In a prelude to our upcoming post, “The Invention Industry Landscape”, it seemed appropriate to be blunt about some of the companies that have associated themselves to the inventing world. Beware invention scam companies. They can be real, real unscrupulous. Anyone who paints a picture different, has an agenda. Don’t get us wrong, we’re proud of our inventor community, and we’ll do everything we can to provide valuable resources in an effort to help you make the most informed decisions possible, when you decide to move forward with your idea.
First off do your homework, ask around, and with some common sense you’ll be able to identify the real players from the pirates. Here are some basic tips and best practices:
Be wary of ‘Invention Evaluation Committees’
Some companies claim to have special evaluation committees that can tell whether your invention will be successful or not. Yeah, right. Nobody can predict if an idea will translate into a profitable new product. Nobody.
There Are No Guarantees
If you hear or read the words “guarantee”, do yourself a favor and just move on. Another word for guarantee, promise. There are so many small time companies that “promise” you your idea will be a patent. Only the U.S. Patent Office can award patents.
Don’t Pay for Patents Advice from an Invention Company
Only patents attorney can provide advice on patents. Any invention company claiming to have in-house expertise on patents is up to no good. But wary, and be even more wary of companies pressuring you to patent before you prototype.
Read the Contract Carefully.
Another great way to spot a suspicious company is to look for discrepancies between their advertisements/promotional offerings and the actual contract they present to you. Read the fine print, and never, ever sign any contract unless you have your own attorney review it. It will cost money, but that’s money well spent
Watch Out for Sliding Fees
It may seem like a good deal when an invention company prefers a higher fee as opposed to less royalties, but again be wary. The truth is that there are very few inventions that make it big, so paying someone more money for services upfront is just ludicrous.
Every industry has it less desirables, think politics and show business. But if you keep a level head and use sound judgment, you’ll have no problems following through on your invention dream.