Thursday, September 10, 2009

Success Series – Evaluations

1. Who will do my evaluation?

You will complete your own personal invention evaluation from our template. You will never disclose your invention to us for the evaluation. You will be able to complete the evaluation test at your leisure in the convenience of your home or office.

2. How long will my evaluation take?

You should be able to complete the evaluation test inside of 3 to 5 days. However, many clients have taken their time and completed in about 10 days while others were very excited and completed it in one day.

3. Where do I go for help after I get my evaluation report?

You can continue to use our services if you wish or obviously hire any reputable company to assist you. Words of caution, DO NOT hire an invention scam company. To find our more about these companies, read the details on our website.

4. Do I need to have my patent before getting an evaluation?

Absolutely not. In fact, we recommend obtaining an evaluation first. Patents can cost a lot of money.

5. Do I need to have a prototype to get an evaluation?

Not in most cases. Our evaluation system is designed to work at the idea stage. This enables you to get an objective evaluation before you potentially invest a lot of money in your project.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

9 Frequently ask questions about Inventor Education

1. Why would an inventor choose to work with

For the same reasons consumers buy any service: convenience and cost. For example, in order to obtain similar services as those offered by our company an inventor would have to spend thousands of dollars and not even have control over the activity of your project.

2. Will "The People" tell me if I have a good idea?

No one at in our company is permitted to or will express an opinion about or evaluate or appraise the merit or marketability of your invention idea. If they do so, it is improper and we ask that you contact us immediately.

3. Is part of any corporate or government organization?

No; we are an independent program. Our purpose is to stimulate innovation by providing an honest and objective source of advice and information. Our services are designed to provide inventors and innovators with an honest assessment of the commercial potential of their inventions and new products. We do not assist with marketing or invention development. We are completely different than most of the invention company scam sites in that we DO NOT charge thousands of dollars for services.

4. I have a new product, not an idea or invention. Can you help?

Yes, your first step is to take the Invention Evaluation Test. It will immediately let you know if you a new or idea or that is worth pursuing or not.

5. Why are there so many misconceptions about inventing?

Most Innovators would like to see their idea commercialized. Most, though, have little business or invention experience. So it's not surprising that there are a few myths about the business of inventing that we think new innovators should be aware of. Our eBook ‘Save Your Money…To Save Your Invention’ will explain to you the myths and how to avoid the hurdles

6. Who will you tell about my idea?

No one. We won't disclose your idea or invention to anyone outside of our staff without your express written permission, and that is only if your purchase the Provisional Patent Application program or other services from us. All of the people involved in our company have signed confidentiality statements that are kept on file. Generally only two or three people will ever see your information:

7. What other services does provide?

We provide services that are geared to inventors who do not have a large amount of capital to invest. We strive to keep your costs down especially in the early stages of your development.  Once you complete your evaluation, you can use our service of ‘Patent Pending in 48 Hours™’. The cost is only $497 and that is far less than any other service or patent attorney. We also provide services to inventors that will take them through every step of the invention process.

8. How much money will I end up paying to you?

That is entirely up to you and your invention. The Invention Evaluation Test is only $97. It is quite possible that the results of the test will advise you to discontinue with your project. If that is the result, your entire investment will be only $97. If you continue the process and actually utilize all of our services, your total investment can be around $1,500

9. Will take over the development of my idea or invention?

No--You are responsible for any development and commercialization.

Next - IE Success Series – Evaluations

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

What Really Is Invention Success?

Over the years I have heard from hundreds of inventors who have told me ‘I am a successful Inventor’. When I ask them to define what ‘successful’ means they almost always tell me ‘I have a patent.’

My response to them almost always is ‘Yeah, but have you made any money yet?’ Can you guess what their answers are?

I call these inventors ‘ego I.P.-ists.’ I.P. stands for Intellectual Property which is a patent, trademark or copyright.

To merely say your success as an inventor is that you have a patent is like saying ‘I’m a major league baseball player and I have a ticket to every game in the stands but have never played a game.’

In essence, having a patent and not doing anything else with it like making money is just like sitting in the stands watching the ballgame. In both cases you paid money to get your patent/ticket, however, that’s all you got.


Here are some statistics to think about. In 2008 the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reports that there were 485,312 patent application filed. In addition, there were 185,224 patents granted (issued). (It’s important to understand that the issued patents did not come from the applications in 2008 because the patent office is running anywhere from 3 to 5 years behind from application to issuance). The application figures have increased over the years as more and more private inventors and institutional inventors are filing both domestic and foreign.

A more revealing statistic and one to be more concerned about is that the USPTO claims that ‘only about 3% of issued patents have made more money than the inventor invested.’ That claim includes issued patents from both the private and commercial sector. If you eliminate the commercial sector, I would venture to guess that figure of success is closer to 1% or less in my opinion.

So, let’s calculate that in real numbers;

1. 485,312 applications, 185,224 issued patents. That’s about 38%. Keep in mind it took 3 to 5 years to issue.

2. The 3% success figure: 185,224 issued patents vs. a 3% success rate. That’s about 5,500 patents that made money.

3. The 1% success figure: 185,224 issued patents vs. a 1% success rate. That’s about 1,800 patents that made money.

4. Applications to the 3% success rate: 485,312 applications vs. a 3% success rate. That’s about 14,500 patent applications that may become successful. Again that is over a 3 to 5 year period.

5. Applications to the 1% success rate: 485,312 applications vs. a 1% success rate. That’s about 4,800 patent applications that may become successful.  Once again, a 3 to 5 year period.

6. A 1% success rate over a 5 year period vs. 485,312 applications means that about 960 inventors will have the potential to make money per year with their invention.

If you look at these statistics carefully it is bound to scare some new inventors away from the invention process. The numbers can be too much of a risk for a novice to begin their invention journey. However, and this is a big however, it should not necessarily prevent a new inventor from entering the invention industry. Quite frankly it should educate the new inventor about something completely different.

Here is the education.

1. There is a right way and a wrong way to begin the invention process.

  • a) The wrong way is to immediately hire a patent attorney or agent before you know if you truly have a marketable product concept. If you do, you will become nothing more than a USPTO statistic mentioned above. You will be an ego I.P.-ist.
  • b) The right way is to have a professional invention evaluation completed to see if you truly have a marketable product concept.

2. The WRONG WAY is to hire a deceptive invention company.

  • a) They will do absolutely nothing for you other than to take (legally steal) your money.
  • b) They will tell you what you want to hear and try to convince you to buy their services. Do not fall victim to the commissioned salesperson.
  • c) They will skirt the issue of telling you that they will evaluate your invention whereas they do not.
  • d) They will tell you that they will get you a patent, however the patent they get for you is usually very weak and/or just a design patent. As stated above, don’t get the patent first.
  • e) They are a waste of your time and money – period.

3. The RIGHT WAY is to read and learn as much as possible before you jump into the invention process.

4. Understand the risk to reward ratio prior to making any substantial investment.

5. Ask as many questions to the experts as you can without divulging details of your invention.

6. Understand that the invention process is to be attacked as a business venture and not an emotional activity.

7. Save your money to save your invention.

     If you follow the 7 steps about, it will help you to reduce your risks and increase your statistical chances for success.

    Here are some just some of Thomas Edison’s famous quotes.

“Anything that won't sell, I don't want to invent.

“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.”

“Genius is one percent inspiration and 99% perspiration.”

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

“I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.”

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

“The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.”

In conclusion, do you want to be an ego I.P.-ist, or do you want to be a successful inventor? The choice is and will always be yours!

Copyright © 2009 - Helping Inventors One Patent At A Time. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Patents , Where Does an Inventor Start?

Getting an invention off the ground has always been the big question mark for new inventors.
Who do you call? Where do you start? What do you have to do?
Let’s tackle the first question, who do you call. The first fact I will convey to you is WHO NOT TO CALL. Do not call any of the invention scam companies who advertise. You will find their ads on the Internet, TV and radio. These companies prey on first time inventors who don’t know what to do. The companies lure inventors in with hooks such as ‘Free Inventor’s Kit’ or ‘Sell Your Idea’ or ‘Wanted Inventors and Ideas’ and many others. These companies are to be avoided at all costs. All they do is take your money and promise the moon and deliver nothing – Caveat Emptor.
So, who do you call? There are several credible resources to contact.
1. Local Invention Clubs.
2. Patent attorneys (call at least 3 different ones).
3. Local Universities.
Each one of them will give you an understanding of the invention process and help you to make intelligent decisions without spending any money.
The second question above is really the same as the first. You start by contacting the list above.
The third question, what do you have to do will be based on the answers you get from the contacts you have made. Here are some of the first steps.
1. Documentation - write down in a Journal everything that you do. One page per day and date each page. Have someone sign each days page as well (More on that topic in another article).
2. Research – read as much as you can about the invention process before you invest any money.
3. Organize – establish in advance the important information that your new invention idea must answer. Here are some examples:
a. Exactly what is your invention or product?
b. Who will want it?
c. Where and how will they be able to get it?
d. How much money is needed and specifically for what (product development, manufacturing, marketing, distribution, business management costs)?
e. How much does the investor make and when does he get his money back (potential return of investment (“ROI”) and return time frame)?
Make sure you have at least preliminary answers to these questions because that is what will be asked of you from all of the people you will be speaking with during your preparation time.
As you can see - getting an invention started takes lots of planning and leg work. If you do it right you are at least giving yourself a chance to potentially succeed. If you do it wrong such as contacting and/or working with an invention scam company you are doomed to fail.
Copyright © 2009 - Helping Inventors One Patent At A Time. All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 1, 2009



Should the inventor license the invention to a third party, or should the inventor open their own business and manufacture and market their invention? This decision will affect not only how you earn money, but also how much financing you will need to proceed.

Differences in Financing

In terms of financing your invention, licensing usually requires much less capital than the alternative of opening your own business and manufacturing and marketing your invention yourself. What's usually required is money to create a prototype (or other suitable presentation to potential licensees), to market the invention, and, perhaps, to solicit and negotiate with potential licensees. On the positive side, a successful licensing agreement will potentially provide an inventor with a financial gain and then be able to possibly pursue inventing new projects while still profiting from the last idea. On the negative side, a bad licensing deal will limit the amount of profit an inventor can make and may tie up their innovation or, worse, result in legal battles over royalties.

If you start your own business you will need far more financing to manufacture and market your invention. Money is required for producing a prototype, creating tooling and/or molds, mass producing the product, distribution, insurance packaging, collecting payments, and enforcing your patent rights. In addition, entrepreneurial inventors often become involved in more complex financing than an inventor-for-royalties -- for example, you may need to form a corporation and sell shares of stock (or other interests) in the business and the invention. On the positive side, the financial rewards are potentially much greater -- which is precisely why it appeals to more entrepreneurial inventors. On the negative side, manufacturing and marketing are incredibly risky and can cause tremendous anxiety and engulf your personal life.

Which Is Right for You?

If going into business is your goal, and creating your invention is your means of full time career, then starting a business could be the right choice for you. If you're not afraid of taking risks and you have the capital or least access to the capital and you love to innovate in commerce, going full time into a new business is your best option. But if none of the above appeals to you, licensing is the correct course of action for you.

Find the money you need to bring your invention to life!

There are many sources of potential investors who are looking for a great idea to get behind. Look at the list below for some of these sources.

If you have absolutely no money and you want to get your invention into the marketplace, it is very unlikely that you will be able to turn your invention into a commercial product. By no money, we mean someone who is unable to earn money above living expenses, raise money, or borrow any money.

However, if you are willing to work there are opportunities out there.

When soliciting for money, conduct yourself in an appropriate businesslike manner. An email inquiry asking for financial support penned in an informal manner and full of grammar and spelling errors will get no response. The same goes for badly penned snail mail or confused sounding phone calls.

Stretch What You Have

It's a good idea to use what you have before borrowing what you don't. Here are some common-sense--yet often bypassed--strategies to make the most of what you've got:

  • Cut corners in your everyday life. Most likely, profits won't be rolling in a month after you launch your business. So, think of what you can do without. It can be as small as giving up that daily $3 cup of coffee (it adds up!) or as substantial as waiting to invest in a new car or a larger home.
  • Keep working. Don't give up your day job too soon. Many successful inventors work on their project at night and on weekends, and take the process as far as possible before leaving their paying jobs. If you have a supportive spouse or partner, involve them in the planning. When you reach a point where your business becomes a full-time venture, perhaps you can negotiate with your partner so he or she agrees to support the family while you build your business.
  • Spread it out over time. Avoid incurring large expenses all at once by spreading out your process over time. In other words, you don't have to accomplish everything from market research to prototyping to manufacturing overnight. Let your finances help set the pace.
  • Work with your vendors. One of the best ways to finance your project is to find vendors who'll share your financial strain. While you can't ask them to work for free, you can ask them to give you their absolute bargain price now. Let them know that with success, their support will be rewarded by your loyalty. You may also request to pay via a scheduled payment plan. Time your payments for when you know you'll have available funds, such as on payday.

In addition, be sure to communicate! If you're going to be late with a payment, don't avoid your vendors--let them know upfront. This way you can work on a solution together, such as incremental payments, etc. The quickest way to sour a relationship is to ignore their inquiries.

The money you spend early on will help finalize your idea through the prototype stage. It will also let you make initial contacts with industry insiders. Here's a rundown of typical costs:

1. Initial seed money: $100 to $1,000. This money-self-funded through credit cards, savings or the sale of personal property-is used for an invention evaluation, patent search, possible legal protection with a provisional patent application. You might also want to attend a trade show to check out products and interview industry people.

This will give you a better understanding of your idea's market potential. Prepare a presentation on why your invention will sell.

2. Researching the Market: $1,000 to $3,000. Attend trade shows and association meetings to start networking and learning about competitors. You'll use the presentation developed with your seed money to explain your product to industry contacts and potential investors. After this period, you should have a better presentation, and you should make a sample brochure. You may need a concept model for the brochure.

Even if you don't need the money, this is a good time to start adding investors because you only need to ask them for small amounts. You could ask for $500 from each of three investors to prepare a concept model and a sample brochure, and visit two trade shows. Your goal is to line up industry contacts as early investors you can rely on during your invention process. You may want to apply for a provisional patent before attending the show so you can say your product is patent pending.

Government Resources for Financing Your Invention

Many branches of the government give grants and loans to fund research and development of inventions. However, the grants are often very specific as to what type of inventions funding is given. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy offers grants for the development of inventions that benefit the environment or save energy. The U.S. Department of Small Business offers small business loans. Getting a grants or loan will require footwork and research on your part.

Grant Programs

Invention grants and financing are available from government sources; however, they are not just sitting there waiting to hand money to you.

There is a process to follow just like any other funding process.

Governments at all levels have an interest in supporting research, development and commercialization of technologies related to the environment, energy, health sciences and high-tech.

With the "meltdown" of economies and the proliferation of "bailouts", governments realize there is a need for change. This can only help inventors needing government support for starting a small business.


Government programs are often very specific as to what types of inventions they will fund and what criteria is required to apply.

There are numerous databases for grants, which include available resources and funding requirements. The criteria for qualifying varies depending on the source of funding.

Understanding the process and preparing qualified applications is important.

For example, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program provides grants to small businesses with innovations that have the potential to be profitability commercialized. The criteria for these grants include a business plan and a technical evaluation of your invention.

Researching and preparing grant applications can be a difficult task, so it helps to have help.

· US Small Business Administration
· Regional SBA Offices
· Office of Entrepreneurial Development
· National Science Foundation - Promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Includes extensive list of funded activities.
Find an Investor - Venture Capital

· Venture capital or VC is funding invested, or available for investment, in an enterprise such as bringing invention to marketplace that offers the probability of profit (along with the possibility of loss) to an investor.

· Traditionally, venture capital is part of the second or third stage of financing for a business startup, which starts with the entrepreneur (inventor) putting their own available funding into a shoestring operation.

· Next, an angel investor may be convinced to contribute funding. Generally an angel investor is someone with spare funds and some personal (family) or industry-related interest. Angels are sometimes said to invest emotional money, while venture capitalists are said to invest logical money that is they are willing to help give the new enterprise a more solid footing. Did you get your business plan together yet? Your potential investor will want to see it.

In closing, do not, I repeat, DO NOT use an invention company. They will try to lure you into their web by promising to do it all for you at what may appear to be a smaller capital input than described above. The fact is any money you spend with them will be a total loss.

Remember, the invention industry is a risk and a gamble. Don’t gamble with the invention companies.

Exclusive Funding Source Directory

Disclaimer: All information was accurate at time of directory compilation, is not responsible for any changes in guidelines, company policies and or contact information.


Official website for the SBA business loans.

Advanced Financial Organization Lends on Assets Based Financing


All City Services
Provides Business Loans in addition to Commercial Loans. (781) 233-4850

Bentley Banks Financial Corporation

Lends to Businesses as well as equipment leasing programs. (403) 328-3179

Berkman Financial Services Finances Businesses and Lends to Businesses. (925)


Business Finance Services Inc

A Great alternative source for business funding. 877-411-6691

Business Lenders, LLC

Non-Bank SBA Lender with great lending programs for businesses.

Loans & Cash Advances

Alternative source for business financing.

Capital Management Group

Funds business loans and international loans. (714) 439-9600

Creative Financial Corporation

A reliable business funding source. (212) 534-2795

DGH Financial Services Inc.

Source for SBA business funding. 818-998-3224

A & E Funding

Great business loan source. 201-944-8646

Execunet Financial Many different business financing options

Financial Managers Resource Great source for business funding. 978-256-8634

First Fund Source

Business Funding loan solutions (630) 410-8140

Interstate Finance Inc.

Business Financing Source (425) 203-0035

Sun State Consulting Great source for start-up financing.


Wachovia Corporate Services A reliable source for business loans.


it is very important for all inventors to understand that the invention process is a major risk. There are no guarantees of success. You must understand that any and all capital that you or your investors may invest into your project can be subject to complete loss. If you are not prepared or able to risk any monies, or if you cannot locate investors, it is highly recommended that you stop now and do not move forward with your invention idea.

Copyright © 2009 - Helping Inventors One Patent At A Time. All Rights Reserved

Monday, August 31, 2009

Invention Evaluation

Evaluation “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent.” - Thomas Edison
One of the most overlooked tasks in the invention process is product evaluation. A product evaluation should be conducted during the earliest stages of invention development. Why during the early stages? Because, you will soon reach a point where everything you do regarding your invention will cost money, sometimes lots of money.
The product evaluation is a very important, yet commonly skipped process. Neglecting to research the viability of a product is one reason only about 3% of patents ever make more money for the inventor than was invested. Inventors spend thousand of dollars getting their product patented only to discover that for whatever reason the product was not viable. They did not evaluate before patenting — a costly mistake.
There are many elements to consider in a product evaluation. Some of the more obvious points are the window of opportunity for a product, manufacturing costs versus perceived retail price, availability of necessary materials, size of the market, existing products, the fit with existing equipment, and ease of use.
A great deal of money can be saved discovering the facts before funds are spent on a presentation prototype and then more money filing a patent application.
You need to be able to objectively decide if your new invention will be able to do all of the following:
  • Can fulfill a consumer’s needs or desires.
  • Can be manufactured and sold at the right price, sold at no more than five times what it costs to make.
  • Can be delivered to market, a way to distribute your product is in place and the market opportunity is established.
  • Can pass safety, legal, environmental and performance expectations or standards.
If your new invention cannot pass all of the above criteria and your intention is to make money, you need to improve the areas that are weak before you continue to the next step. It is extremely important to evaluate your new invention early in the development stage. You can start with your own opinion and that of close friends, but it is unlikely that you or your friends have an objective opinion or the research ability to understand and determine if your new invention can meet the above criteria.
If you are trying to raise venture capital, sell or license your ideas, you will be ready with the hard facts that can impress a potential investor or buyer. Can you answer all of the questions by yourself that a professional report answers? Do you want to be left speechless at a business meeting? Do you want to appear naive?
The Invention Evaluation Test offered by will provide you all the tools you will need to complete an unbiased invention evaluation. There are 155 questions in the evaluation. At the conclusion of the test you will be given guidance as what to do next based on the results of your answers.

20-Point Invention Evaluation Checklist
Honestly evaluating your product against general, industry, market and product criteria will help determine whether it has a good chance of success. Use this checklist to lead to that evaluation.
You need to take into account complex variables, including the most unpredictable variable of them all: human behavior. This variable turned bell bottoms, Mood Rings and Hula Hoops into huge successes.
Review the Checklist below to get a better understanding of what a complete and professional new product evaluation will contain. Use the checklist as a guide to prepare for the complete evaluation.
General Criteria
__ Legal __ Environmental  __ Safety  __ Quality  __ Social acceptance __ Any negative impact
Industry Criteria
__ Competition __ Existing/similar products  __ One product or a line of products
__ Competitive pricing
Market Criteria
__ Trend  __ Need  __ Seasonal?  __ Long-term value  __ Who will buy it  __ Instructions
Product Criteria
__ Costs to get it to market  __Service/maintenance  __Warranty  __Packaging
This is a basic checklist to prepare you for the complete evaluation test. DO NOT ANWER THE ABOVE QUESTIONS NOW.

Tips on Testing Your Invention Ideas

Become a Buyer: You can begin testing your idea by trying to imagine that you are the person interested in buying the product. The important feature here is to be as objective as possible.
Ask yourself: ‘How will this product benefit me or my company?’ Write down as many answers as possible. The benefits of your product are vital to success.
Discuss the invention with others: Getting feedback is always important. It can highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the product. The obvious problem with talking to others is trust. You need to maintain confidentiality to prevent others from talking the idea for them selves.
Therefore, you can disclose the product idea in one of 2 ways. You can refer to the product in indirect terms by only discussing what problems the product solves and some of the benefits it has. Make sure you do not discuss the details of how it does it. Or, you can be very specific about the details of the product. If this is the option you choose, prior to disclosing your invention to others, make sure you ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The NDA ensures confidentiality. It binds the signatory to keep any talks with you about the invention confidential. It means that they cannot disclose commercial or technical information about your invention to any other individual, company or third party.
Market Research: If your invention is a consumer product that is going to available for sale in retail stores, you should go and visit the type of stores that you anticipate will carry your product. Look for any and all similar products. Perhaps even buy them if the costs are not too high. If you buy the products, show them to friends and neighbors and ask them their opinions of these products. Let them tell you the positives and negatives. Pay special attention to the negatives because this is where your product improvement can be.
Compare your product to these competitors. Compare retail prices, materials, packaging, legal protection and anything that has a relationship to your product. Look for ways to improve the product and build it into yours.
If your invention is more specialized or designed for the commercial trade or industry you should consider hiring a professional market research company. They have the knowledge and expertise to complete a market research report that will help you move forward. If you do hire a company, make sure you have them sign an NDA.
Copyright © 2009 - Helping Inventors One Patent At A Time. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Many of the invention scam companies advertise on TV, radio and/or especially on the Internet.
These companies promise to protect your invention, present the details of your product to manufacturers, distributors and retailers. They even promote that they represent you at tradeshows and assist in negotiate licenses agreements. They provide these services for an upfront fee.
These companies hire commissioned salespeople whose job is to contact inventors that responded to the advertising methods described above. The truth is that these salespeople care very little about your invention and will say practically anything to get the inventor excited and comfortable with the salesman. The salesmen only want to make a commission. These companies do very little in return for the money you just spent.
The following is the typical process followed by these illegitimate firms.
Step 1 – “The Hook”: The Company runs ads on television or radio offering free information for inventors on how to patent and market their inventions along with a TOLL-FREE number for ordering the material. The material that arrives is typically only promotional brochures about the company. In most cases it includes an invention submission document requesting the inventor to submit their invention in confidence. DO NOT SEND BACK THAT DOCUMENT!
Step 2 – “The Initial Pitch”: The salesperson makes a follow-up call to the inventor and explains the invention process (according to that company’s systems). They try to establish creditability with the inventor and ultimately offer for a fee, to obtain a registered patent attorney or patent agent’s opinion letter and a marketing analysis report for the invention.
This so-called marketing analysis is a complete waste of money. Over 90% of the information included in the report is generic that every inventor receives. Very little information is specific to the invention. They try to bolster the value of the report by including some kind of artwork. The artwork can be a 3D-drawing or even a first draft patent art piece. Regardless of the art medium, the only reason it’s included is to get the inventor excited when they see their invention come to life. It is nothing more than a ploy by the invention company to keep getting more money from you.
The salesperson typically states that if the opinion and analysis are favorable, the company will offer their services for patenting and/or marketing. The salesman tells the inventor that they will send an agreement that will explain and verify everything that the salesman told them. In most cases, the agreement is effectively a contract which describes in very oblique language the terms and conditions of the services which may vary significantly from the terms expressed verbally. Please note that it is always recommended that you consult a lawyer before signing any contract, particularly when you are uncertain as to what it is that you are signing.
In addition, the salesperson may suggest that in order to protect the invention that the inventor should also mail a set of the first set of documents to themselves. It is important to note that this does not protect your invention and is of little practical value.
Step 3 – “The Set-Up Pitch”: The inventor is told that the invention has passed a rigorous screening process and has been selected by the company for development. The company may even provide a “realistic” figure for cash advances and royalties that can be earned by the inventor. At this point, the company asks for an up-front fee for their services as well as a royalty of all further earnings from the invention. In some instances, the company also offers to reduce the royalty in exchange for more up-front money. However, the company does not notify the inventor of any negative opinion letters and the “market assessment” is typically not specific for the invention itself. That is, a market report for a new toothbrush would state how many toothbrushes were sold in North America last year and not identify the likely number of the invention which could be sold. Finally, the royalty rate quoted by the company is likely to sound very reasonable, because the company does not expect to make any money off of the up front fees – all of their profit comes from the royalties.
Nothing is farther from the truth. Rarely if ever does the inventor earn any royalties and obviously neither does the invention company. The company makes 100% of their profits from the up front fees.
Step 4 – “Marketing Services”: The invention company promises to present your invention to manufacturers, distributors and retailers. They even promote that they will represent you at invention tradeshows and assist in negotiate licenses agreements. However, their promotional package typically includes all of the inventions currently being promoted by the invention company and is not directed to any specific field or industry. These packages are sent arbitrarily to companies. Most if not all of the recipients generally discarded these packages because they know they are bogus. Think of this, does a busy manufacturer really have the time to browse through this package? The truth is that most manufacturers dislike these invention companies. They know who the legitimate companies are and will usually only do business with them.
The trade shows at which the invention is promoted (if it is promoted at all) is often a trade show for invention marketers. These trade shows do very little for the inventor but it sounds very credible. The invention company cannot possibly present all of the inventions they have because it would much too time consuming and it never happens that way.
The company may also offer to include your invention in a database and to relay all offers to you and help you in negotiating licenses. As you will appreciate, these services are of little benefit if no one sees the database and no offers are received.
Finally, the company may promise to file a “patent document” to protect your invention. This “patent document” may be: a patent filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. However, 90% of the patents offered by the invention company are Design patents. A Design patent only protects the way an article looks and NOT how it works. Therefore, if you have an invention with moving parts and the like and you only obtain a Design patent you actually have very little protection. It is not suitable for most inventions. On some occasions the invention company will provide a Utility patent with claims so narrow, that no effective protection is obtained. Even if the company employs a qualified patent agent or attorney to prepare the documents, it is important to note that the attorney is working for the company and not the inventor.
In closing; there are a number of warning signs that can indicate that the invention promotion company you are dealing with is not legitimate. These include the following:
· Company offers to provide invention assistance or promotion in exchange for large advance fees. If a company says that they make their money off licensing fees, why are they asking for up-front money? Reputable licensing agents rarely rely on up-front fees.
· Company claims to have great records licensing their clients’ inventions. Ask the firm how many clients have made more money than they spent. Ask for names of some representative clients.
· Company promises or assures you that your invention will make money. No one can guarantee an invention’s success.
Remember, once a dishonest company has your money, you are unlikely to ever get it back.
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