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Frequently Asked Questions

A large invention marketing company has approached me offering to handle patent filing, marketing, and working to get my invention licensed – it sounds enticing, though their fee is quite expensive. Should I work with them to get my product onto store shelves?

No. Such companies generally provide simple boilerplate services worth less than $100 – most of which you could do on your own – while charging you thousands of dollars. Do a very thorough due diligence, checking for complaints or lawsuits against the company. Ask them for a list of referrals – inventors who have worked with them – whom you can talk to. If they say “no,” to this request, you say “no” to them and move on.

If I license my product to a company for a 5% royalty, isn’t that a rip off: they keep 95% of all profits and only give 5% to me?

No, it is not a rip off. Royalties are paid based on net sales of the product, not profits. A 5% royalty on a product that sells millions of units may be quite lucrative for the inventor.

Can I begin to advertise and sell my product before I file a patent?

No, you should at least file a Provisional Patent Application (PPA) so you can claim patent pending status before you publicly disclose your invention. You will then need to file a Utility Patent within 1 year or lose all patent rights. Always consult your attorney.

I have a great idea for a new product. I heard you could sell ideas to companies and make a lot of money. Is that true?

No, ideas are free for everyone and are worthless unless or until they are developed into a working product that solves a need in the marketplace. Product development typically takes many months or even years and may cost thousands of dollars. You can only sell or license a product, not an idea.

Resources For Inventors

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