If an invention promotion comany contacts you, rather than the other way around, you should be immediately suspicious. Use this checklist to reduce the likelihood you are dealing with a scammer:
1) Check the company out against the United States Patent and Trademark Office complaint list;
2) Google the name of the company and the word “fraud” or “scam” to see what others are saying about the company;
3) Find out, in writing, how long the company has been in business. Be suspicious of any company less than two years old;
4) Get a written report listing during the last two years:
a. How many clients the company has had?
b. How many of those clients are subsidiaries of, or otherwise
affiliated with the company?
c. How many license agreements the company obtained for non-affiliated
d. How many clients received more royalties back from the company than
they paid the company?
e. How much of the company’s profit derives from non-affiliated client
royalties, as opposed to the up front fees paid by clients?
Typically, an invention promotion company will either refuse to give you this information in writing, or will give you different information in an attempt to cast their company in a better light. If this is the case, run, do not walk to the nearest exit. Unfortunately, there are a lot more inventions chasing dollars than dollars chasing inventions. If there was a company that could transform any invention into a profit center, the company would have tens of thousands of inventors on their doorstep the next day.
So how do you market your invention? You are the best marketer there is. You have to leverage your knowledge and excitement about the invention into sales. Before telling anyone about your invention, you should at least speak with a patent attorney to determine if the invention is patentable and what the cost of obtaining a patent might be.
After that, the best thing you can do is find an inventor who has been successful with a similar product and seek their assistance. If you cannot find a successful inventor to assist you, join a local inventors group and share your situation with others in the same situation. Turning a profit on your invention is more a question of action and perseverance than luck. More often than not “overnight” success comes from years of doing the legwork and research needed to meet the right people and make the best pitch. Good Luck!