Just 12 days ago I publicly resigned from the Board of Directors of the United Inventors Association over concerns I had with respect to the UIA. Since that time I have received many e-mails and telephone calls regarding my resignation. Some have been extremely supportive, and some have questioned my decision saying that I should not have run out on the UIA and I should have stood and fought to prevent the UIA from making a huge mistake. I appreciate all the support I have received, and I truly do understand the contrary view and criticisms. However, I am writing this article because over the last 12 days it seems that many in the inventor community have been talking about my decision and then using my public resignation as an a way to bolster their own positions. I have no problem with that for the most part, but in relation to my resignation I am repeatedly hearing very negative things relating to Inventors Digest, which I think are unfair and inaccurate, so I would like to set the record straight with respect to what I believe.
Among other things, I believe:
- The mission of the United Inventors Association, which is to dedicate itself to inventor education and support, is extremely laudable.
- A strong national organization that can support and enhance the mission of the many local inventors groups is necessary.
- Invention promotion companies have a long and checkered history when dealing with independent inventors, and at many times have crossed ethical lines and engaged in fraudulent activities to the detriment of independent inventors.
- Despite periodic enforcement activities and occasional legislation, the United States government does not do enough to protect independent inventors from invention promotion fraud, misrepresentation and being misleading.
- The United Inventors Association was formed in large part to look out for independent inventors and to attempt to insulate independent inventors from the many fraudulent operators in the invention community.
- The main purpose of the United Inventors Association is as stated on the UIA History page; namely to refer independent inventors to local inventor groups and reputable service providers, which provides the greatest defense against fraud.
- Inventors Digest is an excellent publication, with excellent writing, great reporting and they are NOT a part of the problem or in bed with invention promotion companies.
The first six statements likely catch no one by surprise, but as strange as it may seem to some, the last statement will catch some in the inventor community by surprise. It may even lead some to say that I myself am part of the problem and I am a sell out. Obviously, that is not true and anyone who knows me knows that I speak my mind, tell it like it is based on the facts as I see them and no one tells me what to think or believe. Many who know me would describe me as stubborn, although I prefer to believe it is more about having a strong set of beliefs, an ethical compass and an unwavering set of guiding principles. Like many, I am willing to be persuaded and factor into my beliefs and decision-making things that make sense, but I stand up for what I believe is right, and I am here to state loud and clear that it is my opinion, based on all of the facts I know, that those who criticize Inventors Digest as being part of the problem because they accept certain advertising are either ignoring the facts, not privy to all of the facts, are overly emotional or simply have their own agenda.
First, allow me to recognize that the topic of invention promotion companies is certainly one charged with emotion. There are many people who have lost their life savings pursuing a dream, the American dream of prosperity built upon ones hard work and ingenuity. Many of those people who fall into this category have also, unfortunately, been victims of one of the many invention scams that operate in the open. So it is understandable for these individuals and those who seek only to help them to come to the table with a certain set of beliefs and even prejudices. I understand that, and I certainly respect those people, who are obviously entitled to their own opinions, even if I disagree with them on somethings.
Second, the criticism I am increasingly hearing relating to Inventors Digest relates to the fact that Inventors Digest accepted advertising for INPEX, which is a trade show that showcases numerous inventions, new products and innovations that are available to license, market or manufacture. To the extent there is concern relating to INPEX, it is because the show is sponsored by Invent Help. But if the show is a good one where deals get done why should this fact matter?
I have been told by numerous people who I believe and respect that more inventors get licensing deals as a result of INPEX than they do from any other trade show. On top of that, the INPEX show targets sophisticated inventors who are well down the path toward commercialization of their invention. These inventors are not those who have “an idea” and want to get a patent. The inventors who go to INPEX are those with real inventions that have matured into real products and that have something to exhibit.
For those who have their eyes wide open why would anyone begrudge a sophisticated inventor from using INPEX to their advantage? I have not seen or heard any evidence to suggest that INPEX is a path that directs or lures in the unsuspecting. If Invent Help offers a platform for sophisticated inventors that allows for success then inventors should not shy away out of unreasonable fear.
As far as I know Inventors Digest has never accepted advertising from an invention promotion company or scam, and they thought long and hard about accepting advertising from INPEX. As I understand it, the editor of Inventors Digest, Mike Drummond, attended INPEX and did a thorough review and investigative story. There was no hiding anything, Inventors Digest was open and honest about where they were coming from, and Mike Drummond is a real reported and decorated journalist. For those who are unfamiliar with Drummond, he has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a war correspondent in Iraq and is the acclaimed author of a book profiling some of the larger than life personalities inside Microsoft. Criticizing Drummond for attending INPEX is like criticizing Woodward and Bernstein for associating with unscrupulous individuals in the Nixon Administration. Reporters are a vital part of what makes the United States great, and criticizing a reporter for engaging in investigative journalism is simply unfair and not something I wish to be a part of.
I am also intrigued by those who think Inventors Digest should not have accepted advertising for INPEX. First, as already stated a lot of inventors are able to obtain deals through INPEX, so who exactly gets hurt for not attending INPEX? Inventors who otherwise might get a deal. Second, do those who chastise Inventors Digest watch ESPN or CNN? Do they listen to Sirius XM radio? If you are going to come out against Inventors Digest for taking INPEX ads while refusing invention promotion ads then you absolutely have to refuse to watch ESPN, CNN and listen to Sirius XM radio because invention promotion companies advertise all over those media outlets, as well as numerous other Cable TV channels, local TV channels and radio stations. So where is the criticism of those media outlets?
I personally believe it is silly to criticize media outlets for the advertising they allow. I applaud those who have ethical standards, like Inventors Digest, and draw the line and do not deviate even when it costs them money by sticking to their ethical standards. However, without advertising revenue media outlets don’t exist. If FOX News is willing to accept political ads of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and NBC and MSNBC are willing to accept political ads of John McCain, why not just recognize the obvious; namely that advertising revenues are the life blood of media outlets and without advertising revenues the media outlet ceases to exist.
How does it help anyone for Inventors Digest to cease to exist? It doesn’t, and in fact if that would happen the inventor community would be losing out in a big way. Inventors Digest is an excellent magazine. It is well written, very informative and should be applauded for bringing high quality information and writing to the invention community.
By way of full disclosure, Inventors Digest is not an advertiser on IPWatchdog.com. You see banner ads for their magazine throughout because I am a fan, I think they have a quality magazine and because we have similar focuses we collaborate from time to time on projects. I have not been asked to write this article, and everything expressed above are my feelings alone. I do not intend to speak on behalf of Inventors Digest, only myself.