BLOOMINGTON - A Heyworth man says he had a great idea for an invention five years ago … a fishing pole that lights up at night.
Jim Fisk had given up on the nighttime fishing rod after submitting a proposal to a Florida-based marketing company without any success.
That is until July when a friend called and congratulated Fisk after seeing the fishing pole on sale for $38 at a local sporting goods store.
Fisk, an employee at Illinois State University's water station, has filed a $1 million lawsuit that accuses that company, Invention Technologies, of stealing his invention.
Pure Fishing Inc., the company that manufactures the illuminating pole, and Smiley's Sports Shop in Bloomington, are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Dan Smiley, owner of Smiley's Sports Shop, said he does not know Fisk or why his shop would be named in such a lawsuit.
Smiley said he does sell Pure Fishing's battery-operated pole that lights up at night, but that so do most other sporting good stores.
Invention Technologies, also known as Invent-Tech, and Pure Fishing could not be reached Monday to comment on the lawsuit.
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James Ginzkey, the Bloomington attorney who represents Fisk, said Smiley is not the culprit they're going after with the lawsuit.
Ginzkey said Invent-Tech has a history of deceptive practices concerning their clients' inventions. However, Ginzkey said Fisk does know Smiley and discussed his fishing pole at his shop.
"When Jim showed me the drawings, the schematics he put together," Ginzkey said. "If you look at the schematics, you can tell this is his rod."
The pole has a battery and light source located in the handle. Light travels from the handle up through the transparent shaft of the pole, making it "look like a light saber" at night, Ginzkey said.
Fisk started working on the concept in 2001 and got the pole patented in 2002 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to the lawsuit.
In 2002, Fisk also started working with Invent-Tech to market the pole. The company received copies of his schematic drawings, Ginzkey said.
Invent-Tech eventually told Fisk the invention wouldn't work, Ginzkey said. Fisk began taking legal action after seeing the pole in stores.
Ginzkey said he and Fisk hope to learn of a connection between Invent-Tech and pole manufacturer Pure Fishing during the process of the lawsuit.