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Staples Nationwide Search to Make Work Life Easier Discovers the Innovative WordLock - A Device That Makes It Easy to Remember Lock Combinations

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 10, 2004--

Los Altos, California Inventor Named the First-Ever Invention Quest(TM) Champion Winning $25,000 Grand Prize

After six months and more than 8,300 entries, the WordLock(TM) has emerged as the next must-have office product to make work life easier. Today at the NASDAQ Market site in New York City, Staples held its Invention Quest(TM) final judging event. The winner is the WordLock(TM) - a combination lock which uses easy-to-remember words instead of numbers. Spawned from the imaginative mind of amateur inventor Todd Basche of Los Altos, California, the WordLock(TM) earned him the $25,000 cash prize and royalties if the product is created and sold exclusively by Staples in its more than 1,100 stores across the United States and on Staples.com(R).

"It's a tremendous thrill to have my idea come to life and actually become a product sold at Staples," said Todd Basche, Staples first-ever Invention Quest(TM) champion. "Staples has broken through by harnessing all of the creative energy across America and using that to create new products."

An expert panel of judges, along with more than 147,000 online votes cast by America, decided which of the 12 Invention Quest finalists received the grand prize. A $5,000 cash prize was awarded to each of the 11 finalists.

"Staples is focused on making buying office products easy, and Staples Invention Quest proved to be a terrific way to work with our customers to identify unique products that simplify the workday," said Tom Stemberg, chairman and founder of Staples, Inc. "We salute America's inventive minds and encourage further innovative thinking, because you never know where the next great office product idea will come from."

The WordLock(TM) was chosen from among more than 8,300 ideas for new office products submitted since Staples Invention Quest(TM) launched last fall. Ideas ranged from Pop Envelopes, shipping envelopes that can expand on demand to fit larger items, to the Peanut Eater, a unique device that makes it easy to clean up packing peanuts for reuse or disposal.

"It's often independent inventors like Todd Basche who create breakthrough innovations that go on to become hot-selling products," said Invention Quest judge Joanne Hayes-Rines, Publisher of Inventors' Digest. "Last year, 100,000 U.S. patents were issued to Americans and, of those, approximately 25,000 were issued to independent inventors."

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

WordLock is a trademark owned by Todd Basche.

Post-it(R) is a registered trademark of 3M.

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 2003 sales of $13.2 billion, Staples is committed to make buying office products easy. Nearly 60,000 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 1,600 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 www.staples.com.

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CONTACT: Staples, Inc.
Deborah Hohler, 508-253-8509
deborah.hohler@staples.com
or
MS&L
Meara Murphy, 617-794-1045
Meara.Murphy@mslpr.com
or
Kira Edler, 617-937-2578
Kira.Edler@mslpr.com

SOURCE: Staples, Inc.