Beware of Scammers!
Those companies advertising “help” to inventors with slick ads in magazines and fast talk on late-night TV? Mostly, according to the PTO, they’re just scams. If the patent ever issues – and the odds of that happening are probably slim – guess who’ll end up owning it?
For more information about invention scams, see the PTO’s “Top Ten Warning Signs” and other information quoted below…or download their original flyer from: http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/web/offices/com/iip/documents/scamprevent.pdf.
Quoted PTO material is in bold italics.
THE TOP TEN SCAM WARNING SIGNS:
1. Slick ads on radio, TV and magazines. (These are the first “hooks.”)
2. Refusal to respond to your questions in writing signed by a company official. (Legitimate companies will provide the answer in writing.)
3. Salespersons want money right away — up front.
4. You are told to describe your idea in writing, mail it to yourself and don’t open the envelope. (This is worthless advice.)
5. You are promised a patent search, but no patentability opinion by a patent attorney/agent. (This should be provided to you.)
6. You are guaranteed to get a patent or your money back. (No one can guarantee issuance of a useful patent.)
7. You are advised to apply for a design patent. (This type of patent has limited applicability to most inventions.)
8. You can’t reach salespeople or company officials without leaving many messages. (Maybe there is no real office location or company.)
9. You are told that your idea is a “sure-fire” hit! (Probably every client of this company is told this. Be skeptical!)
10. Refusal to provide client references or copies of forms and agreements for your review. (Get at least five names to contact and show the forms to an attorney before signing.)
BEWARE OF THE “HOOKS” THAT LEAD YOU INTO A SCAM!
1. The “free” inventor’s kit;
2. Phone calls to get your money for an invention evaluation;
3. The evaluation then leads to a request for more money to create a report;
4. The “report”, in a nicely bound book, says that your invention is patentable and marketable; and
5. Now there is need for more money to continue the process of getting a patent and marketing your invention.
WRITE A LETTER….
to any promotion, marketing or licensing company that seeks to help you and ask for answers to the TEN QUESTIONS listed below. Use common sense in evaluating the answers….