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Inventing 101 - Questions For Promoters

From Mary Bellis,
Your Guide to Inventors.
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Required information disclosure from promoters and promotion firms.

If you decide to use the services of an invention promoter or invention promotion firm, keep in mind that the firm must disclose specific information to you regarding their past business practices. This mandatory disclosure is required by law and is intended to help you make an informed decision whether or not the firm will meet your needs.

Specifically, before a contract can be established between you and the firm, each firm must disclose to you in writing each of the following items of information:

  1. The total number of inventions evaluated by the promoter for commercial potential in the past 5 years, as well as the number of those that received positive evaluations, and the number of those that received negative evaluations.

    In other words, how much experience does the promoter have? What is their track record? Do they generally give mostly positive or negative evaluations, or is there a balance between their positive and negative evaluation history?

  2. The total number of customers who have contracted with the promoter in the past 5 years, not including customers who have purchased trade show services, research, advertising, or other nonmarketing services from the invention promoter, or who have defaulted in their payment to the invention promoter.

    This information will give you an idea of just how experienced the promoter or firm is and the volume of services they provide.

  3. The total number of customers known by the promoter to have received a net financial profit as a direct result of the services provided by such promoter.

    What financial impact, if any, has the promoter or firm actually made to its customers?

  4. The total number of customers known by the promoter to have received license agreements for their inventions as a direct result of the invention promotion services provided by such promoter.

    Like item 3 above, this information will also enable you to gauge the effectiveness of the firm in evaluating its direct impact on its customers. Note the key words in the last two requirements--"…as a direct result of the invention promotion services provided by such invention promoter". Be aware that just because a license agreement was eventually secured for a given invention does not necessarily mean that it was a "direct result" of the promotion activities of the firm.

  5. The names and addresses of all previous invention promotion companies with which the promoter or its officers have collectively or individually been affiliated in the previous 10 years.

    This information will help you to know the history of the promoter or firm, even if the promoter changes firms or the firm changes its name.

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