Many companies are out there looking to take advantage of your eagerness to bring your invention market. If you are planning to use an invention promoter, you need to understand how to tell the difference between a legitimate invention promoter from a swindle.
Legally, the firm must disclose specific information to you regarding their past business practices in a mandatory disclosure form before an invention promotion contract may be established between you and the firm. To quote the law, “an invention promoter shall have a duty to disclose the following information to a customer in writing, prior to entering into a contract for invention promotion services:
(1) the total number of inventions evaluated by the invention promoter for commercial potential in the past 5 years, as well as the number of those inventions that received positive evaluations, and the number of those inventions that received negative evaluations;
(2) the total number of customers who have contracted with the invention 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;
(3) the total number of customers known by the invention promoter to have received a net financial profit as a direct result of the invention promotion services provided by such invention promoter;
(4) the total number of customers known by the invention promoter to have received license agreements for their inventions as a direct result of the invention promotion services provided by such invention promoter; and
(5) the names and addresses of all previous invention promotion companies with which the invention promoter or its officers have collectively or individually been affiliated in the previous 10 years."
Research the reputation of invention promoters before making any commitments. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of any firm that promises too much and/or costs too much. Ask for references from their current clients and research the firm’s reputation.
Adapted from “Eye on IP” - Sheldon Mak & Anderson, Vol. No. 2013, October 25, 2013, www.usip.com/Publications/EyeonIP/131025.html