all you have of your invention is an idea, don't ever take the easy way out
and think an invention company is going to do everything for you. Many of these
companies are not the real deal.
Avoid getting ripped off.
Difficulty Level: Medium
Time Required: NA
Ask for their success
rate: Ask for in writing the number of ideas they have represented and how
many inventors made more money than they invested.
Ask for references:
Ask for the names of three satisfied customers that you can talk to.
Avoid too much
pressure: Are their sales people calling you often? Are you hearing, "Let's
do it now/asap."
Are they sending
you pre-signed confidentiality agreements in their "free kits":
No, you sign agreements after you decide you want to use them or anyone else
(but before discusses any ideas).
Have they asked
you to write your ideas down and mail them to yourself? That is not protection.
Early in your discussions,
ask what the total cost of services will be. Any hesitation to answer is a
provide an objective evaluation of the merit, technical feasibility, and commercial
viability of your invention. Ask for their criteria, system of review, and
the qualifications of company evaluators.
Do they check on
existing invention patents for your idea. Bad companies will promote almost
any idea, without knowing if there is patent infringement involved.
Do their "patent
searches" come without a written opinion of patentability? Do they refuse
to provide in writing the number of favorable patent searches vs unfavorable
searches. You will want both.
Do they recommend
that a design patent be applied for? Only a minority of inventions should
fall in this category. Also watch out if they offer a "money back guarantee"
if the patent does not issue.
If they claim to
have a special relationship with a manufacturer, ask for proof. Watch out,
if they ask you to submit your idea to a manufacturer before you have a patent.
Avoid a jack-of-all-trades.
They send a "free kit" or in reality more advertising, then sell
you a market evaluation package, and later a patent, marketing and licensing
package. No one is an expert in all those fields.
Watch out for addresses
that don't match, they claim to be in one state but the mailing address is
different. Ditto for no direct phone contact, are you always reaching their
Ask all the above
questions and be on triple alert if your are responding to a slick TV, radio
and magazine. Yes, the real guys have to advertise too, so know what to look
good guys too. Even if none of the above apply, call your local Better Business
Bureau, check with the FTC and the bad guys listings under "Invention
In reality, few inventions
make money, most real invention service providers are highly selective about
who they work with.
Deal with each aspect of your
invention process separately to get quality, legitimate work. You
need experienced experts in each field.
Therefore use patent lawyers/agents
for filing and searching - ditto for such services as prototype or mold making,
manufacturing, market evaluation, advertising, licensing etc..