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|Best Invention Marketing on a Budget|
|Best Patent Company|
Do you have invention ideas and think one might be the next hot breakthrough product? Of course, you want to protect your idea, develop it, and one day sell your invention. Where do you start? There are a ton of services at your fingertips, but as a burgeoning inventor, beware —invention and patent companies are extremely varied in what they offer you. It’s a confusing industry for sure, and there are a ton of blurred lines about what each company offers and delivers. That’s where we come in! We’ve done our research and will give you the ins and outs of moving your invention to the next level and give you our picks for the best invention companies.
How Do You Choose the Best Invention Companies?
Before you jump into an agreement with an invention or patent company, there are several things you need to know. The unfortunate truth is that not all invention companies are created equal. In fact, there have been a number of fraudulent practices associated with different companies over the years.
Are You Protected?
Fortunately, the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 gives you some rights. Patent and invention companies are required to disclose certain information before you sign a contract with them, including:
- the number of inventions they’ve evaluated and which ones received positive or negative evaluations
- their total number of customers
- how many of those customers received a net profit from their services
- the number of those customers who have licensed their inventions as a result of their services
How to Get a Patent and Avoid Scams?
Do your research!! In addition to the information companies are required to disclose, there are several tips that can help you avoid fraudulent practices.
- Review invention and patent practices and laws through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
- Conduct a Google search on the company in question—include “FTC,” “scam,” “fraud” in your searches.
- Join a local inventor group and ask for referrals and experiences from more seasoned inventors.
- Consider getting an initial consultation from a local patent attorney or patent agent.
Top Invention Companies
We based our rankings and winners on a number of factors, including services offered, BBB rating, previous litigation, pricing, customer reviews and more.
InventionHome is one of the leading invention companies, and they’ve been BBB accredited since 2003. Their North American Product Invention Network includes thousands of companies looking for new products (Walmart, Target, Best Buy to name a few). It appears that their main focus is helping you to license your invention, rather than sell it outright, and their prices are reasonable compared to other companies. Invention Home charges 20% of your licensing royalties with no large upfront fees required.
Thoughts to Paper makes it clear from the get-go—they’re not an invention marketing service, like many other companies we’ve reviewed in this article. As quoted on their website, “We are not an invention promotion.” Their strength solely lies in helping you in getting a patent—and they do it well. What we like about Thoughts to Paper is that they’re up front about what they offer you and most of the fees they charge. They’ll run a thorough patent search for you ($245-$295, depending on the scope), do a patent illustration ($60), and work with you to apply for a provisional or full patent (fees vary based on how much of the application process you handle yourself).
Other Invention Help Companies Reviewed
We reviewed several other top invention companies to give you an idea of what you’re facing in this confusing industry. We’ve included some of the top names with our honest, well-researched reviews of each. Click on one of the companies below to jump to its review.
Davison has been in business for more than 25 years and they claim that they help inventors prepare and present their innovative products. But Davison has had some major problems over the years, most notably a $26 million fine by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2006 for bogus customer practices and another $10 million settlement with the FTC in 2008 for charges that they deceived customers across the country. Based on their BBB profile (they have an “F” rating and a number of unresolved complaints over the last three years), Davison doesn’t seem to have turned itself around enough to be a reliable option.
Docie Invention & Patent Marketing was launched in 1976 by Ronald Docie, Sr., a successful inventor and patent agent who’s well-known and respected in the invention assistance world. He is also the author of The Inventor’s Bible and is still committed to helping future inventors. Docie Invention & Patent Marketing offers assistance with idea evaluation, market research, trade shows and general marketing needs. They’re not a huge powerhouse; rather more of a consultant firm, where you’ll deal directly with Ronald Docie for his expert advice.
InventHelp has been in business since 1984 and has a long history of providing trustworthy help with inventions. They get excellent consumer reviews and have an A+ BBB rating. However, if you’re looking for a one-stop shop when it comes to patenting your idea, look elsewhere. InventHelp, as its name suggests, offers you invention help through the process, but you can’t actually file any kind of patent applications through their service and they don’t do thorough research/analysis of your idea. Their strengths lie in their marketing services through trade shows, a network of companies looking for new inventions, 3-D prototypes, etc. So, if that’s all you’re looking for, Invent Help is a reputable company with a long track record of customer satisfaction.
World Patent Marketing launched in 2010 and has quickly grown into a powerhouse patent company. They’re a full-service operation, with eight different divisions, including research/analysis for product ideas, engineering for product development, legal services and much more. Of course, with each service you’ll incur a fee, but you agree to a contract spelling out exactly what you’re getting for each fee/service. The contract, however, doesn’t guarantee that your invention will sell—as with all new products, that’s up to consumers and the market. But if you want to handle all aspects of developing your idea with the same company, World Patent Marketing is an excellent choice.
IMPORTANT NOTE: In March 2017 the website was taken offline because a judge issued an injunction against the company and its owner. In April the injunction was extended through June 2017.
How Much Do Patents Cost?
Check out this video by an award-winning Houston patent law firm to understand a bit more about the patent process and how much you can expect to pay to patent your idea, design or product.
So, You Still Want to Be a Successful Inventor?
If you’re still unsure about how to get started and how to patent an invention, we recommend reading our companion article How to File A Patent and also consider purchasing The Inventor’s Bible, Fourth Edition: How to Market and License Your Brilliant Ideas by Ronald Docie, Sr., owner of Docie Invention & Patent Marketing (reviewed above). As we said earlier, it’s a complicated process, and there are a lot of companies out there that will try to take your money for little or nothing in return. We hope we’ve given you some solid recommendations for avoiding fraud—consider one of our top picks if you want to move your invention along!
What advice do you have for fellow inventors about how to patent a product?