As the United Inventors Association of America blogged today there are some things to think about when looking for one of the many service providers in the inventing industry. Like most industries there are good and bad companies selling dozens of services needed to commercialize an invention. Here are the tips from the UIA:
1. 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. This is required information under the Inventor Protection Act and they should provide it to you.
2. Ask for references: Ask for the names of three satisfied customers that you can talk to. You do this with a babysitter, with a car…why not with your checkbook?
3. Avoid too much pressure: Are their sales people calling you often using high pressure tactics?
4. Are they sending you pre-signed confidentiality agreements in their „free kits“? Only sign agreements after you decide you want to use them or anyone else (but before discussion of any ideas).
5. Have they asked you to write your ideas down and mail them to yourself? This process is a myth; it will not protect your idea.
6. Early in your discussions, ask what the total cost of services will be. Not just the one they want to sell you first, ask for an outline of all their services and what ones will be required to actually allow you to make money in the end. Any hesitation to answer is normally a bad sign.
7. Market evaluations 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.
8. Do they check on pre-existing patents for your same idea? Some companies will promote almost any idea, without knowing if there is patent infringement involved.
9. Do their „patent searches“ come without a written opinion of patentability? Do they refuse to provide in writing the resulting number of favorable patent searches vs unfavorable searches they experience?
10. 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 properly protected it.
11. Avoid a jack-of-all-trades. No one is an expert in all those fields, ask them how they can evaluate many different categories of innovation.
12. Watch out for addresses that don’t match, they claim to be in one state but the mailing address is different. The same for no direct phone contact, are you always reaching their voicemail?
13. Ask all the above questions and be on triple alert if you’re responding to a slick TV, radio and magazine ad – the real guys have to advertise too, so know what to look out for.
And here is the inpama recommendation:
The company and its professional inventor consultants have more than 13 year of experience in the invention industry, lot´s of successful inventors, do not use high pressure tactics or send pre-signed confidentiality agreements.
InventorHaus Inc. is a dedicated invention marketing and consulting company possessing a unique advantage over other related firms: it is the only marketer who can guarantee to place your finished product into a store.
In addition to guaranteeing market placement for your invention, InventorHaus, Inc. offers a full range of services to help inventors bring their ideas into reality. From project planning and management to prototype construction, InventorHaus, Inc. supports you through each step of the inventing process, even offers market evaluation and checks pre-existing patents!