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Inventive Sonoma County

I notice a new “thing” everyday. You know when you’ve just seen a documentary about, I don’t know, peanuts for example. Then for the next couple days you see peanuts and their brethren everywhere. Mr. Peanut, peanut butter, peanut M&M’s, you hear the “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” song, until you’ve got peanuts coming out of your ears!

My subject for now is intellectual property. I sat through a fascinating and educational presentation given by Steve Schneider at Redwood Empire Small Business Development Center and Sawyer Center. He’s the coordinator of The Sawyer Center, program that teaches individuals and businesses how to navigate the choppy waters of seeing an invention through to the arrival of money in your pocket. Determining if the product is viable, if there’s a need, research, trademarks, copyrights, patents, pricing, networking, it’s a big subject.

The RESBDC is an amazing resource to local business by providing free and low cost education and counseling. It’s a State of California program (your tax dollars at work!) and overseen by the Santa Rosa Junior College. I took advantage of free business counseling myself to learn, to be challenged, to ask strategic and even silly questions of my counselor, Janet Wentworth. I found it enormously beneficial.

Everyone and their mother has an invention scribbled on a piece of paper or tucked away in their creative minds. This is a program for those with ideas and dreams. We can dream it and this program teaches you how to do it.

So everywhere I look I see trademark symbols (™), copyright marks ©, endcaps in stores and I see new-use inventions at every turn. If only I had 100 hours in every day, I could do something about my brilliant ideas (sarcasm alert). But I know that when I do have an idea that’s really worth it, I know where to turn to help me with my name, patent, and market my peanut.

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