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TIA: Tennessee Inventors Association in Knoxville Tenn and Oak Ridge TN
Oak Ridge and Knoxville, TN  

November 2012 Elections

Meeting Date: 
November 17, 2012

The agenda for the November 17 TIA meeting included the TIA annual elections. Our featured speaker is J.R. Charles, the owner of Digital Consultants. Digital Consultants is an advertising company JR founded.

JR started his presentation by describing his journey from school to business. While attending The University of Tennessee, he started with computer engineering. He changed to mechanical engineering, then to civil engineering. Finally he progressed to architecture, finance, accounting, marketing, and communications before deciding that college was not for him.

His next step was to start his own business. He drew upon his experience working at Best Buy to be a custom digital electronics installer.

After studying the marketplace, he focused on the words of Wayne Gretsky: "Skate to where the puck is going, not where it is." He decided that digital advertising was where the market was going, and Digital Consultants was born.Digital Consultants of Knoxville

Using flat screen technology connected to a networked computer, JR designed advertising displays. He worked on a free-standing kiosk with a large monitor oriented in portrait mode. He designed a multiple-zone display that presented advertising in an engaging manner.

After tinkering and studying how people interacted with the display, he changed to a landscape display. He designed a three-zone display. Because people naturally view the left side of a screen, that is where he placed the advertising. To the right was the visual content, such as news clips or other videos. At the bottom was advertising and information, such as QR codes.

Digital Consultants has advertising kiosks placed in the Knoxville, Sevierville, and Gatlinburg area.

Election Information

Elections were held during the November meeting. The newly elected officers and board members are:


  • Carl Papa, President
  • Joe Martin, Vice-President
  • Dale Burress, Treasurer
  • Mariano Ruiz, Recording Secretary (through February, at least). Anne Alexeff may assume the Recording Secretary duties in March.
  • Arnold (AJ) Beal, Corresponding Secretary

Board of Directors:

  • Rainer Riffert
  • Gordon Campbell
  • Martin Skinner
  • Holly Shaw


#1 Good morning, On your

Good morning,

On your December 15th meeting is it an open meeting and will you being accepting new membership? I have been in process of developing several ideas/inventions & have several prototypes made but have been very hesitant in working with anyone. I have spoke to Richard Sindel at the Inventors Assistance League a few times, reviewed their information but have not preceded any further. I am familiar with Davidson and their lines and will not deal with them. So when an acquaintance said there is an inventors group I researched and found your information.  Please let me know what is needed and how to join your Association.




Kevin Dittler

#2 Kevin: All TIA meetings are


All TIA meetings are open to the public. Everyone is welcome to come visit. To join the TIA, all that is needed is your contact information and the $30 per year membership fee, which is prorated based on when you join.

Our December 15 meeting is an informal meeting. You are welcome to join us at Perkins Restaurant at 10am. Our January 19 meeting will be a regular meeting at LMU. The program has not yet been finalized for the January meeting.

#3 I invented something, just in

I invented something, just in my mind though. Its not completely new its just an advanced version of something already marketed. I am clueless of what Im supposed yo do from here, and was wondering if it would be a good idea to join you guys on the 15th?

#4 New Inventors

Inventors need to learn a lot about how to protect and market their inventions. Even though the December 15, 2012, gathering is not a traditional meeting, it will allow you to meet other inventors. You can ask questions and learn about local resources. With the change in the patent laws, inventors need to be cautious about telling others about their invention, though. The one year grace period for public use and offers for sale ends in March 2013. It is always advisable to speak to a patent attorney before disclosing an invention.

#5 Where do I get in touch with

Where do I get in touch with a patent attorney?

#6 Finding a patent attorney

To find a patent attorney, Google "Knoxville patent attorney" and look for lawyers or law firms with websites. There are several in the Knoxville area. Patent attorneys and agents are required to have a technical background. It helps to have a patent attorney who has a background in the invention's technology. That is, for an electrical invention it may be better to avoid a patent attorney who is a chemical engineer, although such an attorney would likely be great for chemical related inventions.

Another way to find a patent attorney or agent is to search the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) website. The PTO page Patent Attorneys/Agents Search... allows anyone to find patent attorneys based on name, law firm, and/or location. For example, the PTO website shows that there are 37 patent lawyers/agents in Knoxville, Tennessee.