2016 november issue

Page 23

LONGTIME INVENTORS DIGEST EDITOR FOUGHT FOR THE SMALL INVENTOR BY REID CREAGER oanne Hayes knew it was a longshot when she applied for a $10-an-hour job as editor with Affiliated Inventors Foundation, a company that published a fledgling invention publication in early 1987. She also knew she had the heart, determination and work ethic of an inventor. Without those attributes, she may not have survived the previous three years as a supervisor for a group of 7-Eleven stores in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “Eight stores. It was like having eight kids and 68 grandkids,” she says now with a laugh. “After that, I know I’m going straight to heaven.” Having worked on a Johnson & Johnson employee magazine in New Jersey and a businesswoman’s magazine out of Kansas City, she was confident about her qualifications but faced heavy competition: “I think about 100 people applied for that job. I was fortunate to get it.” AIF, headquartered in Colorado Springs, sent prospective inventors a packet of free information about the first steps to determine whether their invention idea was viable. Inventors’ Digest, a newsletter-style insert, was included in the mailings. She joined the company that spring for her first issue as editor. Twenty years later, publisher Joanne Hayes-Rines sold the magazine—but not before leaving an enduring impact on American invention and the magazine you are reading. photo by mat tco n t i . co m

Learning and advocating

Volume 1, Issue 1 of Inventors’ Digest (the apostrophe was dropped from the title in recent years) appeared in spring 1985. The eight-page newsletter, typeset using an electric typewriter, was the brainchild of AIF’s founder and president, John Farady. Its first editor was Adrienne Walker. Hayes-Rines recalls that pre-internet, AIF “advertised in Yellow Pages all over the country. People could call an 800 number and get information about the invention process. The company also offered patent searches and, if warranted, patent applications. They dealt with hundreds of people every month, working out of a little office. Then I came on, and we started selling subscriptions to the newsletter.” The publication was printed using old-school, pre-electronic composition called cold type. “It demanded a whole lot more accuracy than digital printing because anytime you sent in something with a misspelling or error, the printer literally had to pick up the erroneous piece of type and move it.” Eventually, she bought the magazine part of the business—though it was more a bulletin than a magazine for the first five years. Initially, her learning curve was steep: “At speaking engagements, I always said I got the job as editor because of my writing and editing skills,” she says. “But although I knew how to spell the word ‘patent,’ I had never heard the term ‘intellectual property.’ Then you start to meet enough inventors and IP professionals and go to enough conferences, and you learn.”



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