Some companies offer to conduct research or market evaluations on invention ideas. Others promise to help with patenting, licensing or marketing. Beware if companies:
Realistically, few patented inventions are successful and most reputable firms:
During National Inventors Month, the BBB serving Mississippi recommends steps to help protect inventors' investments:
· Document everything. Fill out a Record of Invention to help experts determine whether patent protection will be sought. This legal form briefly describes the invention, date of conception, its advantages and features.
· Consider the costs. It takes time and money to develop inventions. Calculate possible fees and expenses.
· Investigate prospective "Product Development and Marketing" companies and "Patent Agents." Check for records with BBB.
· Consult experts. Search for patent attorneys and agents through the USPTO.
· Know the laws. The American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 requires invention promoters to reveal details on their success rates within the previous five years. Compare how many inventions have been evaluated to the number produced.
· Before discussing ideas, request a copy of the company's confidentiality agreement and review it carefully before signing.