Loren Donald Pearson

Loren Donald Pearson is a Registered Patent Attorney and a Florida Bar Board Certified Intellectual Property Attorney.  He is a partner at Assouline & Berlowe, PA and leads its intellectual property group.  Read his profile

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Whom Should I Trust with my Invention?

The first thing I see in every individual inventors' face ("individual inventor" is opposed to a "corporate inventor") is the combination of excitement about their invention and their confusion on whom they should trust.

I recently read a NY Times article titled, "If Moms Can't Find It, They Invent It."  The article tells the story of a mom inventor who now runs a consulting agency (Mom Invented(R)) for other mom inventors.  (Note: I have no experience with any of the businesses mentioned in the article.)

The mom in the article discusses how, previously, there were no road maps for bringing a product to the market. 

Knowing who to trust is the first problem every individual inventor will face.

Unfortunately, before meeting me, many of my clients fell victim to an unscrupulous invention promotion companies.  The scam goes like this.  Call now for your free inventors kit, is followed by a sales pitch involving a market analysis, and maybe a patent search.  After spending $10,000+ dollars with the invention promoter, the inventor has little to show for it: no product, no patent, and ultimately, no profit.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides the Inventor's Assistance Center (IAC), a resource for inventors to learn about the patent process.  The IAC includes a web page devoted to scam prevention.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also provides a guide to Avoiding Scams involving Invention Promotion Firms.   The USPTO runs a forum for inventors to post complaints about invention promotion companies and for the companies to post replies.

The hard truth is that anyone who tells you that selling a product will be easy is probably trading on your confidence in your own invention. 

In the end, I tell my clients that succeeding in business has little to do with the level of innovation embodied by their invention.  Rather, the success depends on the inventor's tenacity and business acumen.

To avoid the problems of invention promotion companies, the USPTO recommends that inventors always deal with a registered patent attorney or registered patent agent.  Registered practitioners have passed the USPTO's patent bar exam and must follow the USPTO's code of ethics.  The Florida Bar offers the addition certification of "Florida Bar Board Certified Intellectual Property Attorney" which is based on the lawyer's knowledge, expertise, and peer review.