Columbia is contacted from time to time by inventors of tools that make the taping or finishing process easier or quicker. The inventors are generally in one of two places. They have no protection on their invention and want to know how to proceed. Or they have fully patented their invention and want our company to enter into a NDA with them before knowing what the product is. I thought we would take the time to cover both of these scenarios.
1. For those who have no protection I tell them to file a provisional patent. A provisional patent in the USA gives the inventor one year to show and market his or her idea publicly while deciding to file for a more costly 20 year protection. These can be self-filed at very little cost. Alternatively, for between $1000 to $3000, an attorney can file it for you. The choice is solely up to the individual. I generally recommend using an attorney. However not knowing what an inventor’s idea is and whether it is viable makes it hard to say for sure. It is a call that has to be made by the individual.
Columbia Taping Tools warrants that all products will be free from defects in material and workmanship under normal use and service for 5 years from the original date of purchase. The limited warranty does not cover the following wear parts; cutter blades, box blades and skids, corner finisher blades, cables, any and all rubber seals, gaskets, needles, O-rings, nyliner bearings, any and all springs, screens and rubber box wheels. This limited warranty does not cover damage which in the reasonable judgment of Columbia Taping Tools arises from loss, misuse, negligence, accident, corrosion or from substitution of non-Columbia parts.
A great tool is made the same way a great restaurant serves a great meal. Recipe, Ingredients, quality cooking instruments, a skilled chef, presentation, and the assurance that if the meal is unsatisfactory an alternative will be offered.
A Columbia set of tools is made using the same approach. The recipe is in the design, the ingredients are the superior metals, the skill is in the hands of the machinists and assemblers, the instruments are high tech lathes and milling machines, the presentation is in the color scheme and lines, and the assurance is in the warranty.
I realized along time ago, being in a micro niche industry, that we could not effectively advertise our products through common channels. An ad during the Superbowl ™ was not going to happen. We tried a few trade magazines which were ok but ultimately one conclusion was reached. Our only chance to communicate with our customers is when the product is in their hands. It became mission number one that every product be a positive experience for many years for each of our customers. Our tools are our marketing.
Making them great is our Superbowl ™ commercial.