A Warning About Scams Targeting Investors
"Inventor Services " - Beware of services of companies who offer to "review", "market" or "submit your invention to manufacturers". There are many such firms who prey on small inventors and tell them their invention is "the best thing since sliced bread". They will further tell you that you don't need a patent, and for a fee (usually in the thousands of dollars) they will "market" your invention to thousands of firms. Once they have three to ten thousand dollars of your money, you will be hard pressed to even contact them. The television show 20/20 recently exposed such unethical business practices.
Use a Patent Attorney - No matter how you decide to proceed on your invention, make sure and use the services only of a Patent Attorney who is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The U.S. Patent Office only allows Registered Patent Attorneys to file patent applications on behalf of inventors. You can receive a list of Registered Patent Attorneys by contacting the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office directly, or you may wish to consult with your attorney for the name of local patent attorney. This is not to say that there are not honest firms out there that will offer this service. However, there are many firms who just want your money and will tell you what you want to hear to get it.
To the contrary, a Registered Patent Attorney will normally meet with you for an initial visit for free and let you know if you even have an invention. Good advice at no cost to you! If you decide to move forward at that point, the most prudent move is to have a patent search conducted and then decide if you wish to spend the money necessary to obtain a patent.
However, do not be afraid of rejection. An honest opinion from a Registered Patent Attorney may in fact be that you do not have an invention that is patentable. You are better off knowing this fact without spending thousands of dollars with an "inventor service" who will just take your money and tell you what you want to hear.
Our office will be happy to provide you a free initial interview by phone or fax about your idea. In other words, we don't charge you to tell you how much it's going to cost. Beware of firms asking for money up front and using high pressure sales.
Feel free to contact Donn K. Harms at the American Patent and Trademark Law Center personally by phone, fax, mail, or e-mail about your patent or trademark needs. We'll give you our honest opinion, even if you don't initially like what we have to say.