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American Inventor: Sackmaster, In Brella, Catch Vest

by Keith McDuffee, posted Apr 20th 2006 11:13PM
american inventor(S01E06) Tonight was actually two episodes, but to be honest with you, I didn't even bother sitting through the first one. Why? Because I already saw many of them once, and they weren't all that worth sitting through yet again. And to see more, ones that weren't good enough to show us the first time? No thanks.

I do have one question, though -- whatever happened to those singer dudes who had that nut/shell ashtray thing? They seemed very sure they'd "be famous again," so what happened? I think that was the last we saw of it. Oh well guys, good luck with that fame thing.

Anyway, onto the first finalist round.

If you'd have told me who was cleared to the final four round before I saw the show, I wouldn't have believed you. As I said last week, I was sure the Sackmaster would be at least in the top three, but as we saw this week, that wasn't the case. And you know what? I'm not surprised. While it's a great tool, the inventor was not only cocky about his product, he bought a incredibly expensive suit with the improvement money! I hope the guy knows he made a huge mistake there, one that very well cost him the contest.

The "Un Brella" changes its name to "In Brella," though it's not enough of a change. The prototype is not only unfinished, but it's bulky and impractical. While she did have more motivation than Sackmaster guy, I could see why this simply didn't make the cut and was the first to go.

The "Catch Vest" (I believe that was the final name he chose, though I did see one prototype titled "Catch Elite") had by far the best prototype, but I agree with the judges here -- the market simply isn't large enough. And was it just me or did that video seem very rehearsed and biased? I believe the criteria for winning the contest isn't just how good the product is, but also the inventor's need and drive. This guy definitely had more need than the other two, and he clearly worked harder with the money given to him.

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Matt Piner

Mark Martinez was set up.
He couldn't change his product because he already has a design patent based on how the thing LOOKS, not on how it works (a utility patent).
He made it yellow and added a strap because he's copying a product already out there and selling for 6 years now -- the GoBagger.
In fact, Doug Hall (the Hawaiian shirt guy judge) has written about it on his "soapbox" feature at www.doughall.com

Doug's Soap Box

Friday, April 21, 2006

So what's the deal with Sackmaster?

Lots of e-mails overnight regarding the Sackmaster. Folks are wondering if Ed has lost his mind. In this case I don't believe he has.

The Sackmaster is not original nor is it proprietary. The original concept was invented in 1870 for a device designed "to help put grain into bags."

The most successful current version of the concept right now is called GoBagger created by Matthew Piner see image below and visit www.gobagger.com

What is particularly great about Matt's version is that they "nest" inside of each other making it easy to ship in an emergency.

Both the "Sackmaster" and the "Go Bagger" have patents. Readers may ask how could this be? The issue is the kind of patents. Both are design patents (note Go Bagger also has a utility patent for a very unique strap system). Design patents are basically 3D copyrights -- they are relatively worthless when it comes to stopping someone from doing the same thing. The only way to do that is with a utility patent -- and as mentioned - the utility patent for this concept has long been in the public domain.

A reasonable question is "how did the Sackmaster get so far?"

The answer to that lies in the contest judging criteria. There are 7 or 8 items -- and innovative is but one of them. In my case it's a necessity (sort of the "jacks or better to open" concept) - in the case of the other judges it is not an absolute. Before you "jump on them" remember that there is also a criteria about -- "Does the person have the skills to make the invention real" -- in my case this is somewhat optional (they can get expert advice) - in the case of other judges this is interpreted as the most important thing -- "the passion of the person... what does it mean to you....blah, blah, blah"

Net - all the judges are unique and distinct -- and that makes for great debates and entertainment.



April 24 2006 at 5:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i watched every minute till the sackmaster guy was turned away i guess the judge never had to sandbag to keep the river out of his house. and what is with changing the color? i wonder if the guy who invented the traffic cone was asked to make it look less like a leggo. seems like a bright red shovel would be easier to find in a hurry than a grey one. and what about the woe is me stories i thought it was about the products not a freaking pity party. maybe i should be on and weave a hard luck story. i could use a million bucks.

April 21 2006 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It may have already been said before, but this is the worst execution of a good idea for a show I have ever seen. The first hour last night was completely unwatchable, and the second was almost as bad. Thank goodness for Tivo.

April 21 2006 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If your saga is good enuf to make them all 'tear up', you might make it into the finals. I also, did not watch the first either, been there~done that.(zz.zz..z)
Having a lil r&r on the 'invention bucks' was hysterical! 'Brella girl'can't make a decision w/o her 'friend'..omg, I was laughin so hard! Hellooo oo Kelly Girls! 'Catch Vest' definitely had the makins of a mini soap..while bankruptcy, eviction, and starvation looms for the 18 people he supports, he is determined to 'help the kids' to achieve their (HIS) dreams to become an National Football Player! hahahaha

April 21 2006 at 8:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I understand why the Un Brella didn't make it but I really wanted it to work. I hope she doesn't give up. I want one of those when it gets perfected!

April 21 2006 at 8:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
E. Corsini

The so call SACKMASTER is a Canadian invention and has been in the market since 1974, same divise you can buy it on the internet or via email for $17.99 canada $.
I do not understand why the producer do not check the product in other markets before they give money away to people that do not deserve.

April 21 2006 at 2:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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