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Twelve Innovators From Across the U.S. Selected as Finalists in Staples Invention Quest

Staples Invites America to Cast Their Vote for the Next Breakthrough Office Product at www.staples.com/iq

Monday, February 9, 2004 7:00 am EST

Dateline:

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.
"Innovation drives Staples' business and this search proved that America is truly a nation of innovation"

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Staples Invention Quest(TM) -- the first national search for America's next great office product -- comes one step closer to its conclusion today with the announcement of 12 finalists from around the nation. Who will be the next invention idol? People across the country will help decide. Between February 7 and March 1, Americans are invited to cast a vote for their favorite new office product idea from among the finalists' submissions at www.staples.com/iq.

"Innovation drives Staples' business and this search proved that America is truly a nation of innovation," said Tom Stemberg, chairman and founder of Staples, Inc. "Inventive minds are everywhere and they're helping us find new ways to make life easier for our customers in the workplace."

Since Staples Invention Quest(TM) was launched last fall, more than 8,000 inventors submitted ideas for new office products. New concepts for writing and drawing instruments accounted for nearly 1,100 of the submissions and over 1,000 concepts were entered for new computer accessories. New variations on adhesives, clips and staplers accounted for almost 900 entries, while over 750 ideas were in the running for new storage/organization products. Proving that even envelopes can be improved upon, 181 new innovations for envelopes and other packing/shipping materials were entered.

The 12 Staples Invention Quest(TM) finalists and their inventions are:

Todd Basche - Los Altos, CA - The WordLock is a combination lock that uses words instead of number sequences.

Richard Brull - Parkville, MO - The CallCaddy turns any existing corded phone into a cordless phone.

Adrian Chernoff - Royal Oak, MI - Rubber Bandits are rubber bands with pre-attached labels so items remain together and clearly identified.

Arra David - Windham, NH - The Exact-Cut Lighted Paper Cutter uses a light to align paper for a straight cut every time.

Russell Dian - New York, NY - Pencil Paper is a writing surface for pencils that is waterproof, durable and reusable.

Nancy Garner - New Bern, NC - The Palm Stapler allows users to staple items to a vertical surface easily and leaves the other hand free to pick up the next piece of paper.

Tony Miller - Nevada City, CA - The Peanut Eater collects packing peanuts in bags for disposal or reuse.

John Olsen - Sioux Falls, SD - Z-Pins are z-shaped nails that can be inserted into fabric cubicle walls and bear enough weight to support framed artwork

Lisa Trusiani Parker - Maplewood, NJ - Pop Envelopes are shipping envelopes that can expand upon demand to fit larger items.

Keith Savas - Charlotte, NC - Presentation Master is a simple connector system that turns ordinary one-dimensional foam core into dynamic presentation materials.

Ian Swanson - La Farge, WI - PopPins are push pins that have a molded shell that acts as a finger guard for the metal spike.

Locke White - Radford, VA - Xact-fit Pens and Scissors have a layer of malleable plastic that creates a custom fit for each user.

The 12 finalists will receive a trip for two to New York City for the Invention Quest finals on March 10, 2004 at the NASDAQ Marketsite in Times Square. An expert panel of inventors and entrepreneurs along with the votes cast by America at www.staples.com/iq will decide who walks away with the $25,000 grand prize. Eleven finalists will each receive $5,000. Additionally, winners will receive royalties if their ideas are created and sold exclusively by Staples on Staples.com(R) and in its more than 1,100 stores across the United States.

Judges for the Staples Invention Quest(TM) finals include Hector Barreto, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration; Rayvon Fouche, invention/innovation professor and author; Art Fry, inventor of the Post-it(R) Note; Corey Greenberg, tech editor, NBC Today Show; Joanne Hayes-Rines, publisher, Inventor's Digest; Tom Stemberg, chairman and founder, Staples; and America via votes cast at www.staples.com/iq.

About Staples, Inc.

Staples, Inc. is headquartered outside of Boston and sells a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2002 sales of $11.6 billion, Staples is committed to make buying office products easy. Nearly 58,000 associates serve consumers and businesses of all sizes -- from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in the US, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Staples invented the office superstore concept and today, with approximately 1,500 office superstores, is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. Staples also serves its customers through its mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses. More information is available at http://www.staples.com.

Contact:

Staples, Inc.
Julie Mittelman, 508-253-8580
Julie.Mittelman@staples.com
or
Meara Murphy, 617-937-2574
Meara.Murphy@mslpr.com

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