Consumer Protection

How to Protect Yourself: Invention Promotion Firms

Source: Florida Attorney General's Office


If you have developed a new idea for a product and wish to get it manufactured and marketed, legitimate invention promotion firms may be able to assist you in finding a suitable manufacturing company. Some invention promotion firms, however, do little more than promote their own interests by taking your money and giving you nothing in return. Be cautious and consider the following:

Question success and rejection rates.

Question the firm about its success and rejection rates. Success rates show the number of clients who made more money from their invention than they paid to the firm. Rejection rates reflect the percentage of all ideas or inventions that were found unacceptable by the promotion company. Be wary of a firm that refuses to disclose this information.

Require documentation of claims.

Be wary of firms that claim to have special access to independent manufacturers looking for new products, but refuse to document such claims. Also be wary of firms that guarantee the success of your product. Additionally, you should require that the firm check for existing patents.

Beware of large up-front fees or charges.

Ask, at the outset, what the total cost of these services will be. Beware of firms that require you to pay a large up-front fee prior to performing any services.

Investigate the company.

Before making any commitments, investigate the firm. Research the company online and contact the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org to determine what others have said about the firm. Call the Attorney General’s Office in the state in which the firm is located to find out if there are any consumer complaints against the firm.

Find out the qualifications and methodology of company evaluators.

Be cautious of an invention promotion firm that offers to review or evaluate your invention but refuses to disclose details about its criteria, system of review or the qualifications of company evaluators.

Beware of high pressure sales tactics.

Closely examine the contract. Make sure that your contract contains all agreed-upon terms before you sign it. If possible, have the agreement reviewed by an attorney prior to signing it.

File a complaint.

You may file a complaint against an invention promotion firm with the Attorney General’s Office online at www.myfloridalegal.com or by phone toll-free at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM. Additionally, you may want to file a complaint against the firm the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint and with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.