President & Founder Chicago Inventors Organization
Calvin Flowers relates to parents who struggle to keep their teenagers from running up the telephone bill. While growing up, he and his six siblings gave his mother headaches because they abused their telephone privileges.
“When the bill arrived, no one wanted to help pay it.” says Calvin, who recalls how his mother unplugged the phone and locked it in her bedroom as a last resort. But his siblings bought another phone, and the bill ended up being higher than ever.
Calvin had a passion for electronics and a knack for solving problems. To solve the telephone abuse for his mother, he created the “Tel-Lock”, a telephone-locking device that secures the phone at the jack. When the invention worked, Calvin knew he had something others would want.
The road to sucess was not an easy one for Calvin. In 1992, Calvin hired a now defunct invention promotion firm to help evaluate, develop, patent, and market his invention. Calvin was a novice when it came to the invention industry. For $500 the invention promotion firm did a patent search and in addition required him to pay them $9,500 in three installments. After Calvin made his final payment Calvin learned his patent application had been denied. After doing further research, Calvin discovered that one of the firm’s attorneys wasn’t even licensed to be a patent lawyer.
Through an appeal process Calvin eventually received his patent but his battle to get his invention to market was not over. He faced another hurdle when a major manufacture stole his idea. Calvin ended up settling out of court in a patent infringement suit.
Calvin’s experience shows that many inventors fall victims to so-called invention promotion firms that promise much but deliver little. Calvin started Chicago Inventors Organization so that other would not have to go through the trial and tribulations that he did.