A Florida-based company claiming to promote inventions has been temporarily halted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The company, World Patent Marketing, has had its assets frozen by a Florida federal court, for providing almost no services yet taking substantial amounts of money from hopeful investors. The FTC has charged the owners of World Patent Marketing and Desa Industries, Inc. with deceiving consumers and attempting to suppress complaints or disparaging remarks against the company by threatening criminal prosecution. The FTC is seeking to “permanently stop the defendants’ practices and return money to consumer” (ftc.gov).
World Patent Marketing, promised to promote people’s inventions and took thousands of dollars but provided almost no services in return. Customers would pay thousands of dollars to the company to have their inventions patented and marketed. The company would take the money and then “string customers along for months or even years and not deliver on what they promised” (ftc.gov). When consumers would complain to the company or other organizations, World Patent Marketing would threaten consumers with criminal prosecution to prevent the complaints from surfacing. These threats would range from threats of legal action to the general discouragement of customers from publishing honest reviews of the company. The FTC mentions one particular instance where a consumer “sought a refund and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) received a letter from the defendants’ lawyer. The letter stated that requesting a refund was extortion under Florida law and, “since you used email to make your threats, you would be subject to a federal extortion charge, which carries a term of imprisonment of up to two years and potential criminal fines” (ftc.gov).
Your BBB Serving Central Indiana would like to remind you to do your research before doing business with any organization. Be sure to look up the business on bbb.org to read reviews and determine if a company has any complaints.
Source: FTC Halts Invention Promotion Scheme Charged With Bilking Millions of Dollars from Consumers. (2017, March 14). Retrieved March 20, 2017, from FTC.gov.
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