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Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 @ 6:02 PM
If you’re a would-be inventor, you’ve probably seen ads on TV promising patent help and offering to take your invention and market it to a mainstream audience — making you fabulously wealthy along the way.
When you’ve got an idea for a new product, you’ve got to tread carefully in the world of patent help. That’s because many companies out there are happy to take your money with the promise of doing patent research for you, helping you through the patent process and bringing your idea to market.
Yet, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. There is one commonality among the bad guys, though: Most ripoff invention services will use a three-step program to take your money.
“Your best bet is to find an invention broker to propose your idea to a company,” Clark says. “Non-profit inventors clubs, which can be found in many cities, also are excellent for sharing ideas and providing encouragement.”
He also advises hopeful inventors to look at their local library for books that can offer legitimate advice on how to bring inventions to market.
A few of the titles Clark likes for this purpose are two by Richard Levy — Inventing and Patenting Sourcebook and The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Cashing In on Your Inventions — and one by David Pressman called Patent It Yourself.
Finally, Clark advises that before you approach anyone to help you patent your idea, be sure to follow the “if you build it, they will come” approach to invention.
“It’s important to create a working prototype of your idea, because companies won’t buy ideas from sketches,” he notes.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a great resource for complete information on patents and the patent process. But they also have a list of 10 red flags you should be on the lookout for when you’re seeking patent help:
According to the USPTO, any legitimate invention promoter is also required by law to be forthcoming with the following info from the last five years of doing business:
This is an industry that’s fraught with danger, so be careful out there.