Dale Davis - President
Intellectual Property Consultant
Author, Entreprenur, Graphic Artist
Web Designer, 3-D Artist
As the founder and president of Quest International, Inc. I believe that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. I started Quest International, Inc. to assist creative entrepreneurs and inventors and because I have taken products to the market myself, I believe that I understand the needs and challenge creative business people face. I not only offer my own skills but also the lessons of the many clients that I've helped throughout the years.
I also have extensive experience in engineering and industrial design and have worked with many large oil companies and manufacturing firms. I've also gained experience in the staffing industry and I have placed several thousand people in career positions by helping them market themselves better.
I have written and received patents, trademarks, and copyrights. I've written ten books, and received grants from the Department of Energy and Department of Defense. I've accomplished so much, but I still have so much more to do. Most importantly, I enjoy helping other entrepreneurs succeed.
I have patented and internationally licensed my own products, created a business as an intellectual property consultant, and I'm responsible for hundreds of patents issued to my clients. I've produced seminars on product development, designed fire protection products for the Department of Defense and created educational material for the Department of Energy on creativity.
I believe that you have to learn, so you can teach, and you have to become successful, so you can help others. It's also important to me to be adventurous and travel whenever I can. I've traveled to Rome, London, Paris, and Belfast. I've been from coast to coast in the United States. I've also flown planes, raced cars, and been in a movie, and on television and the radio many times over. Life is an adventure. Don't let it pass you by.
Some of my Publications and Presentations:
2016 The Wizard Within, Quest Publishing, Philosophy
2012 The Weekend Entrepreneur, Cafe Press, Business
2008 Starting A Successful Business, Self Counsel Press, Business
2005 Take Your Invention To Market, Self Counsel Press, Marketing
2004 Back to Work, America House, Self Help
2001 The Wizards Apprentice, America House, Fantasy
1997 Peoples Republic of China Patent for Anti-Reverse System
1996 Canadian Patent for Anti-Reverse System
1996 U.S. Patent for Anti-Reverse System
1996 Televised CNBC Presentation, Minding Your Business
1996 Develop Your Creative Ideas, 2nd Edition, Oasis Press
1996 Temporary Opportunities, The Jobs Newspaper
1992 Design Efficiency Program, National Technical Information Service
1991 Department of Energy (DOE) Comprehensive Design Efficiency Program, DOE
1991 How to Develop and Market Creative Business Ideas, Oasis Press
1989 Patents and Innovation, Tulsa Economic Development Center, Tulsa, OK
1989 Patents, Trademarks, Licensing, and Copyrights, Inventor's Workshop.
1987 The Inventors Guide, Quest Publishing, Self-Help
1986 PCT Patent for Double Envelope Chamber System
1985 Patent for Double Envelope Chamber System
Virginia Polytechnic State University, Commercialization Training, 1990
Design for Manufacturing and Assembly, Boothroyd and Dewhurst, 1989 and 1990
Patent Agent Training, Head, Johnson, & Stevenson, 1985
Platt College, Degree in Computer Aided Design; 1984
Rogers State University, Business Administration; 1976
Tulsa Community College, Industrial Design/Engineering; 1975
Who's Who among Executives & Professionals, 2009-2010
Who's Who in the World, 1996-1997
Who's Who in America, 1995-1996
Who's Who in Science and Engineering, 1994-1995
Who's Who Among Young American Professionals, 1993-1994
Who's Who of Emerging Leaders in America, 1992-1993
Oklahoma Writers Association, 1990-2017
Fields of Specialization:
Computer Aided Design
Intellectual Property Protection
Web Site Design and Development
THE FIRE GUARDIAN STORY
I think I officially became entrepreneur in 1985. That was the year I signed an international licensing agreement to license the “Fire Guardian”, a heat activated fire extinguisher for the home market. My road to becoming an entrepreneur had started about five years earlier, when working in the commercial fire protection business, I discovered that water caused as much damage as the fire in commercial automatic sprinkler systems used in industry. I also discovered that there were no home fire protection systems available.
Seeing a problem I thought I could fix was my first step in becoming an entrepreneur. I began to experiment and developed a self-contained system for homes. I developed a number of prototypes and tested them. I tested units with Water, Light Water, Dry Powder and Halon.
Halon was the most expensive to use but was also the most effective. Besides being expensive, Halon offered the additional problem of being toxic in high quantities. Further research also showed me that most home fires started in high hazard areas of the home such as the furnace closet, or kitchen, so I decided to develop a system that could be utilized in these areas and would still protect against 80% of home fires.
In the trial and error process of beginning a new business it can be very helpful to take notes and to organize your information in a notebook or computer file. I found the notes taken years ago still come in useful. My notes became volumes of material on topics like Marketing, Finance, Licensing, etc. Later they same note became a book.
Networking can also be useful in starting a new business. When I began to seriously think about selling a new product, I joined a local inventors group. The group was a mixed blessing I discovered. On the one hand, there was some useful information. On the other hand there were a lot of bitter inventors and failed businessmen who saw the group as a place to come and complain. There was also a lot of bad information given based upon other entrepreneur’s mistakes.
The good news is that the inventors group allowed me a place to show my product and to learn a little about presentation and how to better answer the questions that were asked about the product. Some people loved the product and other hated it and told be I didn’t have a chance. So, like I said, a mixed blessing.
Every city has lots of entrepreneur groups, inventor groups, and small business networking groups and they can be an excellent place for the beginner to practice making presentations and leaning from other small business entrepreneurs. Networking is still the backbone of good business.
For me, I think the most important aspect of going the inventors group was the discovery that I enjoyed helping other inventors. I also discovered that by helping other inventors and entrepreneurs I was helping myself learn more. This actually led me to another part-time business venture. I began developing prototypes and creating marketing plans to assist other inventors. As an entrepreneur I saw a need and was able to fill the need.
It was during this time that I met another inventor that enjoyed building prototypes and marketing new products. We formed a partnership to assist other inventors in taking their products to market. It started out small and that gave me an opportunity to learn about starting a business with a partner. I also discovered that inventor assistance groups din not have a good reputation. I had to learn to deal with preconceived ideas and bad press from scam companies that also looked to inventors as clients.
It was during this time frame that my business partner had some success in licensing his product. I got to see first hand what success could do for someone, or in this case what success could do to someone. My business partner had been given over $500,000 in up front money and was told that it was the tip of the ice burg in the money that he would soon receive.
Within a six month time period, with the help of questionable friends, a shady attorney, and three ex-wives, he went from successful entrepreneur to being broke and hiding from bill collectors. His product had not had the effect in the market place that everyone though it would. He had spent most of his money gambling in Vegas and the rest on other business ventures that failed.
He had not saved a penny believing that more money was on the way. I came in to the office one day to discover that my partner and the company bank account had disappeared without a trace.
Even though this business venture was short lived there was one important bright spot that helped launch my own success. I was at the office working one day when a reporter came in to do a story on my partner. He had still not shown up at the office, so I talked with the reporter about what I was working on. I could tell the reporter was disappointed to miss the real story, but he still had at story to write and space to fill in the newspaper, so I got my first newspaper story. My thinking at that time and even now is never miss an opportunity to market yourself or your product or service.
Soon after the article came out, inventors started calling me from a four-state region to see if I could help them with marketing their products. I had discovered a large un-taped market that needed service. I discovered that there was a larger need than I realized for helping other inventors and that need was not being met. One newspaper story brought it all to my door. I learned the power of seeing an opportunity and grasping it. I also learned the power of a newspaper story.
Since my business partner was now gone I decided it was time to start over again and I started my own company and called It Quest International. But, funds were limited at that time so I moved the company to my home office to save money and worked with inventors at night and weekends while working fulltime to continue building my main business which was developing fire protection equipment.
While working with other inventors during weekends and nights and assisting there needs, I also learned how to better develop and market my own products. I came to a point where I could produce my Fire Guardian and sold it out of my garage. I knew I could produce a better product, but did not have the funds to properly promote or patent the product yet.
It was during this time that I also became a friend with a patent agent who I sent inventors too. She knew I enjoyed helping others and that I didn’t have much money, so she offered to teach me how to write my own patent. We used my Fire Guardian as the first example to learn from.
After writing my first patent application and filing it, she told me I had a talent for writing and that she would like for me to replace her when she retired. So thinking this might be a great fallback position I learned as much as I could about whiting patents. I knew that this would also be very marketable with the inventors I worked with. Unfortunately, when she retired, the patent law firm decided not to replace her and that stopped my chance to become a patent agent with that firm. At least I had a patent application filed and pending.
At least I had a patent filed for the Fire Guardian so I focused on the marketing and financing of the product. After researching the best methods of fire fighting, I discovered a new chemical by accident, or should I say that it discovered me. It seems that the newspaper story that had been written while I was making a go of it with my now vanished partner had gotten to Houston.
I got a call one day from a sales rep who, had gotten on a plane in Houston coming back to Tulsa. He had picked up a newspaper sitting on his seat and had read about me making a product called the Fire Guardian. He sold a chemical similar to Halon, but it wasn’t toxic or expensive like Halon.
He had kept the article with him and decided to look me up to see if I was competing with him in his business. I believe that once he saw that I was working out of my home office that he had nothing to worry about. After a short meeting he determined that he was with a large international company and I was no more than a local entrepreneur. The only thing I got out of the meeting was a small brochure of this new chemical.
After reading the brochure I noticed that the company head quarters were in the Isle of Mann, A small island near England, so I wrote a letter to introduce myself and to tell them about the Fire Guardian. I thought to myself, what could it hurt.
In the letter I proposed that I could help them by offering a delivery system to help them sell their product. I would in turn allow them to use my Fire Guardian in Europe, if I could have the right to use their product in the U.S. I figured I would get a “no thanks” letter, but at least I would have given it a try.
About six weeks later, there was a knock on the door one Sunday afternoon. When I opened the door there was an Englishman holding my letter and asking if we could talk further about my Fire Guardian. When the meeting was over, he had committed $75,000 to develop tooling for the Fire Guardian and I had the rights to their product, providing I worked with their U.S. office. A short time later I became the Director of International Marketing promoting their products and my own. The pay was not greatest but I had a title and resources that I thought would help me get the Fire Guardian to market.
With the tools available to me from the new position and with my new partners I discovered government grant opportunities and applied for and received a government grant from the Department of Defense to design fire safety equipment for the Military. This gave me more experience and credentials that I could later use.
Once tooling was completed for the Fire Guardian I went to the next step of licensing my product internationally. With the additional resources of the chemical company and product in hand I finally made connections with a Dallas holding company that was interested in licensing my product and the new chemical. The combination of products gave us more leverage and a broader market.
After months of negotiations, they committed to investing $500,000 on marketing the Fire Guardian and the chemical used to extinguish fires. They also paid $50,000 in up front money. The 28-page contract stated that I would receive a minimum of $237,000 in royalties per year, once the product was on the market.
But, I was told to expect millions as the product was going to go worldwide.
In order for the Dallas holding company to market internationally, they decided to sub-license with an Italian businessman who would take the company public on the Vancouver Stock Exchange (VSE). Canada at that time offered attractive incentives to manufacture parts in Canada and ship them back to the U.S.
This is where the problems began. The Italian businessman did an excellent job of taking the company public and raised 18 million dollars on the VSE I was told. But the problems began when the Dallas holding company discovered that international law limited their control over the Italian businessman. They soon discovered that the money made in Canada was not making it back to the U.S. operations as agreed.
The Dallas holding company furthermore discovered that in order to file a lawsuit against the Italian businessman, they would have to move to Canada and live there for six months before they could file a civil suit against the businessman. At this time I also discoverer that I would have to move to Canada in order file suit to get the rights back to my Fire Guardian.
It was then also discovered that the Italian businessman had anticipated the lawsuit and set up a number of paper corporations in order to make it difficult to sue him. Paper companies are fake corporations with similar names, bad addresses, and etc. designed to confuse people serving legal papers on a company. It can cause months of delays.
I later discovered that I could not re-license my product to another company since I had a contract already licensing it. I discovered that it would not have mattered what country it had happen in. The international laws were the same most everywhere.
On interesting side note, however was that by using my trademarked name “Fire Guardian” on the VSE stock listing that they had actually broken an international law that could be fought from the U.S. After informing the VSE about trademark infringements the Italian businessman was given a $100,000 fine by the VSE. The Trademark became more powerful than a Patent in International Law respects.
Success doesn’t always come from where you expect. It can come from the oddest angles. Even though I never received royalties from my first product, my invention taught me how to write patents, that I still write today. It taught me how to work with the government to receive grants, which helped me obtain more grants. It even led me to my writing career, and many books later, I’m still learning and writing about the nature of business and success.
You may be wondering why you should go into business for yourself when there are so many things that can go wrong. I believe that it’s because business is an adventure that can take you to new heights you never imagined you could reach. I’ve been knocked down more than once and I always get up again and again to see just how far I can go. At the end of the day I still feel successful, and that success has allowed me to help other entrepreneurs become successful as well.
I should also note that in my future licensing and contract negotiations I was able to use this past knowledge in creating a stronger business success. The lessons learned early on in business are sometimes the most important lessons we carry with us.