Why You Should Be Wary of "Inventor Services" Companies
There are many invention service companies that will claim they can get your invention to market for just a small fee. But like most things, getting your idea patented, produced and sold the right way takes some time, some sweat, and yes - some money.
There are many invention service companies who target small inventors or aspiring entrepreneurs. You won't be able to talk to a real person until you fill out a huge form and give them a lot of information about yourself, so they can send you "free" invention information that you simply "can't live without." Often, they allow you to submit your idea without a non-disclosure agreement that would prevent them from stealing your idea! They may tell you that you don’t need a patent, based on almost no research.
Then, they get to the good part. For a "small" or "nominal" fee (which usually ends up being neither small or nominal) they claim they will shop your invention around to thousands of companies and probably throw in a huge brand name, like Wal-Mart or others where they have been successful.
In truth, they may have had a successful product launch in Wal-Mart or another big store. But the success rates of these companies may be as low as 1-2%. They are looking for a high volume of small inventors to buy their services and using the very small amount of successful inventions as leverage to get your contact info and money.
So what's the right way to go about this? For starters, you should never ever EVER send a new invention to be manufactured before you've done your research. If you are not going to seek patent protection, thorough market research is in order. With this, you will discover what kind of person and how many people will be interested in buying your product, how much it will cost to make and sell it, and what distributors will carry your product.
If you are thinking of seeking patent protection (which will give you 20 years of exclusive right to use and sell your invention), you absolutely must perform a Patentability Search (also called a Prior Art Search). That is the best way to find out your chances at obtaining a patent before spending thousands of dollars on a patent application. The added benefits are that it will strengthen your patent application and also identify areas that you may want to alter in the design of your invention so that it will have a better chance of getting a patent.
Watch our Patentability Search video to learn more about taking the first step in your invention process.
July 6, 2011
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Disclaimer: No information on this blog is intended as legal advice or to substitute for legal advice and is offered for informational purposes only.
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