Using Invention Submission Services}

Submitted by: Steve Gillman

You see the ads for those invention submission services on television and in magazines. Getting the help you need to market your invention from a company that knows all the ins and outs – it’s a great idea, isn’t it? Of course, you may have also heard the stories of people who have spent $15,000 and more for these services, and gotten nothing but general advice and form letters sent out to potential buyers.

Frightening? It should be. Not all these companies are entirely ethical, and even the honest ones can take a lot of your money for no result. How do you protect yourself when hiring help for the invention submission process? Start by asking the following questions before you agree to a thing.

1. What is the total number of inventions they have evaluated in the last three years, and how many did they decline to represent? Most inventions out there are not really marketable. If the company accepts 90 percent of potential client’s inventions, they are more interested in quick money for themselves than in helping inventors.

2. Have they ever been investigated by, or in trouble with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), Better Business Bureau, Attorney general’s Office, or any other agencies? What was the result of the investigation?

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3. How many customers have made money due to their services? If they refuse to give any answer, or any examples, try the next company.

4. What is the total number of their customers who have received a licensing agreement as a result of their services? If it is less than 5%, try the next company.

5. What up front fees are required, and what do you get for that fee? The more reputable companies will have smaller fees. They plan (or hope) to make their money from royalty agreements they get for you. You want a company that is betting on your invention.

6. Can you get the names and phone numbers of previous customers. Get several that are in your area. If they can’t give you any, be suspicious.

7. Do they provide a written opinion of the marketability of your product? (Note: I paid for this from a company that does only this, and so has no bias. For less than $200, they took a good look at my product, and gave good reasons why it wasn’t very marketable. I suspect many invention submission companies would have gladly told me it was great and taken thousands to “promote” an invention that in the end wouldn’t sell.)

8. Can you get copies of any contracts and forms before you pay the fee? If not, move on.

9. Who chooses and pays the patent attorney? You should do this, so the attorney is directly representing you.

You may be a great inventor, but know nothing about patenting, selling or licensing an invention. This is why invention submission companies exist. Just be sure you get satisfactory answers to these important questions before you hire one.

About the Author: Copyright Steve Gillman. For inventions, new product ideas, business ideas, story ideas, political and economic theories, deep thoughts, and a free course on How To Have New Ideas, visit :


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