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A monthly newsletter from the Rochester Professional Consultants Network.

RPCN is More than Networking;
It’s also a Support System

Small Business is a Continuing Challenge.

Solo and small business entrepreneurs require business knowledge, skill, bravery, and persistence through trial and error. It’s often a lonely challenge as we:

  • Start up, identify our clients/customers, and define the value we provide
  • Test different ways to market ourselves, acquire clients, and satisfy them
  • Become successful, then adapt to changing conditions

Small Business Support System

A support system helps smooth the way through our challenges and keep us on track. RPCN’s meetings and events form a support system that provides Learning, Networking and Mutual Support. Prime examples are “Learn from the Best” sessions, Technical Forums, Business Forums, and Marketing Forums.

RPCN’s Unique Support System also provides:

  • Community: Solo consultants and small-business people relate to each other from a common perspective because we’re all in the same boat.
  • Camaraderie: We get to know and trust each other as friends while we combat the isolation of a solo/small business.
  • Caring: We care about and help each other as we navigate our business voyage.

Two RPCN Support System Member Stories:

Value to a Client

A member had difficulty getting traction in her teamwork-training business. So, she interviewed potential customers about her offerings. She learned how at a “Learn from the Best” session. She was surprised to find that her prospects wanted someone to mentor managers on managing teams, along with her training offering. She found success by focusing her Offerings and Marketing Methods on the Value that her mentoring and training could bring to her clients, not what she had ‘imagined’ before conducting potential-customer interviews.


Another member struggled with how much to charge for his services. He was afraid that too-high would scare off prospects, and too-low would brand his service as low quality. At an RPCN “Learn from the Best” session, he was encouraged to research competitors’ offerings and prices. At an RPCN Business Forum, he was advised to exhibit confidence when asking for higher fees. He set his prices above the average competitor and tested them in actual sales sessions with prospects. He adjusted his offerings and pricing until he found success with above-average fees.

Your Story:

Wherever you are in your business voyage, you need a Support System, so add RPCN to your Support Team.

Bob Lurz

Member News

PCN Member Wins 39th Annual Pen-A-Poem Contest

By Sandy Glanton

Local RPCN member, Lawrence Berger, submitted his poem, Hungry, Hungry Hearing Aids  to the Rush-Henrietta Genesee Valley PENNYSAVER for its annual Pen-A-Poem Contest. Due to the overwhelming votes, Larry won the 39th annual contest. You can see the announcement and read the poem in Volume 1, Issue 7 of the February 16, 2024 weekly publication on page 9 at:

Congratulations, Larry!

I Have Made Improvements to my Product. Do I need a New Patent?

While the answer to that question is “it depends;” quite often the simple answer is “yes.”  In a recent blog, I spoke about how to patent an invention domestically.  That protects your invention typically for 20 years from when you filed a (non-provisional) application for the patent.  Today I’d like to talk about what you can do to further protect the invention.

Presumably you’ve been making changes and improvements to the invention as you’ve been making and using it.

  • If you haven’t, well there’s not much to do to extend the patent protection other than paying the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) the maintenance fees that are due 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 years after the patent is issued.
  • If you have been improving the process of making your invention or adding features to the invention to improve it, however, those improvements may be the basis of a new patent application, or applications, to protect these new improvements.

Getting the improvements patented will still be a time consuming and expensive process, just like when you filed for the initial patent.  So why should you want to get another patent for the improved invention?  Well, there are several reasons.  I’ll discuss three of the most important ones.

Initial Invention and Patent

As I discussed last time, when you receive a patent, the U.S. government, through the USPTO, grants you a limited monopoly to exclude others from making or using your invention and as stated above that limited monopoly typically lasts for 20 years from your non-provisional patent application’s filing date.  Twenty years seems like a long time, but it will fly by quite quickly and the first three or so years of that were spent working the patent application through to an issued patent.  So, you’re down to roughly 17 years remaining once you have an issued patent in hand.  What if you were still working on getting the invention produced and are still getting it marketed to get to that moment when the world starts beating down your door for that “better mousetrap” you’ve developed?  That twenty-year clock marking when your patent expires keeps ticking whether you’ve been making money off the invention or not.

Reasons for Patenting an Improvement to Your Invention

It sure would be nice to have patent protection for a longer term, wouldn’t it?  Yes, but except in some very particular cases that we won’t go into here, the patent protection on that original invention won’t extend beyond the 20 years from the non-provisional application’s filing date.  But, if you were to make a novel improvement to that original invention or the way you make or use it, that MIGHT be considered an invention in and of itself and it could get a patent of its own.  If the USPTO agrees that the improvement is a new invention, the new, improved version of your original invention would get its own 20-year lifespan.  By this time, you probably already have:

  • Most of the tooling you’ll need to make that invention
  • Distribution channels established
  • Marketing established for the original version

This brings us to a second reason to try to patent the improvements on your original invention. A competitor could make an improvement to your original invention and prevent you (the original invention’s patent holder) from making or using the improved version for the life of the new version’s patent. Yes, you could possibly prevent the inventor of that improvement from making and using the improved invention, if it reads on your original still active patent, so neither of you can make, use, and sell it while your patent remains enforceable. When your original patent expires, your competitor will be able to make the improved version without your approval and YOU can’t make it unless you’ve arranged something like a licensing agreement with that competitor.  So, wouldn’t it be better to have patented the improvement yourself?  The answer to that is usually a resounding YES.

A third reason you might want to get a patent on an improvement to your originally patented invention is it likely will enable you to patent the new invention in countries you didn’t initially file for patent protection for the original invention.  Many first-time inventors and small companies only protect their original invention in their home country, which for most of the readers of this blog is the United States. This makes a lot of sense for a myriad of reasons, but by doing so, they effectively let the rest of the world make and use their invention as the invention’s owner doesn’t have patent protection on the invention elsewhere.  If you come up with an improvement on that invention, that improvement may be patentable not just in the United States but in the rest of the world as well.  You may have found that there is demand for your invention in other countries or perhaps you manufacture it elsewhere and are afraid that the invention will get made and sold by somebody else where it is now getting manufactured.  If you patent the improvement on your invention, you still can’t keep others from making and using the original invention in those countries in which you don’t have a patent. You can keep them from making and using the improved version of the invention provided you get a patent in those other places however.

These are just a few of the reasons you may want to obtain a patent on an improvement to your invention.  Please contact me at Bassett IP Strategies if you’d like to know additional reasons you might want to get a patent or simply learn more about patenting either a totally new item or an improvement on an existing one, either domestically or internationally, or get help in patenting an invention.

About the Author

Dave Bassett is President of Bassett IP Strategies. He can be contacted at or (585) 739-9726. Dave has been registered with the USPTO since 2004.

Watch this video to see what we're all about.

Upcoming RPCN Events

Visit the RPCN website for a list of all upcoming events.

Choosing Your Business Entity
Presented by Kristin Johnson
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, March 8, 2024
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Business Forum
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, March 15, 2024
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

RPCN Board Meeting
Everyone is welcome to attend.
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, March 15, 2024
10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Enhancing Human Capital Lunch N' Learn
Topic TBD
Thursday, March 21, 2024
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

How to Use Photos to Boost Your Business
Presented by Suzanne Rodriguez
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, March 22, 2024
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Did you know? 
Board and Committee Chairs for 2023-2024

RPCN has a team of volunteers who make up the Board and Committee Chairs. These people work together to make RPCN successful. They not only assist the organization, but benefit from becoming friends, learning about others’ fields, doing business with each other, feeling good about the part they play, and having a lot of fun in the process.

The President and Vice President change each year as the result of an election. Many of the other members also change from natural turnover and appointments by the new President.

The Board of Directors’ activities are essential to RPCN’s success. This is where major decisions are made that direct the Committee Chairs to take the action required to improve the way RPCN operates.

It may appear from the outside that RPCN is a static organization, but, thanks to the Board and Committee chairs, it is dynamic, always improving, thanks to the folks who operate in the background.

To find out who these important people are and what role they play is easy. Just click on Board of Directors.

  • You will probably see some familiar names.
  • You could be on the list, too! Just tell any Board member that you are interested in participating.
  • There are many ways for you to help make RPCN even more successful.

Curious? Interested? Maybe you should attend a Board Meeting and see for yourself. Everyone is welcome, and members are encouraged to attend any Board Meeting. The meetings take place at 10:00 A.M. on the third Friday of each month, immediately following the Business Forum.

See you there!

Steve Royal

Help Wanted!
Assistant Treasurer

We are looking for an Assistant Treasurer. If you have knowledge, experience, or a background in accounting, you would be an asset to the Rochester Professional Consultants Network (RPCN).   

The Assistant Treasurer would assist the Treasurer in preparing required periodic financial reports, a budget, an audit, and otherwise back up the Treasurer. Some knowledge of QuickBooks is helpful. Many consultants may have these requirements. Full training will be provided by the current Treasurer. This would be a way to use your skills and talents to aid RPCN.  

If interested, please contact Frank Crombe, RPCN Treasurer, 585-255-0837.

We want your news!

The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events, and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. To submit a newsletter item, send an email with the announcement in an attached Word file to

Melanie Watson, Publisher 
Sandra Glanton, Copyeditor

The deadline for submitting material for our next newsletter is the 21st of this month.

Request from the Editors

When submitting material to be included in the RPCN newsletter, please:
1. Send the submission to and not to individuals.
2. Include the words “For RPCN Newsletter” in the subject line. (Some people send articles to ALL RPCN members themselves, and it is often difficult to distinguish those that are being circulated independently from those intended for inclusion in the newsletter.)
3. Articles must be submitted in Microsoft Word and must contain complete thoughts and sentences in paragraph format.

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