Do you want to save yourself $10,000? That is about how much you will be paying those "invention assistance companies" you see on TV. Be very careful when dealing with them and the promises they make. I have read a number of agreements offered by these companies to inventors and all of them have many terms that are not in favor of the inventor. Yet every year many inventors will hand over thousands of their hard earned money to these "invention assistance companies" and get very little as a result. So what should you be looking for when you approach one of these companies? I would say body armor, but seriously here are some pointers:
Because of the number of inventors being taken by invention assistance companies the US government has written 35 USC 297 to protect inventors. 35 USC 297 is nice but it is best to talk with an attorney first before signing the agreement.
35 USC 297 allows you to ask the invention promoter the following:
Finally an attorney has certain ethical duties owed to their inventors. An invention promotion company owes no such ethical duties. An attorney who breaches their ethical duties to a client may lose their license to practice law in their state and to represent inventors before the patent office. Those licenses are very hard to get and represents years of hard work in school.
One of the best-known designer watches in the world are Rolex watches. They are beautifully crafted quality time pieces with a high price tag that many cannot afford. These desirable watches, along with other high-end brands such as Gucci, Coach, and others, are heavily counterfeited. Although everyone loves a good deal we should not purchase products that we know are counterfeit for two reasons.
The first reason is a moral reason. If we were the owners of any of these high-end companies we would not want others to be supporting those who counterfeit our products. The saying in the Bible "Do to others as you would want them to do unto you" is applicable here. When purchasing a counterfeit product, you are helping the counterfeiter to steal money and goodwill from the company who makes the original. You would not want someone to do that to your company if the roles were reversed so don’t do it!
The second reason is more sinister and dark. Counterfeiters also go after products that we ingest such as wines, foods, and pharmaceuticals products. Counterfeiters of such products do not use the same ingredients or perform the same level of quality control as the original thus causing harm to those who unknowingly ingest these counterfeit products.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), headquartered in France, provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. They (i) work with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. (ii) measure productivity and global flows of trade and investment. (iii) analyze and compare data to predict future trends. (iv) set international standards on a wide range of things, from agriculture and tax to the safety of chemicals. According to a study conducted by the OECD in 2013, the United States was the country with the largest amount of counterfeit seizures while China was the largest producer of counterfeit goods.
There is a lot of research being conducted that are looking into new and novel ways of identifying counterfeit products. The video below shows one approach of using nano sized bio based tags. These tags may contain a variety of information including serial number and other manufacturing information. Also these tags are difficult to create but easily detected making it more difficult for the counterfeit products to enter the USA.
So the next time you see a counterfeit product don’t think of how you can now wear that Coach bag for a fraction of the price that the original costs but take the high road and walk away. Not only will you feel good about doing the right thing but you will also help American workers.