Assisting Companies to Recognize and Energize Innovation

Patent Plaques


In 23 years of operating U.S. Patent Services, we have served a lot of customers. Sometimes certain customers stand out in some unusual way. This is one of my favorite stories about a certain customer.

It was back 1994. Col. Oliver North was in a very heated senate race in Virginia. At the time, it was the most expensive senate race in history. Well, we were doing our weekly mailing to new patent recipients which back then was done manually through the weekly patent gazette. One of our employees saw that Oliver North had been granted a patent on a new type of body armor. So, just for the heck of it, we sent him a patent plaque, thinking nothing much more about it.

Well, to my great surprise, about three weeks later, we received a phone call. It was him. My office manager just about fell off her chair when she took the call from him asking for me.

So, I took the phone call immediately with the very clever remark “Col. North? Is it really you?”

His response was “well, that’s what my mother calls me”. He then went on to profusely thank me for the “beautiful patent wall plaque” and proceeded to order over $600 worth of patent commemoratives for his partners and employees, remarking on how appreciative he was of them all.

It was true graciousness while in the midst of a massive campaign for the US senate. And if that was not enough, I received a very thoughtful and personalized Christmas card from him and his family shortly afterward.


Edison Awards
I’d like to tell you about the Edison Awards experience that we have had in recent years. We are a proud partner of The Edison Awards. The awards are celebrating their 25th anniversary of recognizing innovation, honoring innovators and defining excellence in the design, development and marketing of new products and services. The Edison Awards symbolize the persistence and excellence personified by Thomas Alva Edison, inspiring America’s drive to remain in the forefront of innovation, creativity and ingenuity in the global economy.

The cool thing is that they recognize innovation in so many diverse fields including Energy & sustainability, industrial design, innovative services, lifestyle & social impact, living, working & learning environments, material science, media/visual communication, science/medical, retail frontiers, marketing, and transportation. It’s not just about products and inventions, but innovation across life.

Once a year, the Edison Awards throw an incredible, black-tie gala and party in New York City at a fantastic place called Le’ Capitale in lower Manhattan. In past years, I’ve met so many innovators I couldn’t begin to tell you. I’ve met the head of Ford – Alan Mulally, the founder of Discovery Channel – John Hendricks, the head of MIT – Dr. Susan Hockfield, the head of the TED conference – Chris Anderson, and on and on.

So begins my story about this year’s event and our role in it. We designed and craft the actual embedment awards given out to the recipients. But this year, increasing our support, we also crafted the table centerpieces for the gala event. After much brainstorming, we found these giant light bulbs that over a foot high and 9” in diameter. You see one and you go “that’s a big light bulb!”. They stood up right with the socket end held in place within a small candle glass (like a shot glass) that was glued to a 9” diameter mirror plate. We worked all afternoon the day of the event to set these up.

So, I was hoping to repack them after the event and use them for something else. That was until I did a really stupid thing, which I actually don’t regret. Following the dinner and presentations, I gave one of the centerpieces away to someone I had been talking to. All of a sudden everybody started grabbing them. It was controlled chaos. Within just minutes, I mean minutes, all (50) centerpieces were gone! People grabbed them and started walking out with them right and left right while I’m just standing there going “I guess I’m not going to get those back”. I even saw some guy trying to buy one off another guy for $50. All the time, although flattered that they were such a hit, I’m watching, thinking and then shaking my head going “who wants to walk around New York City at night in a tuxedo carrying a giant light bulb?”


Patent plaque we designed for Pixar. Check it out!