If you are looking for a way out of the 9-to-5, you’re probably daydreaming about starting your own successful business. You may even dream of becoming an inventor, fleshing out your great ideas and bringing them to an eager marketplace. But before you sign up with a smooth-talking patent company, you need to do your homework.
Once you have an idea for a great new product, you will probably be anxious to pursue a patent and bring it to market. However, you should not let your haste get in the way of good judgement. Not using the proper judgement or common sense puts you in a position to possibly fall victim to a scam.
There are lots of scammers operating in the world of patents and inventions. According to the photo etching manufacturing team at Advanced Metal Etching Inc., knowing the warning signs is the best way to protect yourself. If you spot an unethical service provider displaying any of the eight common warning signs listed below, you should immediately run the other direction!
- You found out about the company on late-night TV. Beware of those slick infomercial ads; they are more times than not hiding a dark secret.
- You cannot reach an actual real person by phone, and no one answers your written website inquiries or direct emails. If a firm is unresponsive right out of the gate, how can you rely on them to guide your invention to market?
- The firm guarantees that you will get a patent for your invention. No legitimate company would make such an offer, and you shouldn’t trust anyone who makes such an assertion. Obtaining a product patent is very difficult and can take a substantial amount of time.
- The company advises you to file for a design patent. A design patent has limited usefulness in the modern marketplace, and chances are it will do little good. In fact, this could lead to your idea being stolen.
- The representatives at the firm gush about your invention, proclaim it’s the greats thing since sliced bread and claim you will easily make millions of dollars. No company can guarantee such outlandish results, and any company that makes such claims is not worth your time or money.
- You are asked to pay an upfront fee, with the promise that the money will be deducted from your future earnings. This shady tactic is common among scam artists.
- You are told to write out your idea and mail it to yourself. Shady patent operators may claim that this tactic helps establish the date of your invention, but this is worthless advice – and a waste of a perfectly good stamp.
- The company cannot, or will not, provide references from past clients. If the firm is legitimate, they should be happy to give you the names of other inventors they have helped. It’s important to also do your online research. See what past clients have to say about the company you are considering working with. You might quickly locate negative reviews, rip off reports or past lawsuits against this service provider.
Having a great idea for a new product is exhilarating, and new inventors are understandably excited. They want to share their ideas with the world, capitalize on their hard work and solve the problems they have identified.
Unfortunately, this desire to get to the market quickly opens up many scam artists who operate in this area. Understanding patent law can be a real challenge, and navigating your way through it will be quite challenging. Understand that there are no shortcuts from idea to invention to market. If what you are hearing sounds too good to be true, it probably is.