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Staples® Invention Quest® Names Top 5 Kid, Adult and Associate Inventor Finalists

Contestants Face One More Judging Panel; Public Invited to Vote for Their Favorite Inventions at Staples.com/IQ

Monday, April 2, 2007 8:00 am EDT

Dateline:

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.
"Our mission every day is to make school and work life easier for our customers. With Invention Quest, we wanted to hear directly from our customers what would make life easier for them"

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--When Minnesota-based project manager Michael Dufresne decided he had enough with unwanted distractions wasting his time at work, he knew his idea for the “Busy-Belt” invention would take him to the finals of Staples Invention Quest. For 10-year-old Keagan Bolibol of Woodinville, Wash., messy homework advanced her to the final round of the first-ever Staples Invention Quest Kids. Rebecca Lurie of Brookline, Mass., a Staples home-office associate, contributed two new office product ideas that secured her two spots in the finals of the associate competition. Michael, Keagan and Rebecca are three of the 14 inventors now in the running for one of three $25,000 grand prizes and more.

After more than four months of exciting competition, Staples today announced the finalists in the third Staples Invention Quest, Staples’ national search to find the next great product that makes school- or work-life easier.

Five kid inventors from across the country advanced to the final round in the first-ever Staples Invention Quest Kids. Also, five adults and four Staples associates advanced to the finalist stage in the adult and associate categories of the contest. From April 2 through April 20, the public can view information on the inventors, including video testimonies, and vote for their favorite finalists in all three categories at www.staples.com/IQ. Staples® Invention Quest® Names Top 5 Kid, Adult and Associate Inventor Finalists, page

“Our mission every day is to make school and work life easier for our customers. With Invention Quest, we wanted to hear directly from our customers what would make life easier for them,” said Shira Goodman, Invention Quest judge and executive vice president of marketing for Staples, Inc. “As we celebrate the spirit of innovation among inventors of all ages through Invention Quest, these 14 individuals have revealed an extraordinary amount of ingenuity. Each creation has something new to offer to the school and office supply market, from desk and computer accessories to furniture to basic office supplies.”

The Quest to the Finals

Since the inception of Invention Quest in 2004, Staples has received more than 30,000 entries. In this first year of Invention Quest Kids, Staples partnered with By Kids For Kids Co. (BKFK™) to introduce the new kids category and to encourage kids to explore and share their ideas that would make school-life better.

The five kid finalists and their inventions are:

  • Lila Bernhardt, age 7, Atlanta, Ga.

Invention: Marker Saver; a product that holds caps while markers are in use

  • Keagan Bolibol, age 10, Woodinville, Wash.

Invention: Problem Pad; a dry erase page with various learning tools that fits into a binder

  • Jerrilee Geist, age 12, San Rafael, Calif.

Invention: Totally Desk; a portable laptop desk with drawers, dry erase board and more

  • Brian Ingoldsby, age 12, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Invention: Booksight or Show Book; a clear, durable book cover that is customizable

  • Lauren McCaghren, age 14, Madison, Ala.

Invention: Flash Drive Holder; a container of various shapes, sizes and colors designed to hold multiple flash drives

The adult finalists and their inventions:

  • Michael Dufresne, project manager, Cottage Grove, Minn.

Invention: Busy Belt; a retractable belt that can be buckled to the sides of a cubicle that acts as a psychological barrier to prevent unwanted work distractions

  • Mimi Peters, advertising executive, East Northport, N.Y.

Invention: 2-View Computer Chair; an office chair with a trundle seat to enable two people to sit and view the computer together

  • Amy Sanderson, stay-at-home mom, Kensington, N.H.

Invention: Stash and Store File Folder; a clear plastic storage system to fit into a file drawer that holds additional office supply items using less space

  • Dominick Theresa, legal investigator, Edison, N.J.

Invention: Color Coded Flash Drive; an organizational, color-coded system to keep flash drives from getting mixed up

  • Mark Trageser, toy designer, Los Angeles, Calif.

Invention: No Poke Pins; a new kind of thumb tack that does not poke holes into documents

The Staples associate finalists and their inventions are:

  • Anita Brown, Lafayette, Ind.

Invention: Slide n’ File; a desktop set of hanging file folders with a unique wet erase file tab for easy adjustment of filing systems

  • Rebecca Lurie, Brookline, Mass.

Invention (1): Drawerganizer; an organizing system with pop-out shelving that can be inserted inside a file drawer

Invention (2): Mixers; half-size writing utensils that screw into each other so the user can mix and match writing implements, for example eraser/highlighter, pen/pencil, etc.

  • Stacie St. Andre, Dudley, Mass.

Invention: Compact Filing Cabinet; a compactly-designed filing system that fits better than regular filing cabinets in cramped spaces

  • Sean Weir, Spring City, Penn.

Invention: Locker Wallpaper; removable decorations to be inserted inside a locker as a personalization tool

Invention Quest Finals

On April 23, the finalists will present their inventions in person at the NASDAQ Marketsite in New York City. They will have five minutes to communicate their ideas to an expert panel of inventors and entrepreneurs. Judges include such luminaries as Joanne Hayes-Rines, Senior Advisor to Inventors Digest; Art Fry, inventor of the Post-it® Note; Roger Adams, creator of Heelys®, kid inventor Scott Barnhill, and two Staples executives.

In addition, the invention that receives the most public votes through the online voting site at www.staples.com/IQ will receive five extra points. The winner in each category (kids, adults and Staples associates) will be announced on April 24 at NASDAQ. Each winner will receive a $25,000 grand prize and royalties if Staples manufactures and sells the invention. The four runners up in each category will all receive $5,000.

To reach any of the finalists for an interview, please contact Mari Martone at (212) 714-1280 or mmartone@taylorpr.com. Media information and online voting is available at www.staples.com/IQ.

Staples Invention Quest

Staples Invention Quest is an open invitation across the U.S. for would-be inventors to have the chance to make their office product idea a reality. Multiple finalists’ products may be brought to market under the Staples® brand and sold exclusively by Staples in its 1,900 U.S. stores and on Staples.com. A panel of judges will select the best office product entry and the winner will receive $25,000 and royalties if Staples brings the winning product to its shelves. The four remaining finalists will be awarded cash prizes of $5,000 and the possibility to have their idea created and sold by Staples.

About Staples Brands

Staples offers its customers more than 2,000 Staples brand products in stores, on Staples.com and through catalogs. Products range from ink and toner to paper, filing systems and technology accessories. All Staples products undergo an intense independent laboratory quality-testing program and are 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed.

About Staples

Staples, Inc. invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today is the world's largest office products company. With 74,000 talented associates, the company is committed to making it easy to buy a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2006 sales of $18.2 billion, Staples serves consumers and businesses ranging from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in 21 countries throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples operates approximately 1,900 office superstores and also serves its customers through mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses. More information is available at www.staples.com.

Contact:

for Staples
Amy Shanler, 508-253-6709
amy.shanler@staples.com
or
Mari Martone, 212-714-1280
mmartone@taylorpr.com

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