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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Next up is a convenient way to bring more clarity into your life.

Hi, sharks. I’m Mark Singer. And I’m Kenza Singer. We’re a father-and-son duo from Santa Barbara, and we’re here to ask for $225,000 for a 5% stake in our company, Iris.

Sharks, I have a question for you. What do sugarless ice cream, low-salt turkey bacon, and cheese-free mac and cheese all have in common? They were all bought by mistake because I didn’t have my reading glasses with me at the supermarket. We had to eat all that stuff. People like my parents who need reading glasses know the frustration of not having their readers with them when they need them, but it doesn’t always have to be like that. Actually, I’m wearing my reading glasses right now. With one hand, in one motion, and in one second, Iris reading glasses change from wristwear—oh my, there you go—and back again.

That’s pretty cool.

See, Dad, why don’t you show them one more time? Using our patented Memory Metal Bridge design, Iris reading glasses both spring open and snap shut. How clever is that? Today, Iris has received four International Design Awards, but more importantly, Iris reading glasses are fashionable. Which of you is interested in forming a strategic partnership to share our vision and allow the world to see the power of Iris?

Sharks, in front of you are samples for you to try out for yourself.

Great pitch. [Music]

You know, it’s really clever. Now, I have a very small wrist, and it fits. Do you have a patent on this?

Yes, we have a Utility Patent in the United States, China, Japan, and soon in 26 European countries.

What do you sell them for? What do they cost to make?

They cost us $30.50 landed in our warehouse, ready to go. We sell them for $110 online, including free shipping.

Are you an inventor?

Yes, for me, it was a need-based product. As I got older, I needed reading glasses more and more, and they were never with me when I needed them. I thought the solution was to buy a dozen pairs and put them everywhere, but I still didn’t have them when I needed them. Fortunately, my son had an eye on me and came up with this.

Are you an engineer?

Yes, I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Structural Engineering from Cornell.

How did you come up with the idea?

I was working as a structural engineer and designed everything from skyscrapers to soccer stadiums. I realized that the physics at the scale of a skyscraper also apply to something as small as a pair of reading glasses. I applied what I knew to come up with this mechanism that’s stable both open and closed. We spent a weekend in his woodshop prototyping it and figured it out. Once we had a working prototype, I quit my engineering job to do this full-time.

That guy right there is legendary. Did you know that Mark Singer is the inventor of Gorilla Glue?

Really? The older guy or the younger guy?

The older guy. It’s a father-son duo.

That’s pretty cool. I did some digging. They had an incredible pitch. I’ve never heard of it, but at the end, all five sharks got together and pooled their money to get 25%, so each got 5% equity. As of 2023, the deal hadn’t been inked yet, but they are still selling a lot. They currently have their own website, Iris.

So, it’s full reading glasses that you wear on your wrist?

Yes, and it’s hard to find areas to critique. I did pull up their patent. It was really well done. The attorney deserves props. Let’s look at the claims—they use the term “bi-stable.” It’s a wearable item that transitions between stable open and closed configurations. They didn’t specifically say eyeglasses, which is smart because it leaves the option open for other uses.

So, it’s mechanical, with a mechanism and a pair of frame members connected and separated, with a spring and a compression strut for holding them open and closed. They kept it generic, which is excellent for patent protection. They also have their website up, showing it in action. Their sales are impressive, aiming for seven figures next year.

However, they only have one patent. While they are getting patents worldwide, having just one can be limiting if there’s a designer around who can modify it slightly. Copycats have appeared on Amazon, looking like cheap knockoffs. They might have benefited from additional patents to cover variations.

Do you think it snaps onto your face? Like a slap bracelet?

Exactly, it’s like those slap bracelets we used to play with.

Let’s move on. They have a trademark registration for the product itself. They should consider filing an online retail store application too. Their initial application in 2016 was abandoned, and they filed a new one later, which extended their intent to use application for three years before they went to market in 2021. Their patent and trademark are professionally done, showing someone was on top of it. Cool name, Iris—suggestive of eyes and wrist.

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