking for.

I talked to every independent inventor and all 150 plus except one were thrilled with the results they were getting. Several started negotiations on international licensing agreements and/or distribution contracts. Many found manufacturers and others found investors. The people who were upset with the first day's inconveniences were singing praises by the end of the show on Monday.

So in conclusion, I recap by saying, the different between miscommunication and communication is preparation and preparation equals results. This is the sign of a really successful convention. Congratulations, Invention Convention!

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