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Invention Services: Finding Valuable Services & Avoiding Scams

Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog
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Posted: Nov 14, 2011 @ 3:08 pm
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The unfortunate truth is that many inventors and entrepreneurs have had their share of difficulty with the various invention promotion companies out there. You have probably seen them advertised on television, usually in the extremely late night or extremely early morning hours. They promise free information, and tell you that they will help you patent your idea, make your invention and/or market your product. Many inventors and entrepreneurs have learned the hard way that many of these companies talk big and perform little, but sometimes charge exorbitant fees.

Just the other day I had someone contact me about a design patent and he claimed he had been quoted $12,500.  I don’t know the particulars around the quote, maybe there was a lot of product design work associated with the quote, but what I can tell  you is that $12,500 for a design patent is outrageous — nearly 5 times what it would likely cost from start to finish.  Inventing and pursuing a patent can be expensive, and usually is if you do it properly from start to finish, but inventors need to be particularly careful when there are those in the industry that price gouge.  There is no substitute for arming yourself with information and being cautious.

If you take a look at the success rates for companies within the invention promotion market you might find yourself quite surprised. One company, Davison, used to have success rates on their website.  Perhaps they still do, but I have not been able to find the information.  Data I previously obtained from their website tells a cautionary tale. From 2005 to 2010 Davison reported had 50,343 clients, but rather than reporting their success over the same time period they report successes over the last 20+ years. Giving Davison the benefit of the doubt and assuming all successes reported as being over the last 20 years really happened over the last 5 years, that means that less than .035% of people made more money than the spend with Davison and less than .9% of people license their products as a result of Davison’s services.  Doing the math that means that roughly 1 in 2,961 people made more than they spent with Davison between 2005 to 2010.

So how do the unscrupulous within the industry convince people to spend their hard earned money in the face of nearly ridiculously long odds and a checkered past?

Unfortunately many inventors do not do even basic due diligence, which means that they don’t know that they are considering engaging a company with a checkered past until it is too late.  A simple Google search using the word “Davison” and the word “scam”  should lead people to information that should at the very lead cause them to have second thoughts, including a 2006 FTC sting operation called Project Mousetrap that lead to a $26 million ruling against Davison.

Also unfortunate, in at least one way, is the eternal optimism of the independent inventor.  Inventors are wonderful people, but the one flaw that virtually all inventors share is that they become married to their ideas and inventions. Couple this together with skeptical friends and family and the scene is set for unscrupulous actors who will lavish them with praise. They have been dying to hear positive things and now they are hearing those positive things, it is as if they have finally reached the pinnacle.  They fell in love with their ideas and inventions and now they have someone who believes in them — if only they could come up with a few hundred dollars to start, then a few thousand dollars later, then many thousands of dollars after that.

But surely inventors, who are very smart people, could resist the advances of the unscrupulous, right? While that is what you might expect, my experience tells me otherwise.  Aside from the conditions being right (i.e., being told the invention is brilliant, etc.), most inventors tell me that even if they were told that there would be only 1 success out of 3,000 inventions they would be utterly convinced that their invention would be that success.  I have asked this question many times at presentations, the answer is always the same, and while on one had you have to love the optimism and tenacity, this is the final ingredient that leads so many to the doorstep of the unscrupulous.  Even with perfect knowledge and information many will still make what many would characterize as a bad move.

What all this means is that the path from idea to invention to making money is difficult for novice inventors.  Truthfully, the path is difficult enough for any inventor, seasoned or newbie.  The potential to fall prey to unscrupulous companies is just another obstacle in a long line of hurdles. While inventors never like hearing it when I say it, the reality is that the inventing portion of the process is the easiest part of the entire process.  This is because it is the only part of the process that can be completely controlled.

Once you file the patent application you have a patent examiner to contend with who may never see eye to eye with you.  You also have to deal with economic and business realities.  Many people found themselves close to signing deals of one kind or another in August of 2008 only to have those deal evaporate by the beginning of October 2008.

There are also competition realities to consider.  My uncle was an inventor and the abbreviated story with one of his invention was this: He was told buy a buyer that what was needed was a particular device that had particular functionalities.  My uncle set out about creating just such a device, and he succeeded.  He filed a patent application and then went back to the buyer for his big success!  Unfortunately, in the meantime there was a paradigm shift and although he came up with exactly what they wanted months earlier in the meantime someone came up with the next generation device.

But where is an inventor to turn?  How can you avoid the scams while not unnecessarily weeding out reputable professionals? What type of assistance should you be looking for in the first place anyway?

It is no doubt a challenge to find reliable services.  While the Internet is great for many things, including research, it is rather easy for anyone, even a small enterprise or unscrupulous actors to make their Internet presence seem legitimate.  You should definitely do some basic research on the Internet, but you want to make sure that you don’t allow slick websites or aggressive advertising campaigns be all you consider.




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Here is a list of things that you can and should do, which when followed should lead you toward those who are reputable and away from those with checkered pasts.

1. Google search.

You absolutely, positively, must search the name of the company you are going to do business with and the word “scam.”  You also should do the same thing with the name of the owner of the company as well.  It is unrealistic to expect a company to have no complaints, there are always disgruntled customers who are unhappy even with stellar companies, and even stellar companies can make mistakes or have bad days.  But there should not be a pattern of disgruntled customers, and particularly beware if you see actions by the Federal Trade Commission or other government entity.

2. Ask for Referrals.

Joining a local inventor group is an excellent idea.  These groups are typically a mixture of experienced inventors, newbies and folks in between.  The more experienced inventors are typically quite willing to give advice to newbies, and the best advice you can get is who to avoid.  You can also learn about service providers that have been helpful and legitimate.

Also, for whatever it is worth, we carefully screen advertisers here on IPWatchdog.com.  We don’t just let anyone advertise, so you won’t see any advertisements for invention promotion companies.  If you need a patent search consider SP Attorney Services.  If you are interested in licensing your invention consider contacting Lambert & Lambert.  If you need product development work consider Enhance Product Development.  These are companies that I have done work with and feel comfortable referring people to.  There are other reputable actors out there, such as Invent Right and Edison Nation.  If you want patent drawings consider ASCADEX Patent Illustrating.

The moral of the story here is this: if you have identified people you trust ask them for a referral.  As you expand your network and encounter others you trust continue asking and build up your own network just like you would any other kind of professional network.

3. Arm yourself with knowledge.  

You absolutely, positively, must know the basics!  If you were going to buy a used car you would probably do some basic research to see how many miles you can realistically expect to get out of the make and model you are looking at, for example.  If you find out that realistically you are looking at needing a new transmission typically between 75,000 to 90,000 miles and the salesperson were to say something contradictory you now have some important information.  Either the salesperson doesn’t know as much as you, which is possible, or the salesperson is willing to say whatever it takes to make the sale, which is also possible.  Either way, because you were armed with knowledge you were in a better position.

You need to know that ideas cannot be patented.  You need to know the pros and cons of filing a patent application before conducting market evaluation.  You need to consider whether it makes sense to start with a patent search or start building a crude prototype (see Keep Your Money in Your Wallet until Proof of Concept).  You need to understand what a sell sheet is if you want to pursue a licensing deal.  You also need to approach inventing in a business responsible way, which requires you to set a budget and proceed cautiously and carefully step by step so as to preserve as much capital as possible until it looks like the invention will succeed.  For more check out our Inventing page and our Inventors Information category.

The road to success down the invention path can be a rocky one, but if you temper your enthusiasm and engage in business reasonable tactics you can navigate the terrain.  Like any other business, the goal is to make money with your invention or idea.  So treat your invention as a business from day one.  Network, research, engage in due diligence and arm yourself with knowledge and facts. No secret hand shake or password. Just good business practices are what you need to pursue.

Happy inventing!

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Posted in: Educational Information for Inventors, Gene Quinn, Invention Promotion, Inventors Information, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Drawings


About the Author

is a US Patent Attorney, law professor and the founder of IPWatchdog.com. He is also a principal lecturer in the top patent bar review course in the nation, which helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam. Gene started the widely popular intellectual property website IPWatchdog.com in 1999, and since that time the site has had many millions of unique visitors. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, USA Today, CNN Money, NPR and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide. He represents individuals, small businesses and start-up corporations. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

 


Sponsored by LAMBERT & LAMBERT

 

Lambert & Lambert, Inc. (L&L) is an international license agency that represents independent inventors and product developers with innovative inventions and technologies.  As one of the premier license agencies, and among only a few that work on contingency, L&L's goal is to commercialize their client’s products by placing them with a manufacturer who is well positioned to sell the product in large quantities.  With products currently selling in stores such as Walmart®, Target®, ToysRUs®, and many more, L&L has a proven track record of success.


Lambert & Lambert is also a proud Professional Member of the United Inventors Association, the Better Business Bureau, the MN Inventors Congress, Licensing Executives Society and has been recognized by the National Inventor Fraud Center as "Official Good Guys".

 

Learn more at:

www.lambertinvent.com

 

Email us at:

info@lambertinvent.com

Lambert & Lambert, Inc.

11180 Zealand Ave N

Minneapolis, MN 55316  USA

Tel: 651-552-0080

Fax: 651-552-7678

 

21 comments
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  1. Gene,

    Point number 3 (actually points 3 through 7) from the AIPA (as posted at: http://www.uspto.gov/inventors/scam_prevention/index.jsp#heading-4 ):

    Specifically, before an invention promotion contract can be established between you and the firm, each invention promotion firm must disclose to you in writing each of the following items of information:

    3.The total number of inventions evaluated by the invention promoter for commercial potential in the past 5 years, as well as the number of those inventions that received positive evaluations, and the number of those inventions that received negative evaluations

    In other words, how much experience does the promoter have? What is their track record? Do they generally give mostly positive or negative evaluations, or is there a balance between their positive and negative evaluation history?

    4. The total number of customers who have contracted with the invention promoter in the past 5 years, not including customers who have purchased trade show services, research, advertising, or other non-marketing services from the invention promoter, or who have defaulted in their payment to the invention promoter

    This information will give you an idea of just how experienced the promoter or firm is and the volume of services they provide.

    5.The total number of customers known by the invention promoter to have received a net financial profit as a direct result of the invention promotion services provided by such invention promoter

    What financial impact, if any, has the promoter or firm actually made to its customers?

    6.The total number of customers known by the invention promoter to have received license agreements for their inventions as a direct result of the invention promotion services provided by such invention promoter

    Like item (5) above, this information will also enable you to gauge the effectiveness of the firm in evaluating its direct impact on its customers. Note the key words in the last two requirements–“as a direct result of the invention promotion services provided by such invention promoter”. Be aware that just because a license agreement was eventually secured for a given invention does not necessarily mean that it was a “direct result” of the promotion activities of the firm.

    7.The names and addresses of all previous invention promotion companies with which the invention promoter or its officers have collectively or individually been affiliated in the previous 10 years.

    If the organization won’t provide items 3 through 7, run from them promptly!

  2. . We can answer any questions regarding our services through cca@davisoninvents.com and we encourage anyone with a complaint about our services to send their complaint to the same address. Below is an outline of our services that we provide, and how the Davison process works.

    Step One: All consumers must acknowledge invention development is high risk. In order to do so, each prospective customer is provided with an Affirmative Disclosure and an American Inventors Protection Act disclosure. All potential clients must acknowledge that they received and read these disclosures before we accept any idea submission from them. Thereby, we ensure that the general public understands that inventing is time-consuming, costly and rarely results in profit. As a result, none of our clients should have the impression that inventing is easy and financially rewarding. Inventing can be educational, fun and exciting as long as everyone keeps in mind that there are no guarantees that profits are eminent.

    Step Two: Pre-development Service Offer: After receipt of an invention idea we could offer to perform preliminary design research services on the project. This would include researching prior patents and other products are for sale or have been for sale that are similar to the one submitted. Any service offer made to a potential client is made in writing. Therefore, consumers are assured of exactly what services they are purchasing and shall receive in a timely manner.

    Step Three: Invention Prototype Services Offer: If the inventor does not have a professional quality sample for use, we can perform one or more services, including brainstorming new product designs, designing components, creating prototypes, building working models, virtual reality renderings, video demonstrations of the invention in use and complete product graphics and packaging. Here again, any service offerings are outlined in a written contractual format. Therefore, clients are assured of exactly what services they are purchasing and shall receive in a timely manner.

    Step Four: Licensing Representation: Once projects are designed, built and packaged our team presents them to companies licensing consideration. Licensing means that a manufacturer is willing to produce, distribute and sell the new product for a set number of years as you, the owner of the invention is compensated in royalty payments. Of course, any service offering would be on a written contractual basis.

    The above is a basic outline of how our company does business. Clearly, all of our services are provided with full risk disclosures and on a written contract basis only. Therefore, to somehow suggest that those who purchase our service get “burned” is untrue. We can only ask that you re-read the agreement and compare our services to other companies. You will find our pricing to be very reasonable. Of course, you can attempt performing the services yourself. Conduct your own patent and competitive product searches, create new product designs and build prototypes and packaging.

    We wish you the best of luck with your idea or invention.

    Thank you,

    CCA

  3. Gene-

    Excellent article, on a topic that more inventors need to hear about and understand. I have witnessed dozens of inventors come to inventor forums after it is too late over the last ten years or so, asking why they are not getting anything substantive from various invention promotion companies. Many times they had spend upwards of 10K, and only seem to have gotten their egos boosted, and a color brochure sent to potential *licensees*, who would seem to have no possible need for the *invention*, usually with a badly written design patent, that is arguably worse than not having a patent at all. Many times they might have gotten a utility patent, but a design patent filed first would preclude that, if I am not too badly mistaken.

    Your advice about checking the background of some of the leaders of the companies is spot on, as some of them change company names and locations as often most folks change their shirts! That way they can avoid having to deal with pesky prior *clients* that are trying to get some sort of satisfaction out of them. I once ran an inventors group for a few years, and out of 40 members or so, I would guess that we saved at least 10 of them from getting taken for a very bad ride, so to speak.

    Thanks!
    Stan~

  4. Gene,

    Here is an article that I recently published on my blog but goes into ways that the inventor can seek redress. the can file a complaint with the ftc and the uspto. also, they might be able to receive attorney fees.

    http://ocpatentlawyer.com/invention-promoter-frequently-asked-questions/

    James

  5. CCA-

    Since you are affiliated with Davison can you please provide us with the information required by the American Inventors Protection Act? I am particularly interested in the following 4 items that are required by law to be provided by invention promoters:

    (1) the total number of inventions evaluated by the invention promoter for commercial potential in the past 5 years, as well as the number of those inventions that received positive evaluations, and the number of those inventions that received negative evaluations;

    (2) the total number of customers who have contracted with the invention promoter in the past 5 years, not including customers who have purchased trade show services, research, advertising, or other nonmarketing services from the invention promoter, or who have defaulted in their payment to the invention promoter;

    (3) the total number of customers known by the invention promoter to have received a net financial profit as a direct result of the invention promotion services provided by such invention promoter; and

    (4) the total number of customers known by the invention promoter to have received license agreements for their inventions as a direct result of the invention promotion services provided by such invention promoter.

    Based on the information I have Davison has reported clients over 5 years and successes over 20 years, which is not what is required by the law.

    Looking forward to this information so that the facts can get out and people can make an informed decision for themselves.

    _Gene

  6. Perhaps an experiment I undertook a few years back might be of interest to some in this regard. On a tip from a friend, I was hearing that one outfit especially was getting a lot of complaints from inventors, so I decided to give them a test drive for myself, so to speak….

    I made some crude sketches of an *invention* that I came up with when I was about 11 years old or so, that amounted to a Pint Mason Jar, that had two batteries in it, connected to a small light bulb, with enough gravel in it to make it sink, which I touted as a *Lighted Fish Lure* or something like that. There might have been something inventive about it, as it had detachable lures and lines, so I went and looked it up. The aforementioned search term instantly yielded about 16 very relevant patents, going clear back to 1926 if I recall it correctly.

    Not to worry though, as the outfit seemed to think it was the coolest thing since sliced bread, and told me that they would sell great at the upcoming Fish Expo in only a month and a half!! Their *search* had apparently revealed no obstructing prior art… They just needed about $500 to *get started* on it, whatever that was supposed to mean. They called me back about 6 times, until I finally informed them that I was just investigating their practices *on the record*, when they were pressuring me to send them some money or they might not be able to *get started* soon enough.

    Gone fishin-
    Stan~

  7. That is the funniest thing Stan. I can’t stop laughing.

  8. Stan,

    You should send your “fishin’ expedition” into Bill O’Reilly for the Factor. He would have a field day with this!

  9. Oddly enough, when I told them I was just checking, the point man congratulated me on my diligence in avoiding being taken for a ride by others, and I never heard from him again. I didn’t need to tell him he was being scammed, so I decided not to. The invention was real, and I used my real name, and I found out what I wanted to know. Case closed.

    Stan~

  10. After spending about 5 more minutes on it, I found this very diabolical patent from 1913, that seems to have batteries and a light bulb and even a way to charge the batteries? Not sure as I didn’t read it. http://patimg2.uspto.gov/.piw?Docid=01079891&homeurl=http%3A%2F%2Fpatft.uspto.gov%2Fnetacgi%2Fnph-Parser%3FSect2%3DPTO1%2526Sect2%3DHITOFF%2526p%3D1%2526u%3D%25252Fnetahtml%25252FPTO%25252Fsearch-bool.html%2526r%3D1%2526f%3DG%2526l%3D50%2526d%3DPALL%2526S1%3D1079891.PN.%2526OS%3DPN%2F1079891%2526RS%3DPN%2F1079891&PageNum=&Rtype=&SectionNum=&idkey=NONE&Input=View+first+page

    Stan~

  11. I have recently been looking to get my invention on the market and I happened to look into a couple things for myself. It seems that no matter what invention company you use (Inventhelp, Inventtech, Davison, Brown and Michaels etc etc), you are going to find some type of complaints about them. I guess you can’t please everybody and you also can’t believe everything that you read. I Also saw that you (Gene) happen to endorse Lambert and Lambert. I did a quick google search for ‘Lambert and Lambert scam’ and I happened to find a lot things that were not so good. I also found that ‘Operation Mouse trap’ was aimed at the entire invention industry and not just Davison.Correct me if I am wrong, but It was basically a lawsuit by the FTC over advertising practices in the invention industry? Why would you imply that it was solely against Davison?? You mentioned that they have their success numbers on their website and I checked it out. After reading a little bit, it seems that they have the best success rates in the invention industry compared to other companies. Apparently they build the product for you if you need it a prototype.

    Gene, can you provide me with Lambert and Lambert’s success rates (I had no luck in finding any success numbers or how many of their products are on the market) and possibly how many products that they have helped get on the market with just a patent?? I am asking this because I guess this article seems all too convenient. It is almost like you are bashing one particular company whilst endorsing another? But I tend to keep an open mind.

    I did come to one conclusion after doing all of my research. That this industry is a risky industry to get involved with. It really depends on how good your product is and how well it is marketed.

    Thank you.

  12. Mallory-

    It is hard to believe you “tend to keep an open mind” as you claim.

    First, Davison does not have the best success rate. The historical numbers are what they are and the truth is exactly as I wrote it.

    Second, the FTC filed a complaint against Davison and issued this press release about halting bogus invention promotion services. See:

    http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2006/04/davison.shtm

    Notice that the Federal Trade Commission uses “davison” in the URL. You should also notice that the press release says:

    “Defendants in this case were Davison & Associates Inc., now known as Davison Design and Development, Inc., Manufacturer’s Support Services, Inc., George M. Davison, President and CEO, Thomas Dowler, Gordon M. Davison and Barbara Miele-Davison. The defendants are based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but have operated nationwide.”

    The press release also explains:

    “A U.S. district court judge has ordered an invention promotion operation to pay $26 million in consumer redress and has ordered a permanent halt to the bogus claims the company used to recruit customers.”

    So Davison and the Davison defendants were ordered to pay $26 million for bogus claims. This action was brought as a part of Project Mousetrap.

    So you can pretend that Davison was not singled out by the FTC and the USPTO, but that would be inaccurate. My guess is that you are somehow associated with Davison and just trying to do damage control. You are more than welcome to post here, but just know that facts will be required and provided.

    -Gene

  13. Thanks for the info. Can you maybe point me in the direction of a company that does have good success numbers? From what I found so far that is what it seems like to me. I don’t understand why you’re getting defensive? I do keep an open mind because I do not tend to believe everything I read. I have absolutely no affiliation with Davison and I don’t understand why you would assume that when I am just asking questions? I happened to find that your info was kind of vague. I actually found this site by googling ‘Davison scam’. I saw what you wrote and noticed you were affiliated with Lambert and Lambert, which is why I typed in ‘Lambert and Lambert scam’. I found complaints on both companies. In fact, I found complaints on all companies. I am still having trouble finding any info on Lambert and Lambert as far as how many products they have on the market or their success rates? You seemed to have dodge that question? I am just a concerned (hopeful) future inventor trying to get all the info I can before I decide to take any further steps.

    This was just a small bit of what I found on ‘Project mousetrap’

    “A significant number of firms in the invention promotion industry are perpetrating a massive fraud on middle American consumers by claiming they have the resources and corporate connections to successfully develop and market individuals’ inventions, according to federal and state officials who gathered at Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C. today. Issuing a message of extreme caution to consumers about using the very expensive, but almost always fruitless, services of an invention promotion firm, the FTC announced “Project Mousetrap,” a law-enforcement sweep that has leveled federal and state charges in seven actions against companies and their principals involved in schemes purportedly to help independent inventors who tinker away in their garages late into each night in the hope of “building a better mousetrap.”

    The FTC, which brought five of the cases, said the defendants in its actions generated in excess of $90 million for their own pockets by exploiting the ideas, hopes and dreams of tens of thousands of consumers. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office brought its action under the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, one of the first to be brought by a state in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order and asset freeze, without notice to the defendants, under that rule. Florida’s Attorney General also filed an action, in state court, as part of Project Mousetrap. The FTC obtained temporary restraining orders and asset freezes against the defendants in its cases and is seeking permanent injunctions and redress for consumers.”

    Again, that seems like it was aimed the entire industry. At least, that is how it is worded? Regardless, thank you for the info.

  14. Mallory-
    The Federal Trade Commission could never make a monetary judgment against “the entire industry”, as that would of course be complete nonsense, no matter which way you happen to read it or not. Just for the record, only about 2 million was ever paid on the $26,000,000 fine levied by the FTC during Operation Mousetrap for some reason. I would guess that they made about 30 million magically disappear during the period in question, but of course that is just conjecture on my part after all. The “reparations” were meant to go back to the folks that were seeking satisfaction in the order that they applied for it to the FTC. I wonder whatever happened to the 24 million allegedly invested by the complainants that never got their money back? It seems to have just—-sorta ***disappeared*** for some strange reason. Do you really think the FTC would make a monetary judgment in a case like that without some hard evidence to support their allegations?

  15. Mallory-

    You are an obvious shill for Davison. You want to ignore the fact that the FTC brought the enforcement action I mentioned against Davison and multiple Davison defendants and you want to believe they are the same as everyone else. That just isn’t true. You know, I know it and everyone in the industry knows the facts.

    As far as Lambert & Lambert goes, they are completely legit. From what I understand their success rate is about 4 or 5 out of 10. After a paltry evaluation fee of $200 they provide services on a contingency basis, which means that they don’t get paid unless a successful licensing deal is struck. Compare that with Davison and others who charge many thousands of dollars for services. Based on their own numbers Davison was no more successful than 1 in nearly 3000, but all 3000 paid substantial fees. So would you rather have a company work on a contingency basis and have a 40-50% success rate or would you rather pay a company many thousands of dollars for a 1 in 3000 success rate?

    The answer is obvious to everyone except those affiliated with Davison, which is why I know you are affiliated with Davison. It is also exceptionally interesting to note that the IP address from which you are accessing to post comments puts you in Pittsburgh, PA. Can anyone guess where Davison is headquartered?

    So you are from the same town as Davison, you apologize for Davison, you actually claimed that Davison has the best success rate in the industry and you continue to want to paint Lambert & Lambert with a brush that really should be reserved only for the scams.

    You have been exposed.

    -Gene

  16. Stan,

    As always thank you for taking the time to comment and for reading IPWatchdog as regularly as you do. FB is especially good for retail businesses as well as businesses that have a lot of visual aspects to their business such as photography. But it is also particularly good for businesses that have a lot of information to share in short doses particularly when the demographics you are looking to reach encompass a wider range of people. Yes, it is a place for people to reconnect with old friends, etc, but what better place for a business to tap into such a large database of individuals. There are a lot of professionals on Facebook, myself included. Why not be where they can find you? Take me for example, I have a FB page at http://www.Facebook.com/TheSocialMediaDiva, which I encourage all of our readers to visit and “like,” where I share a social media thought of the most days of the week.

    LinkedIn of course is very valuable and powerful business resource. But don’t discount the power of Twitter. If you know what to tweet and when and how to tweet, twitter can also be a huge lead generator. Keep an eye out for my next article which focuses on Twitter.

    -Renée

  17. [...] presentation.  In between, on Wednesday evening, I drove out to Dubois, Pennsylvania to give a presentation to the Entrepreneurs Club that is associated with the Small Business Development Center of Clarion [...]

  18. What about a patent lawyer? Are there any concerns about a patent lawyer working mostly for free and doing all the filing&interacting with the USPTO?

    In my case, the patent lawyer took an initial fee for a non-provisional filing, but the followup non-provisional plus several other new patent filings were not invoiced/charged-for. We have been operating under a ***verbal*** understanding that he wasn’t charging me (including the patent filing fee’s) in exchange for future considerations. Several patent filings and 5 years later and this article causes me to have some doubts.

    Now, I have been doing the bulk of the work (prior art searches, creating the diagrams, writing Descriptions, rough Claim sets) – and he provides minor suggestions to my Descriptions and refines the Claims. So he probably spends ~10 hours per patent (mostly refining my Claims) and files them for me.

    I see the filing ack’s and the Examiner responses – and they have my name on them.

    Outside of possible quality issues (by doing 90% myself) – should I be worried? He is co-owner of a small patent firm – but would he really risk this and his USPTO cert/license for the small possibility that these patents might be worth several $million?

  19. Thanks for the great article, Gene. As an inventor who is one of those that didn’t do my due diligence I can tell you that inventors need to have more access to the process and how to find out exactly who you’re dealing with. The scammer I came across had done several deals with celebrities so I assumed he was legit. But they were also scammed. After doing a few months of research I found out this guy had been scamming inventors across the country, state after state. There should be some kind of service that does nothing but research on their backgrounds, so inventors could make a more cautious decision.

  20. Thank you for the scam report & where to go & ect. My heart is broken because i was scammed by a company name, Grand Invention Station at 217 Plymouth Rd,Felton, De 19943. I met Mr Allen thru I invent company. I did not have enought money for I invent to help because they wanted $8,000. So Mr Allen from I invent said” i have a sister company that dont require a large down payment to do the project & filing , licensees & ect . So i gave Mr Allen payment of $1,500 in 6/12, i made 5 payment of $100 =$500. To make story short: I have email & text everone involve in this co. asking for a full refund . Cause they are in breach of our contract. Now i know how to report Mr Allen if their co. Dont refund my money.

  21. Well we are highly educated, professional business people and we were taken hook, line and sinker by Davison. We lost $30,000!!

    We have tried to work through Visa billing, and through our banks, making a detailed report through our bank dispute system, who took our side, but we lost! Davison have a very well-oiled legal team, it seems the dollars are made not in producing successful products, but in ripping off Ma and Pa Public.

    It is my strong view Visa should not be working with these people.

    We had three invention ideas, which we provided in great detail to Davison. We had just submitted these three ideas through their website, and they rang us the very next day.

    They talked up the ideas, told us how wonderful they were and how we would see our dream realised. They did all their work on the phone, with minimal emails.

    They said they had a strict timeline in production planning and so with us having discussed all three ideas with Davison, we could not now just turn around and submit and pay for them one by one. We would have to pay for all three at once.

    We thought carefully about the situation. We decided that as we had provided very detailed and thoroughly thought out concepts, we would be in good hands. Our products were developed in full light of our professional business experience.

    Davison took our very detailed professional ideas and turned them into – wait for it – blow up toy ideas!!!

    When we said we were not in the slightest bit interested in producing blow up toys, and we couldn’t understand how they could make blow up toys from our original concepts, they said, ‘well that’s the contract then, we’ve done what we undertook to do, and you have decided not to go any further’.

    As they had made all their undertakings verbally, apparently there was no record of their promises, and our case fell over because of this. The only thing left for us is for us to sue, but of course it is good money after bad, and Davison is extremely clear about that.

    Davison is very definitely underhand. STEER CLEAR.