A sad invention promotion firm story:

invention promotion firmI met with an inventor who is a retiree living on Social Security.  This inventor contacted one of the Invention Promotion Firms advertising nationally looking for help.  He disclosed his invention to the invention promoter and a young sales person pitched they could evaluate, develop, patent, and market his invention.  Per the inventor, the promoter took advantage of an inventor’s enthusiasm and belief in his invention making false and exaggerated claims about the market potential of the invention.

The inventor contracted with the Invention Promotion Firm to  evaluate the invention and market potential for around ~$1000.

Next, the inventor contracted with the Invention Promotion Firm to  file a provisional patent, create a one page product rendering, and computer design with dimensions, quantity, and a parts list ~$10,000.

Here comes the sad part- 1) the inventor had already built several prototypes but did not have computer design files and 2) in my opinion the invention is not new and therefore not patentable. All of this appears to be a waste of money.

The really sad part- this inventor did not have $10,000 dollars and he borrowed the money from friends and family who are also on Social Security.

Per Federal Trade Commission

Some invention promotion firms may claim to know or have special access to manufacturers who are likely to be interested in licensing your invention. In addition, some firms may claim to represent manufacturers on the look-out for new product ideas. Ask for proof, such as contacts at manufacturers, before you sign a contract with any invention promotion firm that claims special relationships with manufacturers. If the promoter provides only one or two names, be careful: The contacts may be “shills” — people hired to give favorable testimonials.

After giving your invention a preliminary review, a firm might tell you it needs to do a market evaluation of your idea — for a fee that can be several hundred dollars. Many questionable firms don’t do any genuine research or market evaluations. Sometimes the “research” is bogus, and the “positive” reports are mass-produced in an effort to sell clients on additional invention promotion and marketing services. Fraudulent invention promotion firms don’t offer an honest appraisal of the merit, technical feasibility, or market potential of an invention.

Some invention promotion firms also may offer a contract in which they agree to help you build, market and license your invention to manufacturers. Unscrupulous promoters may require you to pay a fee of several thousand dollars in advance, or to agree to make credit payments instead. Reputable licensing agents usually don’t rely on large advance fees. Rather, they depend on royalties from the successful licensing of client inventions. How can they make money when so few inventions achieve commercial success? They’re choosy about which ideas or inventions they pursue. If a firm is enthusiastic about the market potential of your idea — but wants to charge you a large fee in advance — take your business elsewhere.

Check References:

Federal Trade Commission – Invention Promotion Firms

Federal Trade Commission – Invention Promoters to pay $10 Million

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