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Patent Lather

When you create a product with broad commercial potential, be sure to protect your interests by patenting the products in a way that keeps the competition at bay.

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This story appears in the June 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

While a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, 22-year-old Ronald Demon created the technology behind the ThinkShoe, high-tech footwear that adjusts its cushioning to the wearer's activity. If you're playing basketball, for instance, air pressure will push fluid into the cushion to provide extra comfort. "Everybody started calling me when the news of my invention first came out in the media," says Demon. "I was approached by Nike, Adidas and Reebok, among others, to see if I was interested in licensing my technology."

Demon, however, has different ideas-he's decided to introduce the product himself. At press time, the product, named Raven, was scheduled for a 13-city test run this summer. Demon believes the initial success will expedite the final licensing agreements and help him negotiate a better royalty rate.

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