(Note: These tips pertain to the industry cited above and do not necessarily track our experience with the company in whose report they appear. In particular, industry complaints referenced below are typical of the industry as a whole, but not necessarily every company in the industry.)
Invention promotion companies will often work by selling their services or selling how-to books. Both are discussed below.
Invention promotion service companies may help improve your product's chances in the marketplace, but many companies take advantage of inventors. The Federal Trade Commission describes invention promotion fraud as extremely persistent. Before signing up with anyone take these steps: (1) Ask that any assertions you are relying on be written down; (2) Ask for a written statement showing how many clients have made more money from their invention than the amount paid to the company, and ask how many clients have not made back their fees and other charges; (3) Review all contracts and other paperwork with an attorney familiar with patent and contract law; (4) Do not assume that if a company is willing to take your money it means the company thinks it can help you.
Invention promotion booksellers may use as speakers people who have successfully sold other products. Judge the books on their own merit, not on the fame or past success of the sales people.
Publications for inventors are available from the Federal Trade Commission at 214-979-0213, the U.S. Patent Office at 800-786-9199, the Small Business Administration at 800-827-5722, your local public library, bookstores, and various online sources.