May 30, 2012

Innovation program takes bug-catching invention under its wing

Posted: May 30, 2012
BugNabit inventor Bill Grant.
Erik Menkus, Innovation Advancement Program director.

A Phoenix man recently began manufacturing and marketing his invention, an insect-catching device called the BugNabit, with help from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s Innovation Advancement Program (IAP).

Bill Grant, who owns a business selling and repairing office equipment, came up with the idea for a device that uses a pole with an adhesive platform at the bottom to catch and dispose of bugs. Grant dreamed up BugNabit after finding several scorpions in his Phoenix home, much to the horror of his wife and daughter.

“I wanted to make a product where you can catch and dispose of the bugs as easily as possible,” Grant said. “You can catch (the bug) with the pole, slide it into the garbage and never worry about it again. There’s no mess or stress.”

Grant took a year to develop the idea after finding out it had not yet been patented. He made a prototype, and it evolved from being strictly a scorpion-catching device to a bug-catching tool.

Grant wanted to develop and manufacture the BugNabit in the United States, but was “running into brick walls,” because he had never been through the patent process.

“(Grant’s) attorney, Joe Meaney, referred him to the IAP for help because he was stuck with supply-chain issues,” said Eric Menkhus, clinical professor and director of the IAP. “He’d made a prototype, but couldn’t figure out the best way to manufacture it.

“We accepted Bill and the BugNabit as a client because, first, we liked Bill and thought he would be good to work with, while providing a quality learning experience for the students. But we also liked that the scorpion-catching aspect of the product was something Arizona-focused.”

The IAP involves students from the College of Law, the W.P. Carey School of Business, the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Barrett, The Honors College. The students work together, under the supervision of Menkhus and the IAP’s legal and business mentors, to address the legal and business planning needs of Arizona entrepreneurs.

After being accepted into the program, Grant was assigned two ASU students to do marketing and manufacturing analysis. The IAP also put him in contact with a former ASU professor who now works with a mold and plastic design company.

“IAP was great, they were very understanding,” Grant said. “The process is extremely helpful to small businesses or individuals like myself. It helped me get somewhere with a little bit of legitimacy.”

The BugNabit is available online for $12.99 (at BugNabit.com, where a demo also can be viewed), and Grant is working on getting it into retail outlets. He is starting local, but eventually wants to sell the product nationwide.

Carrie Morales, carrie.morales@asu.edu
(480) 965-8702
Sandra Day O'Conner College of Law