The Story of the HeartMark Invention and Patent
I am an inventor. I have several US Patents, trademarks, and copyrights. If you would like to read about the development process of one of my inventions—the heart hand patent which I call the HeartMark, read below.
The HeartMark Invention is a combination of inspiration, hard work, a systematic approach to invention, years of research, lots of testing and design, and a clever creative positive solution to weaknesses in my abilities. In fact, at every step of my invention process, the solution is a (hyper) creative attempt to make up for other weaknesses of mine. The students who will read this story will see how just one of my many inventions developed. However, this invention and patent has led me to invent many related products, so if you keep reading, you will hear about some of them as well.
Actually, the HeartMark patent that captures the HeartMark invention is partially the beautiful sum of all Jewish values and wisdom, passed down from generations. It was captured by my genius lawyer’s poetic and brilliant understanding of what I was trying to achieve.
The invention is also the answer and sum result of years of positive values and a wonderful education from my teachers through the years and most of all—from my parents.
Loving Hearts from a young age:
I loved hearts since I can remember myself. I knew how to cut hearts with my fingers out of anything available like gum wrap. I was determined to draw or cut enough hearts for every person in the world, which I knew is a lot of people. There is a chance that I really did do that, and if not, I’ll catch up soon.
Growing up in Israel, I was taught that we will some day have peace. I watched television shows from stations from the surrounding Arab countries. I was sure that if we could all watch the same television shows, and if the shows could be about peace, then we would all want the same kind of peace. This is something I kept in the back of my mind until college.
I thought a lot about hearts through the years, because it was the only thing that I knew how to draw. I’ll write more about that later.
My inventor’s background:
I had been inventing since I was young. When I was about 5, I invented and built a toy boat that uses rubber bands to wind and then let go… This is just one of many inventions from those years. I had a rule that I couldn’t take anything but paper, scissors, and a pen on trips. I had to make my own games on the road. So I always invented card games as a kid.
My mom repeatedly pointed out silly little toys that people liked to buy, so I wanted to be invent and sell cute little toys. I paid extra attention to marketing tactics. My mom pointed out shirts that have brands on them. (My mom thought it reduced the value of the shirt.) Eventually, I realized people pay more just to have the name on the shirt, so I wanted to create a brand that people will want to wear. I invented through those years many products that made it on my lists of ideas to some day manufacture. Some of them have since been made by others. Some I pitched and I am positive that the people and companies I pitched it to took them from me. Others are still on my wish list to manufacture some day. I think of my ideas like real estate—something that my children can also inherit and work on-if they’ll still be relevant.
One of the ideas that I always had was a world that is completely made of hearts. I couldn’t understand why no one made cartoons with heart noses, heart ears, heart mouths… And this is before there were any that used even one such heart shaped body part. By the time I graduated college, no one had still made a world made of hearts. I was filled with convictions that I could create world peace by reaching out to children. Creating a world of hearts that I could communicate all my values through was something that I really wanted to do and no one else had done, so I could still do it. I had no contacts in any relevant industry and no knowledge in any related field to make that happen. But I knew that I had to take the idea as far as I could on my own before I could pitch it to some company.
At first, I practiced drawing a variety of facial features made of hearts, in a variety of combinations. This was a very conscious, “left brain” decision. After I thoroughly and systematically developed every variation imaginable, I proceeded to practice body parts made of hearts. (At the same time, I kept a journal about Planet Heart, inventing stories, thoughts, analyzing my creativity, listening to myself and to my drawings to let the story write itself.)
I was never one of those students in the class that others thought could draw, but I did love hearts. I knew how to draw hearts. I kept telling myself that I couldn’t possibly go wrong if I just combined hearts. How could anyone judge them negatively? I encouraged myself that if I drew enough, I would develop a drawing style, and that eventually I would have a confident method in my own style.
As I approached having to draw the characters’ hands made of hearts, I ran into a problem—I didn’t know how to draw hands and what the hands should do. But I didn’t hesitate to solve it—as soon as I drew the hands, I knew they should make a heart. I had already known that hands can make a heart. It’s just something that I knew, but I hadn’t been doing. I paused just to test it on my hands. Then I drew it, and it was so much easier than trying to figure out what hands should do, and it was so logical and perfect. It expressed everything that I hoped it would all in one perfect gesture. I knew this was an instant trademark for my characters. I wrote next to the character that first did this gesture, ‘The power is inside you—the power of infinite goodness.” I was still living in my college apartment then. It was 1996.
I had already read about patent and trademark law. From the start, I knew this was going to be the trademark gesture. At the time, everybody was talking about the guy who earned a lot selling the rights to “Wazzup” so I wanted to license my heart hand gesture to commercials as well. But I wanted to first make my cartoon characters famous from it. I had to develop my characters fully so I could publish them as a book and a tv show and a movie… I wrote episodes for several age groups and several mediums. Everything surrounded the HeartMark heart hand gesture. I made the HeartMark a part of every episode, and the main character kept doing that in my mind.
I really wanted to patent my inventions, but I couldn’t understand how a cartoon character could be patented, since it’s a flat 2d design which is limited to copyright protection. My genius lawyer didn’t think I could patent it. I had consulted with three law firms before him. The problem was that it was all a cartoon in my mind in those years.
Without a patent, I tried to secure the idea in other ways. I tried to make my heart characters unique around the idea of the HeartMark and the concept of a world made only of hearts–to make the package as strong legally as possible. I wrote a lot of stories and poems about “affirmation of the self” using the heart hand gesture. I must have written 10 versions of self-affirming books to inspire others that they are beautiful and wonderful just the way they are, just using the HeartMark and my main character. I also wrote stories about how my main character and other characters on Planet Heart use the gesture to make friends. I researched a name for the gesture. I came up with the name HeartMark. And then I wrote lots of poems, finger and hand rhymes with choreography for the HeartMark. I hoped that the stories and poems would help make the heartmark more marketable—more like a product that I can package. And I wanted it to be only associated with my characters before I can license the gesture to Robocop and Barbie, which were the main toys for boys and girls in those years. (I invented the HeartMark before Dora was invented and before Strawberry Shortcake made a comeback!) I also wrote a lot about nutrition and used the HeartMark to help people want to be healthy–to teach people to accept and love themselves and to teach them to focus inwardly. I wrote a lot about different ways that people can teach themselves through self-hypnosis to enjoy healthy food. I had a strong need to teach people to be healthy and happy in every way. Lovelle, my main character (and alter ego), spoke for me with the heart hand gesture, as the ambasssador of all my wishes for the world.
As the years went by, I tried to earn from other ideas in the meantime. I had been to expensive lawyers who charged me too much and I ran out of money. They all said I needed to protect each image of each cartoon character in each trademark class separately, for each product category. So an image of the 1 character on a book would be different from its image on a shirt. It was around $230 per application. I couldn’t afford that much protection. Also, I wasn’t sure if it was the best protection–I had a huge amount of character combinations and I knew how easy it is to create a new line with the same concept, because I made lots of lines on my own. But the lawyers also said that I just needed to publish a book and I would have instant protection on the images in the books. I am not sure anymore how right their advice was, but based on that advice, I decided to find another invention that would help me finance all the protections necessary for Planet Heart. (Also, I started making mock books with way too many characters in them. This was also expensive, and another story.)
To try to earn on the side, I invented what I thought was a catchy trademark for a concept of showing people appreciation spontaneously. I created the PS NOTES—really cute notes for handing to people that you just met, for spontaneous appreciation™. This concept has finally recently been completed with another invention of mine—because I’ve spent years trying to combine ideas. (It is also protected by the HeartMark patent!) Combining ideas is my favorite part about inventing.
In 1998, I was just selling simple notes, with only my power of infinite goodness symbol™ on them. I also made a special seal of the Power of Infinite Goodness, and t-shirts, and I sold a few on the national mall. I really didn’t sell enough to finance the next plan, but I did sell enough to protect those ideas legally, which is also great.
I kept searching for one idea of all my ideas that could be cheap to manufacture, like a paper product. It seemed like paper products can be sold for more than half of the cost of manufacture. It seemed like a long term plan, but I was not afraid of hard work. I wanted to earn enough from that to go on to the next idea. I kept drawing my ideas in an order of how best to launch and connect each one. I wanted to earn enough from other ideas so I could afford to publish and manufacture the books from Planet Heart and submit all the trademark applications so that I could make a TV show some day.
My motto, that I thought of years before when I had invented Lovelle was, “The bigger you dream, the bigger you allow others to dream.™” I knew my own goals were incredibly ambitious, but I felt that I was a good example for others. I had to make it all work, despite the challenges, to open the doors for others, too. I dreamed that I taught people how to fly every single night for many years. I really did manage to teach people to fly in my dreams. It was an incredible feeling. I taught people how to fly by teaching them to feel really great and confident and happy in a very particular way. In the dreams, the right combination of great feelings was the perfect formula and I’d wake up and it would seem so almost tangible like I could almost write down the exact combination and it would work and people would fly. I felt that my cartoon characters were the best way that I could teach others how to be happy and accept and love themselves, others, and the environment. The cartoon characters were the voice that I really needed to use to inspire everyone else. So I couldn’t give up.
This story is mainly about the invention process. Part of the process includes the obstacles. The financial challenges definitely made this process take a lot longer. I was so afraid that I couldn’t protect my cartoon characters that I kept them hidden. I worked alone, in an apartment all day. I would get up at any hour to write so that I wouldn’t lose the ideas. I had tissue boxes near my bed with notes. I would draw or write for hours and only get out to exercise when I just had no choice. When I did get out, I’d meet wonderful inspiring people. I was always overwhelmed by how amazing they were. I would come back with even more motivation to stay in…and create.
Everyone seemed amazing. If I dared enter a grocery store, I’d be stuck talking to people without trying, which would make me come home late. Also incredibly inspiring was the show NPR. I drew daily while listening to NPR. I felt that I was connecting to the people on the show, connecting to nature, and drawing characters that connect to everyone and everything as well. Drawings in color would take a very long time. Around that time, I began to draw heartflowers that have half heart hands coming out of them in order to connect to the half heart hands of the wonderful gardener Lovelle who takes care of them, and to connect to other heart flowers.
My idea of the heart hand gesture is a combination of my weakness for drawing and my strength for my love of hearts and for finding positive solutions. It also reflected my general outlook and optimism, which are strengths.
My idea for the patent of the HeartMark was also a combination of my weaknesses and my strengths. So even though I had my characters make the heart hand gesture, I couldn’t understand for years how that can be a tangible product. I just didn’t see it right away. Luckily, because I couldn’t draw and I didn’t have fancy computer programs or skills, I used my ingenuity in a way no one else had ever done—I photocopied each doodle, without ever cleaning it up, then I colored the doodle, made a another photocopy, filed the originals in organized notebooks with dates, cut out the photocopy, laminated it so it won’t get ruined, and cut out the laminate. The whole process was incredibly methodical and painstaking. I did this for many crazy reasons. First, I didn’t trust that I could ever reproduce any of my ideas. I was right. After the “moment” is gone, I can’t redraw quite the same expression on a character. I used to think that was critical. Also, I had no idea how to draw a background for the characters of flowers. I liked that I could put them onto other backgrounds. And I didn’t have to redraw them in order to do that. I didn’t realize a computer could do that easily.
As a result of photocopying the black and white sketch, the paper that I colored on was not the typical paper that others used to color on. My images came out brighter. Then I used to laminate the image and photocopy that. The lamination made the image even brighter. I have kept the unique paper that used a secret all these years. I even wanted to market that as special coloring paper. I have been waiting for my designs to be more famous before I can market this special coloring paper. So this is an example of another invention by chance.
Furthermore, because I knew that I would photocopy and cut out the image, I allowed myself to write the inspiration of the moment on the paper. This fed into the stories. My inability to draw on a computer and my creative method helped me make up the stories about the characters by analyzing those spontaneous reactions. I never studied other cartoons. I never even watched other children’s shows. I just created from within, based on my own inner wishes.
The minute I would cut out the character, I would put it on different surfaces. I had no computer skills, so putting the character on different colored backgrounds gave it that flexibility for using it like it’s part of a story board. And in doing so, I’d get new ideas. Thanks to that lengthy ridiculous methodical process, I’d get new ideas every second. I could see the characters belonged on a balloon, or a bedsheet, for example. But more importantly, holding them in my hand in this way helped me get more ideas, write stories for them, and animate them in my mind. They really didn’t get animated on their own in my mind. In fact, they were stubborn and stable and flat. I begged them to speak to me, but they stayed flat. I would stare at how they came out, analyze their appearance, and actively use the descriptions in order to give them personality traits and then use those in stories right away. I have to say that even as a child, I didn’t speak to my dolls because I knew even at age three, that dolls can’t speak. I had a very difficult time pulling out life from my images. It was a very methodical process of releasing the creative side to doodle, analyzing the doodles with the left logical brain, and then purposely putting these self-affirming usually explanations into the stories to make the characters who they are.
And as I wrote these stories, some other invention would come out, and then I’d use that back as an added invention to the story.
This is how I invented the instant hug button. ™ I kept drawing a heart within a heart around the belly button area. I had no idea why. So I asked myself why would all my flowers have a heart within a heart in their belly button area. And the answer jumped out instantly—the heart inside the heart look exactly like a button that when you press it—the flower gives you a hug. So then I wrote some poems about the Instant Hug Button.
It took years to see the flat images that hold the heart hand gesture as something other than flat images. It just dawned on me one day as I held them in my hands that they would actually be toys some day, after they are a tv show. I used to just focus on story books and tv. I just didn’t realize that these flat drawings would turn into a toy after the tv show. Once I realized they could turn into a toy, I realized that I could license the heart hand gesture to Dora and Robocop or the Transformers and Barbie. I could really make world peace through toys! (I had been motivated to bring about world peace since college… My insight was that I need to create a toy line that will make children around the world bong around the desire to love and respect all people. I thought that if everyone could just watch the same show with the same values, then they would grow up into peaceful adults.)
I called my lawyer and explained this to him. Once I mentioned toys, he realized this was patentable, too. He was even smarter than me. I had no idea how it could be patentable. I just said that I wanted only my toys from Planet heart, or the toys that I would license to be able to do this heart hand gesture—so that I could reflect my wish for world peace. He called the heart that’s created by the hands a third entity. I wanted to keep other body parts in the patent. I didn’t want to limit it to just hands, because I had drawn characters with ears and noses that make hearts. I also knew that with my own body, I could use my legs to make hearts—not just hands. In addition, I knew that images other than hearts are also possible.
In my stories, my characters had been dancing (in my imagination) something similar to the Israeli folk dancing, except they would hold their hands in the heart hand position as they moved in a circle. I wondered if I could have children imitate the heartmark dancing in birthday parties after the television show would be famous. I had a vision of HeartMark Hora and original Planet Heart Folk dancing. At that point, I think I had already named different basic heartmark positions and movements. I wrote that the characters performed the HeartMark dance in celebration of the rain and in some other stories in which they had parties. It was all done in my imagination. I didn’t have children or a husband to try the dancing out in real life! It took years before this was truly tested in 3d! And it worked! And people did it! Grown-ups, too! But this is for another story.
I wrote most of the patent myself, but I left the claims and some language for my lawyer to write. My lawyer’s writing skills and the way he put thoughts showed his own philosophical and poetic gifts. I also believe that the concept of the third entity that he came up with is the kind of thinking that’s rooted in the Bible.
Together with my genius lawyer (I highly recommend Jeff Weiss of WeissIPLaw.com), we made the patent very strong, to include people. The patent turned out great. We even met with the head examiner at the patent and trademark office, and because he approved it, it made the patent even stronger!
New Inventions Followed from the same Patent! :
The inventions that followed, after I got the patent—in trying to build and design it, continue until today. It took many years for me to realize that the half hearts that I was drawing as extensions coming out of designs could also be like “bites” coming out of designs. And I only found a method and a process of just using hallowed out half images this summer. This is pretty incredible to me. The invention process doesn’t end. I don’t just stop at one idea. I can reinvent my own wheel infinitely. I am amazed by this. I also wish I could have thought of things sooner, but it just doesn’t happen like that. Each breakthrough moment happens once every few years for me. It often happens in my dream or in the shower.
My ability to see the same designs from new angles leads to new inventions as well. Even though I try actively to see a certain image from every angle, …I don’t always manage it. For example, I invented my new main HeartBite Sponap™ Eagle in 2004. But I didn’t see it as the top of a container until about a year ago. I also didn’t see that I could make it hollow until a couple of months ago.
It is important to always have your mind open. It is critical to do things on your own. You need to actually build and design the invention. You cannot develop it and improve it until you do it on your own. That step must never get taken out, no matter how wealthy you are. If the idea is in your head and you pay someone to just build it, you lose the chances to improve it. It is also critical to be organized. You have to have a method and a system for doing things. At best, you can patent ‘the method and system of doing” your invention. However, this method can always be improved on. So try to improve your own invention. You have to research how to manufacture it in order to do that. Only the manufacturers know the prices and challenges. The manufacturers want to cut costs and make things practical. Unless you manufacture something, or call around to do that, you will not be able to have the best version of your invention. Someone else could go around it. It is best to research the method of manufacturing before you submit the patent. You really don’t want to pitch it and then find out that it can be done more easily by those who know how to manufacture objects in that field.
It is really important to document all things. It is critical to record, to make people sign non-disclosure forms and to promise not to tell anyone. And you should really read patent books and get patent advice from several lawyers. I think that I had spoken to 5 different law firms about one topic and I received at least 3 different opinions.
I would love to write so much more. There is so much more to the method of inventing every part of Planet Heart: The amount of ideas that I used to collect daily, the moments in which ideas came together, the moments in which I criticized my drawings and turned the criticisms into affirmations, the moments of struggles to convince my family that I am using my education in the best way, the moments that I pitched, the people I met along the way, the advice that led me in the wrong direction, the advice that did work, the huge amount of research of every potential lead, my attempts to license my work and to put it in commerce, the ridiculous amounts of technical obstacles with endless computer and camera problems—will these ever end?. Some day I will try to illuminate all of these matters so that other inventors will benefit.
In the meantime, I can proudly declare that I invented the gesture in which hands create a heart. I patented it. I trademarked it. And because of my passion and dedication to bring about world peace, people are now using their hands all over the world to express peace, love, respect, and appreciation just as I envisioned. Legally, in addition to the protection of the patent, no one is allowed to use this hand gesture as a trademark for advertising, in commercials, as their trademark gesture for entertainment, or to sell products. Also, no one can make toys or room décor that connect to make a heart or any other image between them (because of the patent.) The gesture is also mine through trademark protection as a trademark for jewelry, fitness classes, inspirational books and other publishing, cartoons, dolls and other products. (I have been selling products in a variety of heartmark hand positions with the TM symbol on them.) I have also been selling heartmarking dolls recently with the TM on the heart hand connection. So I am protected in the trademark category of toys and plush, and I can license it in all these categories and others. When companies will license this patent and trademark from me, I will be able to donate money to programs that encourage the values that I set out to improve in the world.
If people use this hand gesture for themselves, but forget the values that it stands for, I would like them to remember the good values. I would like people to remember to take time out, to inhale and exhale fully and let out any stale air. I want them to renew their body with positive thoughts and productive thinking. I want them to think of how to do something positive for themselves and for others. The heartmark is about focusing inwardly and out, connecting to the inner self and to others. The goal is to connect through love. I want people to accept themselves in self-affirming words. They should focus on finding actions that bring inner and outer peace.
I really don’t want my heartmark to be used without giving people an extra moment to breathe in and exhale and take time out so that they can do things mindfully and be kind to themselves and others.
If people need some reminders, they can buy some of my products. They can surround themselves with positive energy. For example, room decor protected by my patent will actually create a very positive environment through out the room. My designs for Heart Mandalas, my heart flowers, and all the products bearing my designs are intended to put a smile. I believe positive energy is always welcome in everyone’s lives.
Please contact me if you would like to learn more about inventing. I would love to come to your school to talk about the process to inspire others!