Thursday, December 22, 2005

Looking for a Second Bite of Your Finances

Just off a telephone call from someone who is being hounded by the scammers looking for a second bite of this person's finances. Certainly neither the first nor the last of such calls I have, and will, receive.

First bite comes along by trotting out to an invention promotion outfit with your "new" idea. Wrong move.


  • Unless you have a ready-made, small niche market, there is no chance of succeeding in the market without meaningful patent protection.
  • There is no chance of obtaining meaningful patent protection unless your "new" idea is both new and nonobvious at minimum in comparison to what is disclosed in the patent literature.
  • There is no chance of getting an opinion that is beneficial to you (rather than beneficial to the invention promotion outfit) through the outfit's own attorney (whose client is the outfit, not you).

So the outfit takes its bite of your finances. A significant bite. They get your money and you get (a) a meaningless design patent or uselessly narrower utility patent (sometimes only a worthless Disclosure Document) plus (b) an unsuccessful "show to companies" campaign.

Do not feel bad the campaign was unsuccessful. They always are. (You should feel bad about going to the outfit to begin with.)

And those folks who end up with a worthless patent are targets for the second bite. It might come from the same outfit or an outfit with a different name and address, or whatever. Your patent is in the database of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, as required by law. Probably more significantly, your name is on the outfit's list.

Hey, who better to try to bite than someone who was successfully bitten before. Hey, when they are not busy selling worthless (and sometimes harmful) services, they can sell their lists. There is a market for their lists.

So now these persons with worthless patents are getting offers to market their ideas. Hey, they will do it for $12,000. Don't have $12,000 to spare? Some will even throw in 50%. Why not? Their out-of-pocket costs for your new worthless "out to companies" campaign will be under $100, and their time investment under an hour. So why not take $6,000 for it, if that is all they can get from you.

This posting sounds rather nasty, because I am feeling rather angry. Angry at the scammers, and angry that there are so many victim-wannabe's out there. Flashy brochures, nifty offices and wonderful things to say about your idea. Convincing?

Don't walk, run. Run to your nearest bar association. If your city does not have one, the closest large city and your state will have one that has a referral service. Get a referral to a registered patent attorney. And get a patent search and opinion from that patent attorney. And if it is negative, you have saved yourself from someone's bite.

If the opinion is negative, and you decide the opinion is wrong, you are not listening. There is no help for that problem.

If the opinion leaves open an opportunity for meaningful patent protection, thing hard first. Truly understand that, while absence of meaningful patent protection will kill any success potential, patent protection does not provide the success you want. If there is no market for your product, or no market at the price it can be put out at, or no way to get to the market, its doomed.

If you still want to go forward, and can afford to loose the investment you will be making, then go for good patent protection, with your own attorney, and not some outfit's attorney.

More information on patents, and those forever-with-us (because it is so profitable for them) invention promotion folks, at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/invnalrt.htm, a recent FTC warning publication, on the USPTO website www.uspto.gov and the Federal Trade Commission website www.ftc.gov and regarding meaningful patent protection on my website www.noreklaw.com and first blog at ipforall@blogspot.com -- good reading and good luck to you.

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