Shark Tank like Inventors Clinic


By Joseph R. Birkner, M.E., Registered Patent Agent Copyright 2014

IANE (Inventors’ Association of New England), founded on July 28, 1977,

 holds public meetings at MIT, usually at 7 PM on each second Monday of the month.

  Speakers typically include patent professionals, marketers, entrepreneurs,

 successful inventors and business persons all of whom discuss relevant topics

 of interest to inventors and entrepreneurs. Membership in IANE, currently is

 only $40 a year; a nominal donation of $5 is suggested for non-members and guests.

 Members receive a monthly Newsletter, participate in networking and are eligible

 to attend a private, Members Only Inventor’s Clinic. Details of IANE meetings,

 Inventor’s Clinic and valuable articles of interest and other information can be found


Well before the appearance of the popular SHARK TANK TV show, where budding 

inventors and entrepreneurs present their idea to a panel of “Sharks” for feedback and

 possible funding, IANE has been conducting, since 1991, a somewhat similar venue as

 a perk for Members Only.

IANE’s  “Shark-Tank-Like”  Inventor’s Clinic occurs every second month, usually on a

 Wednesday at 7 PM at a private location (not at MIT) for Members Only who are

 encouraged to present their ideas for inventions.  The Clinic is a great way to get

 FREE, valuable impartial feedback and opinions as to the technical, business potential

 and  feasibility of an invention before spending money on patents, prototypes, 

drawings, molds and tooling.  The Clinic, in a short time, provides a “reality check”, 

provided the Presenter is listening carefully.  Presenters  book their intent for presenting 

their invention in advance, since the number of Presenters is limited due to time

 constraints. Typically about 6 presentations are made. Usually, 6-8 non-presenting

 members attend the Clinic, some of whom have backgrounds in areas such as patent

 law, marketing, engineering, manufacturing, prototyping, licensing, and general 

business.. The Presenter does not have to have a fully developed idea, prototype or a

 patent on file, although it may be helpful.  All in attendance must sign a non disclosure

 agreement for each presentation.  Presenters  have a timed period of 15 minutes to

 present their invention and solicit feedback. A video projector and screen are available.

All suggestions belong to the Presenter.

 Several previous Presenters have had their products come on the market, influenced

 by the feedback they received at the Clinic. For record purposes, all presentations are

 video-recorded and a copy, upon request, is provided only to the Presenter.  Members

 who have not attended a Clinic they are encouraged to do so as a listener to see how

 the Clinic operates.  Further details about the operation of the Inventor’s Clinic are

 generally discussed at each month at the public IANE meeting.  If you like SHARK 

TANK, you will LOVE the INVENTORS’ CLINIC.  See you there!! Joe Birkner