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Staples' Invention Quest Searches for Office Product Innovations in Workplaces Across the Country; Staples Seeks the Next Great Office Product to Make Work Life Easier

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 25, 2003--Today Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS), announced a program to unleash the creative and innovative spirit of people in workplaces nationwide. Staples' Invention Quest! calls on everyone from entrepreneurs to educators, lawyers to librarians, and anyone who has ever picked up a pencil, to discover the next great office product to make work life easier.

"Workplaces across the nation are full of innovations that help us do our jobs and sometimes even bring us inspiration," said Tom Stemberg, chairman and founder of Staples. "Like Liquid Paper(R) and Post-it(R) Notes, Staples believes other office product innovations can spring from inventive minds everywhere if given the right opportunity. Staples' Invention Quest(TM) is about making the best office product epiphany a reality," he said.

Inventors to-be can go online to or visit their nearest Staples store to get Invention Quest entry guidelines. Twelve finalists will be selected by February 7, 2004 and the Invention Quest champion will be announced in March 2004 in New York City. An expert panel of inventors and entrepreneurs will decide who walks away with a $25,000 prize. Additionally, winners will receive royalties if their product ideas are created and sold exclusively by Staples on and in its more than 1,100 stores across the United States.

"Everyone has a unique perspective born of life experiences and personal knowledge," said Art Fry, 3M Corporate Scientist and inventor of the Post-it" Note. "Those with an inventive mind see things in new and different ways. Post-it" Notes resulted when I used a new 3M adhesive polymer to make a bookmark that would not fall off. Today, Post-it" Notes are an easy way for people to communicate and organize information."

One of the most basic office products that revolutionized how people work was developed by Bette Nesmith Graham in 1942. A secretary and single mother, she invented Liquid Paper" to correct her typing mistakes at work. She mixed up tempera water-based paint to match the color of stationary she used at work and brought the paint and brush to work to correct her typing mistakes. Today correction fluid is an $85 million industry.

"Many of us have had great ideas for products to improve our work life," said Stemberg. "Invention Quest(TM) provides the opportunity for inventive minds to finally answer the question: why didn't I think of that?"

Invention Quest(TM) entry forms and criteria are available at, in Staples stores across the country or by calling 1-800-333-3330. Ideas can be submitted through November 21, 2003. One hundred semifinalists will be awarded a $100 Staples gift card. Twelve finalists will receive a trip for two to New York City for the Invention Quest(TM) finals. Eleven finalists will receive a $5,000 cash prize. The grand prize winner will receive $25,000. Additionally, winners will receive royalties if their ideas are created and sold exclusively by Staples. Additional media information is available at

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

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    CONTACT: Staples
             Deborah Hohler, 508-253-8509
             MS&L PR
             Meara Murphy, 617-937-2574

    SOURCE: Staples, Inc.