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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Next in the tank is a productivity tool for working from home.

I’m Steve Skillings from New England, the CEO of BusyBox, and we’re here seeking $200,000 for 15% of the company. Sharks, are you tired of accidental interruptions ruining your meetings and your focus?

“Hey Steve, you busy?” “Oh yeah, I’m in a meeting. Sorry, not now.” “What was I saying? Meeting. Focus. Oh, meeting. Focus.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, my house turned into a four-person work-from-home space, and accidental interruptions were a constant problem. Being an inventor type, I set out to fix it. That’s why we invented BusyBox—the first status sign made for work-from-home professionals. To use it, you simply mount it on your door, connect it to our app, and you can change the lighting and brightness.

“All right, I want to get your feedback, Matt. First on that BusyBox.”

“Yeah, I mean, I like the name, actually. It’s highly suggestive of what the product does. You know, I see a lot of really crappy names on Shark Tank for products and services, but BusyBox is a pretty good name. It’s catchy, with that alliteration. Busy Box. Yeah, like, I said, it’s highly suggestive of what the product actually does. Once you hear what the product is, you’re like, ‘Oh, I get it. He’s busy, right in his little box, like, it’s a Busy Box.’ So, I like the name. It’s registered, so they did a good job with that. What about the patent side of things?”

“Patent-wise, it was patent-pending at the time of the presentation, and I could not find a patent granted. They likely ran into some major issues on 101 eligibility. It’s a method for organizing human activity. It’s unlikely a method because boxes like that exist, right? Lights, letters, and numbers, even battery-operated, that aren’t necessarily requiring a hard wire. It’s not novel, so they probably had to go after some method and made it specific to work-from-home environments. Personally, it’s not eligible because it’s abstract; it’s more just organization of what’s already happening. That’s likely what happened with them. And then that price point was way high in sales. I want to get your opinion on that product and maybe what stood out to you.”

“I agree; the price point seems really high. I think it could be interesting for someone as a gift, but it’s hard for me to imagine it really taking off at that price point. Someone who works from home like me, with kids and my wife outside the office, it would be nice. That’s kind of a cool device. It’s a nice novelty, but I’d pay 50 bucks for it, max. None of the Sharks bit, so they walked away without an investment. They were worried that the two guys they did present sort of this additional version that would kind of allude to workplace productivity and try to enhance the way that people are working. You know, so you wouldn’t knock on doors and that type of thing and be more productive, but that didn’t really solve very well because it was just about communicating whether you’re available or not. So they were like the adult version of putting a sock on the door when you’re in college. Is that what this is?”

“Well, that’s a different type of work and that’s for a different type of thing. I think, I mean, busy is definitely the overall theme, but you’re right; that would be a much more cost-effective approach.”

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at