I was recently thinking about the television and internet advertisements I have seen recently for invention promotion and invention submission companies. You know the ones, where they say “Do you have an invention, or product?” or “We can submit your product to companies!”
Please be careful.
I have had at least 4 or 5 clients come in after spending thousands of dollars with such companies, and who received very little in return. Usually they get a beautiful hard-bound report that gives a short summary of their product or invention, then has a “market analysis” section that talks about how gigantic the market is for that product in the US or the world, and how they could possibly make hundreds of thousands or more if they pursue their product or invention. When I look at these pretty reports, this market analysis is almost always little more than boilerplate language with no real analysis of the client’s invention or product. When I talk to the clients they invariably tell me that they only talked to a salesperson on the phone, and they salesperson says something like “If you want to take this product to the next step, you need to pay us ____ thousands of dollars”. But they never talk to a patent attorney at the invention promotion company.
Numbers I have seen show that as little as 0.035% (that is less than 1/10 of 1 percent!) and up to 0.37% of clients of invention promotion companies ever make more than what they spend in fees to the invention promotion companies. IPWATCHDOG has an article on these percentages that can be seen here.
Making money on inventions is hard, but using invention promotion companies can end up costing you a lot of money with very little to show for it.
What I recommend for inventors to achieve success is that they generally have to do the leg work on their own. They have to go out and hustle their inventions themselves, and get their products made and put on store shelves, or sold through the internet. Paying a lot of money to an invention promotion company gives you well less than a 1% chance of making more money than you spend on fees.
If you talk to a registered patent attorney, they have a duty to give you honest counseling on the best way forward. As a patent attorney, I take a critical look at all my clients’ inventions and give them my best advice on whether it is worth pursuing the invention.