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Featuring Inventor and President of McNaughton Inc.

Patrick McNaughton

INVENTING.ORG: Featuring Patrick McNaughton

Patrick McNaughton is an inventor who holds dozens of patents and is the president of McNaughton Incorporated, a manufacturing company in Plymouth, MN. His inventions are now viable, long-standing products in the marketplace!

Patrick has been featured in many magazine articles, including Entrepreneur Magazine and Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal (reprinted below).

If you have an idea you'd like to discuss with Patrick, he is available for consultation. Please email: xquez@aol.com. In your subject line, please write "Invention Consultation."

Entrepreneur Magazine

Ideas Unlimited Multiple Inventions By Don Debelak | Business Start-Ups magazine - May 1999 (entire article availabe at link below)



Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal

From the August 31, 2001 print edition

Inventor for Life
by Benno Groeneveld

Patrick McNaughton, 36, never patented his most famous invention: the neon blackboard used to post restaurant specials. McNaughton came up with that idea 15 years ago when he tended bar and waited tables to put himself through college. While working yet another job, producing a mail catalog with products for bars and restaurants, McNaughton noticed that regular blackboards were a very popular item. "But people complained that they were always the same thing. They wanted something different, something that would draw more attention," he said.

McNaughton had seen pictures of the glass or acrylic boards, drawn on with grease pens, that are used by the military to keep track of troop or ship movements.

"But the military didn't use any backing for these boards, so you could look right through them, which was very distracting," McNaughton said. So he put a backing on his boards, added lights, and an item was born that is still very popular today.
McNaughton never took out a patent on this invention. "Because it was used by the army, I thought it could not be patented," he said. However, looking back he regrets that he let his attorney talk him out of applying for one.

After the first neon blackboards came out, imitators started flooding the market. "Rather than fight with the vultures," he said, "I started designing and selling special versions of the blackboards." For example, he created one with numbers already etched in to indicate rankings of the most popular movies in video stores. All the store needed to do was add the titles.

McNaughton no longer is in the neon blackboard business. But he still keeps on inventing, partly because he needs to make money ("people just think all inventors are rich"); partly because he can't help himself -- inventing is in his blood.

His company, McNaughton Inc., Minneapolis, designs, manufactures and markets premium items for the consumer goods market. Popular items, McNaughton said, are a strainer for cans of food and Gas Guard, a device that protects a car's paint from spills when one fills the gas tank.

McNaughton invents about 80 percent of the products himself and markets items from other inventors. "Sometimes we license them, sometimes we manufacture the products or we just distribute them," McNaughton said.

The invention he is most proud of is a special buckle that prevents children from taking their seat belts off in the car. "It is nice to know that you make something that keeps children safe," he said.
McNaughton also has a personal reason for liking the device. He and his wife had twins last November and they plan to use that buckle when their children grow old enough.

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