Free Help to File a Patent

Pilot Program

One of the consistent challenges faced by club members is to gather the resources to file an application for a US patent. Members are often constrained by finances or confusion about how to find legal assistance. In order to help independent inventors who struggle to find the necessary resources for filing, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) started a pilot program called the Pro Se Assistance Program. The USPTO website describes the program thusly:

The Pro Se Assistance Program is the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s comprehensive pilot to expand outreach to inventors who file patent applications without the assistance of a registered patent attorney or agent (also known as “pro se” filing).

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Tech Tour 2016 & Boy Scout Inventor Merit Badge

Hello Everyone! There are a couple of things going on in Fort Wayne that may interest club members. They are Tech Tour 2016 (October 24 – 28, 2016) and the Boy Scout’s Merit Badge College (October 15, 2016) that, for the first time here locally, features an Inventors merit badge. Both events will be discussed at the next Meetup (October 13, 2016). Continue reading

Focus Group

The Meetup for this week will include a focus group session. This type of session is a tool to gather data in a structured multi-person setting. Focus groups are usually small and moderated by one or two people who keep the group on topic, take notes, and ask questions. The sessions are short and focused on a specific topic.

One of the members is designing a smartphone healthcare app and will use the focus group format to gather ideas about organizing information within the app. Patients and healthcare providers each have different information needs. The session will be used to explore ways to transition the software between views of data important for patients and those important for healthcare providers, without disrupting normal communication during a face-to-face interaction. If you have ideas and want to help out, please join us this Thursday.


Last month, Mr. Dave Hockemeyer, co-owner of PERIDOT, Inc., was the club’s guest speaker. He delivered a powerful presentation and brought several artifacts representing the company’s manufacturing capability. Club members were fully engaged and asking a lot of questions—it was a kind of geek heaven. The presentation was so well received, that we decided to hold our next Meetup at Peridot! That Meetup is this Saturday, October 10, 2015.

Since we are going to spend time at Peridot, I thought it would be appropriate to provide a little background information about the company before the Meetup. According to the company website, Peridot is a full service product development service bureau with a mission to:

Provide you with a solution to meet your needs, whether it is for design verification, marketing, or functional testing. We understand the unique advantages that each technology provides, allowing us to tailor a solution to your exact needs. As a flexible family owned service bureau, PERIDOT offers unique customer service and new and creative ideas. We can also provide secondary operations on your prototype such as machining, assembly or incorporating last minute design changes.

As a full service product development organization, Peridot uses a variety of manufacturing processes to include cutting edge ones such as additive manufacturing (more about this later) and traditional ones, such as subtractive manufacturing (in which material is removed, for example, by drilling), polymer molding, and metal casting. The benefit of this Saturday’s Meetup is the opportunity to learn about these processes in a real world manufacturing setting.

The company specialty that grabbed the interest of the Fort Wayne Inventors Club is additive manufacturing. (Additive manufacturing is also known as 3D Printing or Rapid Prototyping.) In this form of manufacturing, an object is built by adding layer-upon-layer of thin materials under computer control. An object is typically modeled first using a computer aided design (CAD) program (Tinkercad and SketchUp are examples of free CAD software). This data is input into a specialized computer, and the 3D representation is created from it. A variety of materials can be used to create the layers, such as plastic, metal, and concrete. Additive manufacturing is a way to help independent inventors realize their ideas in physical form at a much lower cost than other forms of manufacturing.

Peridot has been in operation since 1997. It is located at 14508 Bruick Drive, Hoagland, IN 46745.


PERIDOT, Inc. Website.

Additive Manufacturing (n.d.). What is Additive Manufacturing. Retrieved October 5, 2015.

Wikipedia. (2015, October 5). 3D Printing.