InventHelp Invention Ideas – Read And Learn How to Obtain a Patent By Visiting This Instructional Web Portal.
Robert Susa tends to jut his jaw Bill Cowher-like when he ponders.
So when president of invention submission company InventHelp office locations, Susa’s been doing plenty of pondering lately.
Since taking over a lot of the day-to-day operations from founder Martin Berger a couple of years ago, Susa has been vexed with what he believes is definitely an unfair characterization in the company as a place that rips off inventors.
“Everybody here really cares about inventors,” Susa says. “We desire to be the excellent guys.”
Susa says InventHelp isn’t for each and every inventor. InventHelp is really a turnkey, soup-to-nuts operation for hands-off inventors. It’s for the individual that wants other people to approach potential licensees and placed together virtual and also other prototypes.
The business says it uses “a variety of methods” to submit an idea or new invention to companies, including mailings, publicity releases, advertising and attendance at trade shows.
“We simply do not feel that our opinion or anyone else’s opinion of your possible acceptability or market potential of any new product idea or invention is any more than simply that – an opinion,” InventHelp’s Internet site states. “We cannot make any correlation between that opinion and predictable acceptance from the marketplace. The only opinions that matter are those of companies who may review your invention.”
Although that seems pretty straight-forward, few companies within the inventing industry are already as polarizing as InventHelp, the Pittsburgh-based business also known to many people as Invention Submission Corp. or ISC.
InventHelp is the a trade name of Invention Submission Corp. (ISC), also called Western Invention Submission Corp. plus a division of Technosystems Consolidated. InventHelp hosts the Invention & Cool Product Exposition or INPEX, the greatest inventor tradeshow in the usa.
InventHelp sales reps tell prospective customers their inventions would be the greatest things since sliced bread to promote them $800 information proposals. The proposals are based on a template – a mass-production, cookie-cutter binder of boilerplate with the description and picture of the invention electronically inserted – and sent to general addresses of targeted companies. And if or when those info packets fail to generate a licensing agreement, InventHelp sales reps urge inventors to acquire upgraded services for thousands.
“We don’t evaluate inventions,” he says. “And we give everyone the complete expense of our services in the first meeting and survey clients to find out if they received that information in advance.”
When it comes to accusation that InventHelp client inventions offers cookie-cutter invention proposals as a way to snooker inventors with escalating services and fees:
“We don’t pretend the primary report is actually all encompassing,” Susa says. “The basic information package is really what we believe we must present a product or service to your company.
“Most patent attorneys use a template. As soon as you describe an invention, you’re really speaking about the industry it fits into. That marketing facts are something we’ve purchased from government along with other sources. The details are concerning the market, not the invention.
“If you experienced a baby product, whether it is a crib or even a bib, you’d research the baby market,” he adds. “There will certainly be a sameness with it.”
And also as for escalating fees, Susa says InventHelp’s fees “are provided to a client at the first meeting. There’s no escalation. I am aware businesses that keep seeking money; that’s not our policy whatsoever.”
To be sure, InventHelp has experienced a colorful history, including run-ins together with the United states Patent and Trademark Office and the Federal Trade Commission.
In 1994, without admitting guilt with no finding of wrong doing, the corporation settled allegations with all the FTC, which said Invention Submission Corp., “misrepresented the nature, quality and effectiveness of your promotion services it sold to consumers.”
Under the regards to a consent decree, the organization set up a $1.2 million account to pay refunds to customers. InventHelp also says it instituted greater oversight of sales reps, spread out over some 50 offices across the country.
“We have embraced the consent decree and possess managed to get part of our corporate policy and culture,” Susa says. “Every new employee signs a document agreeing to follow the consent decree being a condition of employment.”
The collective conduct of certain invention submission companies compelled the U.S. government to adopt the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999, which requires those invention submission firms to show licensing success rates, among other things.
InventHelp has been the target of lawsuits and consumer complaints, some of which are saved to the USPTO’s Internet site. Other Web sites warn inventors to stay away through the company.
This current year InventHelp sued and settled an unfair competition case against Gene Quinn and his wife Renee for unflattering posts on Quinn’s influential blog IPWatchdog.com. Although specifics of the settlement remain confidential, Quinn did remove some posts by which he characterized InventHelp like a scam.
Yet in today’s hyper-connected, information saturated society, will be the “scam” label really justified? Can a business that’s been used since 1984 still thrive whether it were “scamming” inventors on a daily basis?
“From 2007-2009, we signed Submission Agreements with 5,336 clients. Due to our services, 86 clients have obtained license agreements for their products, and 27 clients have received more money compared to they paid us for such services.”
That means .5 percent of InventHelp invention service clients made money from licensing agreements through InventHelp between 2007 and 2009. That’s double the amount percentage from years 2003 to 2005.
Inventions published to direct response TV or infomercial companies have success rates of approximately .5 percent, according to interviews Inventors Digest has conducted with Telebrands and Lenfest Media Group, both DRTV companies.
Meanwhile, InventHelp’s rival Davison Inc., also located in Pittsburgh, reports on its Website that during the last 5 years:
“The total number of consumers who signed a Contingency Agreement or other licensing representation agreement is fifty thousand ninety eight (50,098). … The complete number of consumers over the last 5 years who made more cash in royalties than they paid, as a whole, under any and all agreements with Davison, is fourteen (14).”
Should you do the math for Davison, that’s a .027 percent success rate throughout the last five-years.
San Francisco-based invention submission firm AbsolutelyNew does not list licensing success rates on its site. AbsolutelyNew acquired certain assets of former – and notorious – invention submission company IP&R and relaunched under the new name in 2007 (please see our May 2009 article, What’s New about AbsolutelyNew?).
“To the best of my knowledge, we have been in compliance using the AIPA requirements,” says AbsolutelyNew vice president of product-development Bill Freund. “I was told that we’re not essential to share our stats to our Site (even though others, like Davison, might be required to do this from federal litigation against them). We share our stats in our first substantive communication with inventors.”
At the time of February 2009, AbsolutelyNew had 565 clients with contracts in progress, based on a document AbsolutelyNew provided Inventors Digest this past year. Of 1,638 client contracts completed, 80 clients, or 4.88 percent, obtained licensing agreements.
Five licensed clients “have already earned more in royalties compared to they bought marketing services,” the document adds. Again, doing the math, .3 percent had earned more in royalties than they paid in fees to AbsolutelyNew as of early just last year.
Freund says the business has launched “a bunch of new products,” so the number of people who’ve made more money than they’ve paid in fees should “increase significantly.”
Quinn, the patent attorney who fought InventHelp and settled this year, says InventHelp’s “numbers can be better than I was thinking they were.”
“If they would double what they’re doing now, exactly how much better could you possibly realistically expect those to do given their take-all-comers business model? I’m not looking to be an InventHelp apologist,” Quinn says. “You need to recognize the past. But to get really fair, there is also to distinguish this current trend.
In college Susa blew out an elbow en path to a baseball career and later on sought to be a fed – a “G” man, a drug enforcement agent or a spook with the FBI. But he says a federal hiring freeze forced him to detour. After having a brief stint with Pilsbury, he took at job like a compliance manager with Invention Submission Corp. Which had been 2 decades ago..
He climbed InventHelp’s ranks. Since assuming a co-leadership role along with founder Berger, Susa has become on a mission to rehab the company’s reputation.
His initiatives included dissecting why potentially promising licensing deals died. Occasionally they lacked prototypes. So Susa says he “brought inside a guy who’s good at prototyping and virtual prototyping.” InventHelp also obtained services of your Chinese manufacturer that does small-inventory runs.
The company’s Web site offers multiple cautionary statements concerning the odds against financial success in the inventing industry. And Susa says if a salesperson misrepresents or otherwise overhypes what InventHelp can deliver, the corporation investigates. If it’s the first-time offense, the salesperson may have to undergo more training. If it’s a repeat offense, the salesperson could be let go, Susa says.
“We’re learning and getting better while we go along,” Susa says, noting that InventHelp is on pace to eclipse 50 licenses this season, the very best ever for your company. “I bring a simplistic view to things. Here’s where our company is. Here’s where we want to be. I’m about identifying the roadblocks and eliminating those roadblocks.”
His timing could not have been better. Greater entry to information about the invention industry, a recession that has compelled many to pursue inventing and entrepreneurship, downsizing in corporate research and development, along with the resulting desire for companies to search outside their lairs for first time ideas helps give rise to a gadget renaissance of sorts.
InventHelp, planning to take advantage of these confluent trends, spends thousands and thousands of dollars a year on television and radio commercials. The company’s ads using the caveman logo are ubiquitous on ESPN and CNN.
Susa dismisses criticism that InventHelp lacks contacts and relationships with company buyers.
“It’s virtually impossible for independent inventors to handle large companies,” Susa says. “We have 6,000 companies within our data bank and all sorts of have signed non-disclosure agreements and get told us what regions of interest they would like to see.”
Susa says he personally involves himself in high-level negotiations with major companies that express interest in licensing certain new items from InventHelp clients.
Quinn, the patent attorney and prolific blogger who arguably has more reason to loathe InventHelp than most others, avers that after many years for being regarded as the guys in black hats, InventHelp “seems willing to join the polite community.”
He also contends that inventors or would-be inventors need to do their homework.
“It’s amazing for me how many of these inventors who claim to have already been rooked don’t have basic Internet skills,” says Quinn, noting that the Internet “is where every one of the good ‘buyer beware’ information is.
“And they see something on TV or radio, and say, ‘I saw this on ESPN, and this should be legit,’ and that’s likely the sum total of their homework.
“The industry,” Quinn adds, “has a population that expects a check to arrive without having done much, if any, work.”
Even a lot of work fails to guarantee market success. Susa looks at the efforts his team put behind one inventor’s new sort of toothbrush. Following a promising start, a major DRTV conducted a market test in the Midwest. The infomercial company purchased filming, the works. As well as the product “bombed miserably,” Susa admits.
“That’s not just a success for people like us, but we did an extraordinary job getting this system around,” he says. “It went through exactly the same process blockbuster products go through.”
At the conclusion of your day, Susa wants the inventing community to think him when he says InventHelp would like to commercialize products.