Invention Company Scams, One of the most frustrating steps throughout in the invention process is when you reach the stage of actually getting a product to market. Many new inventors lack the funds to get further than the prototype, or perhaps they do not possess the knowledge of how to get the product from their living room to the shelves. Unfortunately, many so-called “invention help” companies take advantage of fledgling inventors and promise them success while taking their money and, ultimately, delivering nothing. Invention submission companies, when honestly and fairly operated, can be a great help to the inventor. They get a product to market and split the profits with the inventor – giving an inventor the capital they need to keep inventing. However, many of these companies are scams.
, There are many fast talking invention marketing firms that prey on the hopes of inventors, make big promises and charge thousands of dollars with a promise to evaluate, develop, patent and market their inventions, and then only send out unsolicited mailers to a random list of manufacturers that are never opened.
These fraudulent invention marketing companies give the honest ones a very bad name. The way they work is by offering the inventor a marketability analysis that touts of high returns if only the inventor moves to the next step which costs upwards of $6,000-$18,000. It is very sad to hear of the good-intentioned inventors who were ripped-off by these companies. So, please beware of these companies (listed below).
How do they work?
Step 1: These invention marketing companies usually charge a fee of $400-$800 up front to "evaluate" an idea.
Step 2: Then they returns a glowing glossy report stating that the idea is immensely valuable and the market is vast. Usually, 99% of the report is "boilerplate", and only the title of the invention and a page or two in the "search report" describing the invention in broad terms differs from one report to the next.
Step 3: The company then usually requests a fee of anywhere from $6,000 to $18,000, for which they promise to:
a. File a patent application. Unfortunately, most of these companies only file design patent applications, which are generally not appropriate for most inventions or, worse, only a Provisional Application or Disclosure Document. The latest scam is to file a "picture patent" - a utility patent, but so narrow that it is essentially worthless.
b. Display your invention at trade shows. Usually, these are "trade shows of invention marketers," and you can imagine how little use that is. The only people who will attend are other invention marketing firms and sometimes other hopeful inventors.
c. Include your invention in a brochure sent to manufacturers, or to produce flyers and/or videos. Usually, the brochure is a mishmash of assorted inventions whose inventors have paid the company, and is sent to all sorts of unrelated manufacturers. Most manufacturers tend to simply throw these away without looking at them.
In addition to the substantial up-front fees, these invention marketing firms quote a sliding scale of royalties, with the royalty percentage based on the up-front fee (pay more up front, they take less in royalties). They can afford to be generous in these royalty rates. Although these usually look like a good deal to the inventor, in fact they are irrelevant - the company makes its money from the up-front fees, not from royalties they know will never materialize.
Suspicious communication: If an invention company is constantly pressuring you to get started right away, or perhaps being vague when you ask about their success rate or previously successful inventions, you may want to look elsewhere. Companies that recommend the wrong patent type, promote any idea, ask you to send your ideas via mail, send pre-signed confidentiality agreements, refuse to list the total cost of services upfront or have conflicting business addresses, are generally up to no good.
Before paying any money to a company that claims to be able to help you get your invention to market, do your research! Call your local Better Business Bureau, check with the Federal Trade Commission, and search for invention company scams online. Very few patents ever make money, so invention companies tend to be very selective as to who they will work with. Your best bet is to look for a company that offers a lifetime or yearly membership fee that allows you to submit your ideas for the company to review and give you an honest critique. This will save you the trouble of investing in a bad idea to begin with.
As some professional inventors with their own little development labs may tell your good ideas alone are a dime a dozen, implementing it and proving their is actually a demand for a practical version is the greater challenge.
Many inventor assistance businesses have a reputation for being predatory and "pleased with" ever ideal that's submitted, they too often will run you through the whole process even if they don't believe it has any real chances of success.
One of the first patent steps is to do a search, (a surprising number of ideas have already been patented) you can use the U.S. patent office:
Some invention service related links I had:
Comprehensive article on Invention services by Patent Attorneys
They describe the "The American Inventors Protection Act of 1999" which requires these services to provide a disclosure of their success rate details.
http://www.wini2.com/ Unbiased evaluations Invention Evaluation $250, Product Assessment $270
"Invent Land" in business for 18 years http://davison.com
A complaint and company response.
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LIST OF INVENTION PROMOTION COMPANIES CLICK HERE