Don’t forget to smile today: Commemorating Don Inman, the inventor of the Inman Dental Aligner, on World Smile Day.

I’m sure you’re wondering why a serious patent attorney like me would even care about celebrating World Smile Day. First off, just because my work as a patent attorney is serious business doesn’t mean I can’t have a positive attitude and a bright smile on my face. Secondly, some of my clients, like Don Inman, have created inventions that allow me and others to keep smiling and flash beautiful smiles every day.

For these reasons, I am intrigued to explore the history of World Smile Day and how Mr. Inman’s invention of a dental retainer is helping “pearly whites” shine bright. Join me as I celebrate World Smile Day, a holiday meant to inspire world peace, while highlighting an awesome invention by one of The Patent Professor’s® very own inventors!

World Smile Day became a reality because of Harvey R. Ball, the artist who created the iconic smiley face. Ball dreamed that this day would make people around the world a little happier and more peaceful. Ball created the smiley face in 1963 while working as an independent artist contracted by a Massachusetts insurance company that recently underwent a merger, causing decreased productivity among employees. Aside from making the company executives smile, this iconic symbol quickly became popularized around the world. Around 36 years later, Ball went on to do bigger and better things with his smiley face and created World Smile Day on October 1, 1999. Along with World Smile Day, Ball founded the World Smile Foundation, meant to be a charitable non-profit for children’s causes.

Sadly, Ball never registered a trademark or copyright for this awesome smiley face, and only earned $45 in his lifetime for the creation. It has been rumored that Ball wasn’t sour about this because he didn’t really care about the money. I have a feeling that if I would have been practicing during this time, I would have been able to convince Mr. Ball to protect his intellectual property and get a trademark. Most of the time, inventors don’t protect their ideas because they don’t understand the power and importance of their works. Mr. Ball was lucky enough that even though he never protected his smiley face, the drawing still brought joy to him. When dealing with inventions, it is much harder to reap the benefits of your creation without protecting it.

Donal P. Inman is the inventor of the Inman Aligner, patented through my office (US6435871B1). Inman is originally a Certified Dental Technician (CDT) and is also the president of Inman Orthodontic Laboratory (formerly known as Orthotech). Inman developed the design of the Inman Aligner with hopes of improving the oral health of many. Aside from giving customers a beautiful and vibrant smile, well-aligned teeth are also beneficial for reducing plaque buildup and enamel deterioration. The Inman Aligner works by serving as a removable device with bows that attach to both sides of the teeth, allowing them to align correctly, quickly, and efficiently. Most people who use the Inman Aligner can expect to see results within 6 to 18 weeks of initiating treatment.

The Inman Aligner has many benefits for its users, one being it works best for people with protruding front teeth. Another awesome advantage of this invention is that it’s removable, preventing it from affecting your daily life. People who have worn braces or retainers at some point in time can understand how uncomfortable these devices can be. Even though the device must be worn for around 20 hours a day for the treatment to work, you can decide to take the device off during the 4 hours of the day you have to talk the most. Just like most other orthodontic devices, your speech will improve as more accustomed you become to wearing it. And I still haven’t told you the best part of The Inman Aligner: the cost. Depending on your dentist and structure of treatment, this device can be a very cost-effective way to perfect your smile.

In December of 2019, I had the honor of awarding Mr. Inman for his efforts to improve the smile and confidence of many with this invention. Innovators like Mr. Inman make the world a brighter and more peaceful place, which was the original goal of World Smile Day. Thanks to Mr. Inman, more people can confidently smile in celebration of this holiday! I hope I have inspired creators and inventors to pursue their wildest dreams and to reach out to me if you have an idea that’s worth protecting.

About the Author
John Rizvi is a Registered and Board Certified Patent Attorney, Adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law, best-selling author, and featured speaker on topics of interest to inventors and entrepreneurs (including TEDx).
His books include “Escaping the Gray” and “Think and Grow Rich for Inventors” and have won critical acclaim, including an endorsement from Kevin Harrington, one of the original sharks on the hit TV show – Shark Tank, responsible for the successful launch of over 500 products resulting in more than $5 billion in sales worldwide. You can learn more about Professor Rizvi his patent law practice at www.ThePatentProfessor.com

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