An anonymous reader wrote the following in response to my blog
article about the poor success of Davison and InventHelp, two of the more well known Invention Promotion Companies. I felt his response desired a response from me. Read my article, his comment and my response thereto and draw your own conclusions. And, of course, feel free to leave comments of your own either in support of me or the anonymous reader. Here is his unedited comment:I am not an employee of Inventhelp or Davision, I am a patent searcher. Your bashing marketing companies because they are not making inventors rich. Do you make your clients rich? How many applications have you completed for clients and those clients ( I am talking about a regular person not a company) turned around and magically got rich? When you perform patent services for a client that is all they get, if there lucky. Maybe the get a patent. A marketing company at least tries to sell there idea's to companies so they can make money. If I had a choice to obtain a patent I would not go to an IP firm and get a patent. What does that give me, a patent. Now what? I am an inventor. I don't have contacts to large corporations to sell my IP. It is NOT marketing companies fault if corporations do not buy/license a clients patent. But you are holding them responsible for it. If you put something on Ebay to sell and it does not sell is it Ebay's fault? No, no one wanted what you had to sell. So your feelings toward marking companies can NOT be because the percentages of clients that make money is low. It can't be because some marketing companies are crooks because there are a lot more crooked patent attorneys out there than marketing companies. So what is your exact beef with marketing companies?My response to each point:I am not an employee of Inventhelp or Davision, I am a patent searcher.OK, I guess I have to take your word on that since you did not reveal who you are. Why not put your name down. Plenty of inventors read this blog and may be looking for a good patent searcher. Heck, my firm does orders a lot of patent searches and we can always use another great patent searcher. If you are great, let us know. Why not plug your business?My suspicion is that while you may not work for Davison or InventHelp, you may work or derive your work from one of these companies or another invention promotion company. In the interest of full disclosure, I would appreciate it, if you would come clean.Your bashing marketing companies because they are not making inventors rich.Actually, that is not true. Not once in my article did I use the word rich. Truth be told as indicated in my article: the success rates I indicated were the percentage of customers of the two companies that actually made more than they spent with the company. The numbers came directly from the companies' own web sites. I was merely reiterated what they themselves had reported.
If you read the rest of my blog articles and review my website including my FAQ section
, you will realize I am very forthright and honest about how few inventors actually make money from their invention. I sincerely believe, however, the success rates of companies like Davison and InventHelp are WELL BELOW industry norms, and their own statistics appear to bare this out.Do you make your clients rich? How many applications have you completed for clients and those clients ( I am talking about a regular person not a company) turned around and magically got rich?The honest answer is none: it is almost impossible for anyone to "magically" get rich in the inventing game. It takes lots of hard work and perseverance. Again, I talk about this in the aforementioned FAQ section. Now are there clients of mine that commercializing their inventions and have a real chance at being successful? You better believe it! One of the big problems with the invention promotion companies in my opinion are that they sell the dream with almost no dose of reality: they would have you believe that if you use them, you will become or may become magically rich. This just ain't true and their own numbers prove it!A marketing company at least tries to sell there idea's to companies so they can make money.
I just can't agree with that statement: I honestly don't believe invention promotion companies actually try to make their clients money. OK, that is a bit harse. Perhaps, they do try a little: a very very little.
It is my very strong opinion that inventors can do so much better trying to sell their inventions to companies than any invention promotion firm can. I would venture a guess that the success rate of individuals promoting their own inventions is on the order of 1-5%. I have not done any studies but these are numbers I have seen mentioned. If my belief is true this would mean that an inventors chances of success on their own is about an order of magnitude greater than the chances an invention promotion company will be successful.
By the way, there are a select few upstanding marketing companies out there. They are, however, hard to find. They don't have huge marketing budgets so you will not find them advertising on television or in heavy rotation on the radio. I suspect they believe in spending the money clients give them on actual services instead of expensive marketing to draw in new clients.It is NOT marketing companies fault if corporations do not buy/license a clients patent. But you are holding them responsible for it.OK, let us assume it is not the invention promotion company's fault. If we take you premise that corporations aren't buying the inventions promoted by the invention promotion company, why would any well informed inventor ever use one of these companies? And why would any invention promotion company, and more particularly its owners, knowing that they are not, except for a very few select and rare instances, going to be able to sell an inventors idea to a company continue in the business. Where is the pride. If I knew I was just taking people's money with the realization that almost all would never receive any value back from the expenditure, I don't think I could sleep at night. I respect my clients and try to lay everything on the table: their chances of success; whether a patent makes sense for them in terms their chances at getting quality protection; and the potential costs of the process. I never promise that a client will be able to license an invention to a company. In fact, I let them know how difficult and rare that is. I don't get the feeling the invention promotion companies as a whole are doing this. If you know of exceptions, please point them out. I will investigate and if this turns out to be true, I will be the first to announce it in this blog. It can't be because some marketing companies are crooks because there are a lot more crooked patent attorneys out there than marketing companies.
I guess I don't understand exactly what you are trying to say in the above sentence but I will take a stab at it anyway. I HAVE NEVER ACCUSED ANY PARTICULAR INVENTION PROMOTION COMPANY OF BEING CROOKED. In fact, I believe that most try to operate within the law if not barely. I do have my suspicions about a few but I have never accused them publicly of breaking the law (as a point of clarification, I have no knowledge or evidence that Davison or InventHelp, the subject companies of the original article, are currently breaking the law).
The fact is, however, many invention promotion companies have in the past found themselves in trouble with the law and several executives and owners have done time. In the past, several invention promotion companies have been sued by the Federal Trade Commission including the Invention Submission Corporation (ISC), which is now goes by the service mark InventHelp. In fact, ISC paid the FTC 1.2 million dollars pursuant to a 1994 settlement. See the FTC RELEASE
for more information. Now, it has been a while since the settlement, so perhaps ISC has changed it ways. Their website and marketing materials seem to indicate a change for the better. Nevertheless, I do not feel that their services are a good value for consumers.
EDIT - after writing the foregoing, I came upon this judgement
against Davison from early 2006. This is a good read that reinforces my points. And keep in mind these are conclusions of law in fact made in a Federal Court after Davision was sued by the FTC. Anonymous may argue Davison has changed since then BUT do companies like this really change? I personally doubt it. And why spend hard earned money with a company with a checkered past when there are reputable marketing companies out there (albeit harder to find because of their much smaller marketing budgets). Anonymous: I would love to hear your defense of Davison in light of this Federal Court Judgement. And answer me this: in light of this ruling, would you actually recommend someone use Davison?
On the subject of crooked patent attorneys, I am sure their are some, although I personally don't know of any. If you have read my blog, you will see that I provide advice to inventors on how to pick a patent attorney. You would also know that I am not a supporter of firms that could be classified as "patent mills". There definitely are a number out there that do not operate in a manner that I would find acceptable in my firm. On the other hand, there are a large number of hard working and conscientious patent attorneys out there as well.So what is your exact beef with marketing companies?I don't have a "beef with marketing companies" in general, just Invention Promotion Companies. And my "beef" is quite simple: I feel they don't provide value for the price they charge. Whether you ever consider using my firm or not, please think long and hard before spending your hard earned money with an invention promotion company. At least before using one of these companies, do your homework. Read the opinions of others. Check out the company's past particularly to find out if they have ever been south of the law. Check out the inventor resources at the USPTO. Read the InventorEd website. And by all means peruse our blog archives. In the end, some of you may hire an invention promotion company, but at least you will be reasonably informed when you do.
Mr. Anonymous, I hope you get a chance to read my response to your comment and I will look forward to your reply. I welcome an open discourse on this topic.
Labels: invention promoters, patents