World Patent Marketing Scam Halted By FTC
Many inventors do not realize that some invention marketing companies charge thousands of dollars, yet have success rates of 0.00%.
Scammers take advantage of an inventor’s enthusiasm for a new product or service. They not only urge inventors to patent their ideas or invention, but they also make false and exaggerated claims about the market potential of the invention. The facts are:
- few inventions ever make it to the marketplace; and
- although a patent can provide valuable protection for a successful invention, getting a patent doesn’t necessarily increase the chances of commercial success.
There’s great satisfaction in developing a new product or service and in getting a patent. But when it comes to determining market potential, inventors should proceed with caution as they try to avoid falling for the sweet-sounding promises of a fraudulent promotion firm.
Here is what is said about Scott Cooper on the World Patent Marketing website:
Scott J. Cooper is the CEO and Creative Director of World Patent Marketing’s invention team. He is also the Director and Founder of The Cooper Idea Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing funding for special causes around the world. Cooper is the visionary behind World Patent Marketing’s innovative vertical structure, creating a ‘one stop shop’ for inventors and entrepreneurs around the globe. Cooper sets the standard for results, with his impressive work ethic and 16-hour days. The effort has paid off and has led to spectacular growth. Today, Cooper spends most of his time unlocking business opportunities in developing countries. He believes the best solution to conquer poverty is by linking people to information, capital and markets. Cooper’s work is rooted in the idea that given the opportunity, men and women in even the poorest places can generate income, jobs and wealth for their families and communities.
The Federal Trade Commission has charged the operators of an invention-promotion scam, World Patent Marketing, with deceiving consumers and suppressing complaints about the company by using threats of criminal prosecution against dissatisfied customers.
At the FTC’s request, a federal court temporarily halted the Florida-based scheme and froze its assets pending litigation. The agency seeks to permanently stop the defendants’ practices and return money to consumers.
“This case is about protecting innovators, the engine of a thriving economy,” Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen said. “The defendants promised to promote people’s inventions and took thousands of dollars, but provided almost no service in return. Then they added insult to injury by threatening people who complained.”
According to the FTC, consumers paid Scott Cooper and his companies, World Patent Marketing Inc. and Desa Industries Inc., thousands of dollars to patent and market their inventions based on bogus “success stories” and testimonials promoted by the defendants. But after they strung consumers along for months or even years, the defendants did not deliver what they promised. Instead, many customers ended up in debt or lost their life savings with nothing to show for it.
The FTC also alleges that the defendants used various unfair tactics, including threats of legal action, to discourage consumers from publishing truthful or non-defamatory negative reviews about the defendants and their services. For example, one customer who sought a refund and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau received a letter from the defendants’ lawyer. The letter stated that seeking a refund was extortion under Florida law and, “since you used email to make your threats, you would be subject to a federal extortion charge, which carries a term of imprisonment of up to two years and potential criminal fines.”
– Source FTC
Inventor Red Flags
This list can be used as a guide to verify the credibility of invention promotion companies. The more warnings there are, the more cautious you should be.
- Company refuses to provide in writing the number of ideas they have represented and how many inventors made more money than they invested.
- Company refuses to provide in writing the number of ideas that have been sent to them and how many they accepted.
- Company refuses to provide inventor with at least three clients (preferably in the inventors own local area) that can verify their credibility.
- Salesmen apply pressure to send money in right away.
- Company tells you to fully describe your idea in writing and then tells you to mail this information to yourself and not open the envelope. This ploy is used to give the inventor the false impression that the idea is somehow protected. In fact, it does absolutely nothing.
- Company recommends that a design patent be applied for.
- Company provides a patent search without a patentability opinion.
- You can never directly reach the salesman without leaving a message. The salesman is most likely working out of his home and is using a phone drop.
- Company claims to be located in one State but all correspondence is postmarked from another State. Frauds commonly use fictitious addresses and mail drops to hide their true location.
- Company runs slick ads on radio, television, national magazines and (internet).
- Company offers a money back guarantee if patent does not issue.
– Source Inventors Awareness Group, Inc.
How to Protect Yourself: Invention Promotion Firms
If you have developed a new idea for a product and wish to get it manufactured and marketed, legitimate invention promotion firms may be able to assist you in finding a suitable manufacturing company. Some invention promotion firms, however, do little more than promote their own interests by taking your money and giving you nothing in return. Be cautious and consider the following:
Question success and rejection rates.
Question the firm about its success and rejection rates. Success rates show the number of clients who made more money from their invention than they paid to the firm. Rejection rates reflect the percentage of all ideas or inventions that were found unacceptable by the promotion company. Be wary of a firm that refuses to disclose this information.
Require documentation of claims.
Be wary of firms that claim to have special access to independent manufacturers looking for new products, but refuse to document such claims. Also be wary of firms that guarantee the success of your product. Additionally, you should require that the firm check for existing patents.
Beware of large up-front fees or charges.
Ask, at the outset, what the total cost of these services will be. Beware of firms that require you to pay a large up-front fee prior to performing any services.
Investigate the company.
Before making any commitments, investigate the firm. Research the company online and contact the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org to determine what others have said about the firm. Call the Attorney General’s Office in the state in which the firm is located to find out if there are any consumer complaints against the firm.
Find out the qualifications and methodology of company evaluators.
Be cautious of an invention promotion firm that offers to review or evaluate your invention but refuses to disclose details about its criteria, system of review or the qualifications of company evaluators.
Beware of high pressure sales tactics.
Closely examine the contract. Make sure that your contract contains all agreed-upon terms before you sign it. If possible, have the agreement reviewed by an attorney prior to signing it.
– Source Florida Attorney General’s Office