Scammers Prey on Ignorance; Arm Yourself with Info
The letters to our Web site from the far corners of the world illustrate the extreme difficulty of new product development in those countries. Those letters also highlight the advantage we have in the United States.
Anyone with a great idea and the motivation to bring it to life can find ways to do it in this country.
Beginning with Internet research from our own computers, there are multiple resources available to those who seek to understand the steps involved in commercializing a new product.
Where is all of this help? Start with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Inventor Support section. There you will find answers to almost every question a new inventor could ask regarding protecting a new idea. You also will find the transcripts from online chats with the patent office. These transcripts feature U.S. inventors asking and receiving real-time answers to their questions from the experts. It provides information on unethical invention marketing companies, which are rampant, and how to avoid them.
The site also provides a place for those who have already fallen prey to them to file a complaint, which the USPTO will publish. While the USPTO will not investigate complaints, the publishing of a complaint often brings a response from the offending company, something that inventors often are unable to elicit on their own.
Additionally, the patent office lists patent agents and attorneys who are licensed to practice before the USPTO and it lists every Patent and Trademark Depository Library in the United States. These libraries are another excellent source for assistance and answers. They also offer online brochures covering the different types of applications and how to file them. The direct assistance call-in number is 800.786.9199.
Another wonderful resource is your local inventor organization. These groups are composed of other inventors like yourself, some of whom have already developed, protected and marketed products. They often include patent agents and attorneys, prototype designers and marketing experts. These people usually offer free personal assistance and even free legal advice at these meetings. You will find a listing of most of these organizations on the Inventors Digest Web site.
Inventor Web sites are another way to get good information. The trick here is to be sure you have found a trustworthy site. The invention scammers often have slick, professional Web sites that lure unsuspecting novice inventors in with offers of free “invention kits.” This is information is that is free on the USPTO Web site with no strings attached.
One way to know that you have encountered a scammer is if they continue to phone and contact you and/or they tell you your idea is a sure-fire hit. Ethical invention assistance does not chase after you, nor does it make grandiose statements about your guaranteed success.
Work smart by utilizing available resources and join the ranks of successful inventors we celebrate every month.
Sisters Mary Russell Sarao and Barbara Russell Pitts are co-authors of “Inventing on a Shoestring Budget.”For help getting started or for more information, find them at www.asktheinventors.com