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Thread: [Patent Filing Service] InventHelp

  1. #1
    Disgruntled Scientist dgiharris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    [Patent Filing Service] InventHelp

    Even though this is not writing related I thought I'd post a warning about those companies that help you patent that great idea that you have. If you have a question or advice, post it in this thread.

    These companies are counting on your ignorance of the whole invention => patent => product to market process.

    These companies share a HUGE parallel with the PA scam.

    What they do is they charge you for what you are going to do anyway.


    They appeal to that great idea that you have and they mention a host of products similar to your idea to show you that 'yes you too can be a millionaire' even though these are products THEY DID NOT help with.

    They send you a 'kit' and the kit is a standard how to apply for a patent kit, but instead of the US patent office it is their company logo on it.

    You fill all this crap out (just like you would for the US patent office) and then you send it to the company. They then take that kit and send it to the US patent office while charging you a few hundred or thousand dollars in the process.

    And that is it. That is all they do. They will also send you a boiler plate 'take-your-product-to-market' kit and they will allude to helping you, but the only help you get is the kit which you can get at the local library.


    Similar to PA, you think that they take your idea, polish it, edit it, get patent attorneys, apply for the patent, get the patent, go talk to manufacturers, go talk to businesses, do a marketing campaign, secure deals with the appropriate manufactures and companies, work out the pricing and margins, involve you in the process, sign a deal with a company, and your product goes to market while you collect the royalties and get rich.


    Send you a kit. You fill out the kit. They send your kit (un edited) to the US Patent Office. It sits there and will be rejected (90% of all 1st time patent requests are rejected) a year passes while they pump you for more money and talk up your product idea to you. You send more money, they send it to a patent attorney and then it goes back to the USPO.

    Lets assume you do get the patent. Big deal. THere are MILLIONS of patents that go nowhere. Someone still needs to then do the legwork and that leg work is expensive and takes time and HARD WORK. And that Invention Company that by now you've paid a few thousand dollars too DOES NOTHING. They just sit there sending you kits that require you to do all the work while promising you easy money.

    Don't believe me?

    Here are some questions you should ask the Invention Alert company.

    1) How many clients have you had? (they will be happy to give you this number and it will be in the tens of thousands)
    2) How many clients do you have per year? (again, happy to tell you, in the thousands)
    3) Out of all your clients, how many have been granted FULL patents by the USPO. (they will try to quibble here and tell you patent pending status which is NOT a FULL PATENT)
    4) Exactly how many FULL Patents do you have? (They will try to allude to hundreds but if you widdle them down they will admit to a few dozen)
    5) Out of those thousands of clients, how much revenue is generated from their ideas per year? (They will quibble here again, but if you widdle them down they will hang up the phone)
    6) How many actual products are on the shelf at a MAJOR DISTRIBUTOR out of those thousands of clients? (If they are still on the phone, out of thousands, there will be less than 10)

    So beware. This is as bad a scam as PA.


    End Part I.
    Last edited by dgiharris; 05-21-2009 at 09:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Disgruntled Scientist dgiharris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Part II. O.K. if those Invention Companies can't help, what do you do?

    O.k. so you have a great idea. Lets say it is for a product. Here is the path you should take.


    Step 1: What Exactly is your idea?

    Sounds simple right, but many people mess up right here. You need to understand EXACTLY what your idea is and is not. It needs to be concrete not some abstract wishy washy thing. But something solid. It also needs to be one thing. If there are multiple versions PICK ONE, the best one. The other versions can be follow-ons AFTER you create the first product line.

    Step 2: What problem does it solve?

    There are MILLIONS of fantabulous super-duper products that have put their inventors in the poor house. Unless your product solves a problem it is USELESS. "But wait, I have this really cool idea..." Does it solve a problem? No. Then it is useless. PERIOD.

    Step 3: Is there a need for this problem solving product?

    If the problem it solves isn't that big a deal, then big deal.

    Step 4: What other products solve this problem and how does my product idea compare

    You need to understand the competition space to include price and effectiveness. If you invent something that is 3 x more expensive and 4 times less effective then what is already out there then you are throwing money away.

    Step 5a: Market size and Market conditions and ID'ing your target audience

    You need to understand the potential market and demographic. Are we talking thousands of people or millions? Is your idea seasonal? Periodic? A Consumable? A Singular purchase with an unlimited lifetime?

    Step 5b: Response of a sample target audience.

    Run your idea by your target audience and understand if you have a viable product or not.

    Step 6. How will potential manufacturers and business feel about your product?

    If your product is a consumable, manufacturers and business will love it. If your product takes up a shit load of shelf space, that is a challenge. If your product is seasonal or dependant on certain envirnonments, ensure you target the right areas.


    Step 7) Proof of Concept Prototype

    If possible, build a proof of concept prototype to ensure that it is a plausable idea. This proof of concept will look NOTHING like the final version, you are just putting something together to test the principles of your idea to ensure it is feasible. It can be as simple as going to home depot, spending $20 on parts, duct taping everything together and testing it out on 'whatever'.

    Step 8) Product Design

    This is both simple and complex and also depends on your background and skill sets. Suggest you have some brainstorming sessions, get some books, and look about online.

    In terms of the actual design. The best avenue is to use friends with the required skill set. Also, college kids (mechanical engineering, CAD designs, etc) are EXTREMELY CHEAP. If you have the money you can hire a firm but realize that this course can costs $5K - $100K.

    Step 9) Supply Chain and Manufacturing process

    You need to develop the supply chain for your product. Where would all the parts come from? How much will they cost? What are the volume prices? Who will build it? What parts make sense to build yourself and what parts make sense to give to a manufacturer? What will be your manufacturing process in the beginning? What is your manufacturing process end game?

    Step 9: Prototyping

    Build a few prototypes, shake out the bugs.

    Step 10: Prototype evaluation by Sample Target Audience.

    Find out if it is a hit by your target audience and or if any tweaking redesigning is required. Odds are, there will be something.

    Step 11: Redesign and final productization

    Step 12: Now you're ready to go after distributors and retailers.

    This is just a quick list I came up with, but it will prove infinitely more useful than those stupid Invention Alert Companies.

    You will also need to get a book on Patents and may need to hire a Patent Attorney (suggest you do as much as you can first THEN get the attorney).

    Overall, to realize a product, plan on it costing between $20K - $100K depending on the product, amount of design work, patenting, and shaking out your supply chain and manufacturing. If you did it full time, you could probably realize it in six months. If you do it part time, it can stretch out over a couple of years. Meanwhile, you can apply for a patent and be protected by patent pending status.

    Anyways, I was so sick of seeing this Invention Alert Commercials.

    good luck and hope you find this useful

    Last edited by dgiharris; 05-22-2009 at 06:41 AM.

  3. #3
    Disgruntled Scientist dgiharris's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Someone sent me a question, so I thought I'd answer here. If you have a question please post it in this thread and I will answer.

    I have a great idea. I want to talk to some companies but scared they will steal my idea. What should I do?
    There is a legal document called a "Non-Disclosure Aggreement". There are two types, a unilateral and a bi-lateral. In a unilateral, one party agrees that they will not disclose nor act upon ANY information shared during a meeting/engagement. THe time period is specified in the NDA, industry standard is 3 years. The NDA also prevents them from sharing the info with ANYONE.

    A bi-lateral NDA means that both parties will disclose information and both parties promise not to use the other party's information or share with 'other' parties.

    Now, if the information is already available to the public (i.e. you are discussing woodworking) then the NDA does not apply to that particular subset.

    Big companies usually will not sign a unilateral NDA.

    Should you be worried about a company stealing your idea? Depends on the company. If you are going to what is called a Contract Manufacturer (i.e. all they do is build stuff) then no, you are safe. Most CMs have no problem signing NDAs as they really don't 'invent' anything.

    But if you are going to an R&D company (i.e. you need some design work done) there is a possibility. The possibility increases with how well your idea lines up to that company' strategic roadmap. R&D companies really don't like to sign unilaterals.

    If you are going to a design company, 9/10 times you have nothing to worry about, they don't mind signing NDAs.

    Basically, you should be able to find a company that will not mind signing an NDA.

    You can download an NDA from some of those legal document sites.

    hope this helps

    Last edited by dgiharris; 05-21-2009 at 08:24 PM.

  4. #4
    Wahoowa Tburger's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Deep South
    I used to be a patent examiner on my way to being a patent attorney before I ran away from the whole business screaming. If you have an invention, get a lawyer. Be willing to pay the lawyer. If you want to keep costs down tell him/her not to shoot for the moon on what the patent claims.

    We used to laugh and roll our eyes at pro se applicants.
    Bio/bibliography: Campbell Award Profile

  5. #5
    Disgruntled Scientist dgiharris's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Just saw another string of invention alert companies. Thought i'd give this a bump


  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Fenika's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Kewl. When I finally get around to fiddling with that crazy idea of mine (to see if it's remotely feasible), this will be of use

    Course it's been a few years and I'm not holding my breath, heh.

    Visit my blog: A walk-through guide to Eastern European castles.

    Gardeners of AW, Unite!

  7. #7
    Disgruntled Scientist dgiharris's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Just my occasional bump. Saw their commercial again, it always annoys me

    Last edited by dgiharris; 08-31-2009 at 07:04 PM.

  8. #8
    What? I have a title? Julie Worth's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by Tburger View Post
    We used to laugh and roll our eyes at pro se applicants.
    It's not that difficult to get a patent pro se, especially if you've worked for a corporation and watched how attorneys do it. And studied the four foot thick manual. Even so, it's hard to get one allowed with good claims, and much harder to make any money on it. The number of issued patents is roughly equivalent to the number of books in print, and the same could be said for the percentage of patents and books that make any real money. Probably one in a hundred for the individual inventor or self published author.

    And as a person who once worked in a scientific capacity and occasionally looked at outside patents, it was always with the attitude of, how do we get around this? Most of the time the claims were pathetically narrow--ie, worthless except as an ego boost for the inventor. A quick way to judge is to look at the length of the claims. If the first claim is a couple of lines, it might be good. If it rambles on for twenty, it's very likely worthless.
    Last edited by Julie Worth; 08-31-2009 at 04:42 PM.


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