Entrepreneurial inventors are part of a unique class of small business owners. Not only are they responsible for the creation of the product that they sell, but often they must take care of the front-end business management responsibilities and costs. Though an individual may have a brilliant idea, getting the idea turned into a tangible and marketable product can cost a lot of money and take years to come to fruition.
As a small business law attorney and business owner, I understand the struggles that many entrepreneurs face. To that end, I have a few tips for small business entrepreneurial inventors looking to make the most out of their product while avoiding being taking advantage of by opportunistic invention marketing companies.
Beware of Predators
Throughout the country, a variety of invention marketing companies exist. Such companies purport to offer services that will place inventors in contact with the proper manufacturers and investors, and will submit patent applications to help make your invention dreams a reality. This, however, is often a false claim. In fact, many inventors looking for a break have given such companies thousands of dollars, only to end up with horror stories of promises unfulfilled, even though significant money has been expended. The Federal Trade Commission receives over hundreds of complaints per year against invention marketing firms.
Advocate for Yourself
Instead of paying an invention marketing company to oversee the creation and sale of a product, you could take an extremely hands-on approach in the process by finding the right manufacturer yourself. It is important to remember that a first offer should never be accepted immediately. Before accepting an offer, contact several different manufacturers and ask many questions. Working directly with manufacturers will elevate your reputation as an inventor/entrepreneur, help build contacts, and provide you with a greater understanding of the industry. This can also prevent you from being taken advantage of by invention marketing companies, who often only exclusively work with and recommend their own manufacturers instead of finding the best deal for other needs.
Another problem with utilizing invention marketing companies is the fact that their legal agreements are typically structured so that they receive money regardless of the future success of a given product. This disincentivizes such companies from following through with their promises to help turn the product into a profitable venture. Instead, getting in contact with a local inventors’ organization can help with the process. Members of such groups often have valuable information regarding the reputability of specific manufacturing contacts in the business as well as advice for anyone interested in entering the industry.
Furthermore, for anyone deciding to engage an invention marketing company, ensuring that an attorney looks over any agreements is a prudent idea. Many complaints about and against invention marketing companies center on unfair and inequitable business arrangements. Such agreements can be avoided if a business law attorney reviews the agreement on your behalf.
Work With a Naperville Business Attorney
Entrepreneurial inventors have it tough. Too often, they waste thousands of dollars on invention marketing companies and end up with nothing to show for it. To prevent this from happening to you and your idea, contact one of our experienced Hoffman Estates business law attorneys for guidance. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at The Gierach Law Firm today.
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