Field Reports1 Aug, 2006 By: Thomas Haire, Courtney Beth Pugatch Response
Khubani's Entrepreneurial Engineers Wow DR Lecturers at Princeton
A. We really spend time with inventors, starting with a 90-minute confidential discussion of their product. We do not charge any inventor any money — that makes us one of a kind among 1,100 Small Business Development offices across the United States. We have a relationship with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, and they lecture for us. We do everything from run workshops to help entrepreneurs and inventors create the right roadmap to get to market. We will help with copyright and trademark information, patent searching, manufacturing queries. We show people what product development is all about. We help with non-disclosure agreements. Most of all, we teach people how to do it themselves. They know their product best, and they're the best advocates for it.
Q. What is the greatest success to come through the Sawyer Center?
A. We had a product called Click Readers that first came through in 2000. This is now a multi-million dollar per year worldwide business. The owner, Ron Landau, came to the center thinking there had to be a better way to sell eyewear. Everyone loses them, or they break. He came up with an idea for glasses that break apart and snap together with a magnet system. I referred him to a patent agent. He got 12 patents, two of them U.S patents. We helped him with getting his name out in the press. Now, he sells a complete line of eyewear — reading glasses, sunglasses, protective eyewear in hospitals, ski goggles, you name it.
Q. What are your plans for the future of the Sawyer Center?
A. The Sawyer Center has limited funds. We are seeking out grants for an expansion. Our dream is to have offices, showrooms and seminar rooms across the United States. Entrepreneurs need help, and I'd love to be the kingpin of starting up a national service for them. Did you know that 98 percent of patents granted by the U.S. actually are attached to products that go nowhere? So many people have great products that go nowhere. We need to expand this program. In more than 10 years, we've seen more than 25,000 people come through here. Imagine what we could do with an expanded program.