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What’s the Difference Between an Invention Submission Company & a Quality Service Provider?

By: Edward Ayres – CEO of Inventor Process, Inc.

Inventors, when you have a new product idea it’s a smart move to recognize you’re going to need assistance. However, the company you turn to for help is just as important as the invention you’re bringing to the marketplace. The wrong company, can ruin your great idea.

Far too often, aspiring inventors cripple their chances of success by turning to invention submission companies. Why wouldn’t you? These constantly-advertising businesses brag about their connections, their databases of companies, and best of all…the promise to do EVERYTHING for you. Now that sounds good!

All you have to do is pay them, and then wait for that dreamed-about “you’re now rich” phone call. But here’s the problem with that call…it never actually comes. So, what are you supposed to do? What CAN you do? As an inventor what options do you have? Is there anyone you can trust?


Thankfully, there are honest, reputable and established firms that provide business development services to inventors. These firms provide the organizational, development, intellectual property, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, and legal services you’ll need to successfully commercialize your invention. 

The big question? How can you spot the difference between invention submission companies and reputable service providers? There are some noticeable features you can use to distinguish the difference, and safeguard your product’s success.

Invention Submission Companies:

I’m sure you’ve seen and heard commercials for Invention Submission Companies on TV, radio, online, and social media. They advertise a lot! Regardless of the company, their chief message is almost cookie-cutter identical: “We’ll do everything for you.”

 To the novice inventor, it may sound almost too good to be true. And those instincts would be correct. That old adage is as valid today as ever: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Here are the telltale signs for spotting invention submission companies:

1. These companies will often boast that it’s easy for them to license a new invention, especially because they have a “huge database” of companies looking for new ideas just like yours. Here’s a quick question: If their databases are so great, why are their success rates so dismal? Licensing is achievable; however, it shouldn’t be described as easy.

2. Do you know what their biggest hook is? It came up earlier. They promise to do everything for you. That’s very appealing, but it’s utterly misleading. The fact is, to pursue a licensing agreement, you as the inventor, must invest time and effort into the process.

3. WARNING: They employ sales pros rather than invention experts, and these pros use proven sales methods to separate you from as much of your money as possible. How do I know? Because it’s easy to spot if you know what to look for. Here are the signs.

  • Their representatives often try to sell you their service plans before ever learning about your invention. At that point it’s blatantly obvious; they do not care if their services are right for you or if your product is a good candidate for licensing. Why do they do this? Because many of these invention-help companies provide subpar, ineffective services that generate massive profits…for them.
  • The pick your own adventure! It’s common practice for invention submission companies to offer you three package options that get progressively more expensive to pick from. This is an old-yet-profitable sales technique that prevents the binary option of Yes or No. It significantly increases their close rate. Fun fact: most people don’t pick the cheapest option; they typically pick the middle option. However, the real question you should be asking: “What package works for my product?” If their least expensive option works, why are they trying to sell you the more expensive package?
  • How can the price be the same for every product? Now, that’s a question that needs unpacking: It’s obviously about selling services and not providing meaningful assistance when you’re offered pre-established, set-price packages regardless of the invention.  It doesn’t matter if your invention is a spatula, a boardgame, a tool, or even an invisible flying car; their pricing is the same. How is that possible? Doesn’t it require a lot more work to develop, patent and market a flying car versus a spatula?
  • The last clue you’re working with a salesperson versus an invention industry expert is the use of FOMO. The sales teams at these invention submission companies are experts at using your fear of missing out (FOMO) as a closing tactic. Do not be paralyzed by indecision, but you do have time to make a good decision.

4. Quality of service is important. In stark contrast to quality, invention submission companies typically provide generic, boilerplate service packages to every inventor that contacts them because their main goal is to sell a package to you rather than providing solutions to your patenting, marketing and negotiation needs. These boilerplate packages are easily completed and offer a huge profit to the company. Not-So-Fun fact: In my office there are seven hard bound blue books offered by a leading invention submission company, and all seven are the same book with only minimal information, like the product and inventor’s name, changed.

5. Reputation check. With the power of the internet, anyone can bash anyone for any reason…and they often do. Despite this reality, it’s worth looking into the review track record of the company you’re considering working with. Is there a trend of good reviews, bad reviews, lawsuits, etc.? Remember, from time-to-time, especially when working with the public, a negative review will occur. What’s important to take notice of is how often they occur and how the company responds. This can tell you a lot. Often, these invention-help companies have poor reviews, poor responses, and poor reputations.

It is my opinion, formed from 23-years of invention industry experience, that these companies prey on the excitement, inexperience, and unrealistic expectations of new independent inventors. The typical result:  The inventor’s enthusiasm and desire to impact the marketplace is damaged, unnecessary fees are incurred, and dreams are deferred, if not outright dashed. The quickest and most efficient way to avoid this fate is through Inventor Education and turning to quality service providers rather than Invention Submission companies.

Always remember: Success must be baked, not microwaved.


Professional Service Providers:

In the invention industry, quality service providers are individuals and/or companies that offer useful business development services to independent inventors. These are generally people and/or organizations with expertise in one or more facets of new product introduction, and they provide a valuable service for a fair price.

As an inventor, you can utilize their services in the research, design, patenting, manufacturing and/or marketing of your product.

Another key point:  Quality service professionals won’t make sky-high promises about invention success. They should be confident in the quality of their services; however, no one can guarantee what outcome you’ll achieve as you compete in the marketplace. Because you are competing in a frenzied marketplace, you should want the best tools, services, and guidance available.

Here’s some helpful tips on identifying quality service providers:

  1. They’re active Quality service providers make an investment in listening and understanding their clients. They take the necessary time to learn about your product, your goal and your needs (aka the problem), and then they determine if their services and expertise are a fit (aka the solution). It’s not just about selling one-size-fits-all services to inventors. They understand it’s about offering valuable commercialization assets that enhance the likelihood of market success.
  2. They employ experts. Quality invention industry service providers employ professional staff and dedicated experts with an enhanced skillset in one or more facets of product development and commercialization. How can you tell if you’re dealing with experts? Here are a few clues:

• Product knowledge is a huge indicator. Their representatives should be able to easily convey how their product and/or service provides the solutions to the hurdles you’re facing. For instance, can they clearly explain how a trademark and patent filing meet your intellectual property goals? An experienced designer will be able to explain the processes and procedures they believe applicable in building a quality prototype. However, they can only do this after learning about you and your invention.

  • Just say no to jargon. If you’re in any industry long enough you’ll pick up the lingo, however, that doesn’t mean your service provider should communicate with you, the inventor, in such terms. A solution-oriented service provider will be able to provide easy-to-understand explanations and clear answers to questions.
  • Experience is paramount, and they should be able to demonstrate their ability, experience, and past accomplishments through their work product. Look for a track record of providing others the very solutions they are offering to you. For instance, a 3-D product designer should be able to provide examples of past projects that demonstrate their ability and particular style.
  • Time is important, and quality service providers have the time necessary for their clients. This doesn’t mean they’ll always have time to chit chat…remember they are working, but they shouldn’t always be in a rush. From time to time, hectic happens, but if things are always hectic, that’s an indicator of misaligned focus and priorities.
  • Ethics, honesty and integrity. Anyone can say the words, but an expert’s language, actions and quality of services will exude those qualities.

3. Quality service providers assist in providing specific and tailored solutions, and not general service plans, for your Product Development, Intellectual Property, Manufacturing, Marketing & Negotiations needs. Here’s a few things to look for:

  • Value-added services. The services they provide should help you maximize your opportunities for success. If the services are not adding value to your commercialization process, they’re not needed.
  • The business development assets you’ll need during your commercialization process will depend on your product, your industry, and the route you’re pursuing to the marketplace. An overview of a few of those services may include the development of a “Go-to-Market” plan, product design & development, intellectual property strategies & implementation, marketing research, marketing collaterals, development & execution of marketing campaigns, website design & development, inventor education, advice and coaching.
  • Quality is important. You may be noticing a theme here, and that’s because quality can’t be understated for separating the wheat from the chaff. Professional organizations will specialize in their fields, and should produce high-quality, product-specific services that help your product garner market attention.
  • Please note: One company can rarely provide every single service that may be necessary when developing and commercializing an invention. There are multi-faceted firms that provide an array of quality services, but even they don’t (and likely don’t claim to) do it all.

4. Once again, check the reviews and reputations of any service provider before you pay for their services. Here’s what you’re hoping to find: Multiple organic, positive reviews across several platforms. Please remember, no one is perfect, and it’s the pattern or trend of the reviews that you’re most interested in.

5. Innovative Thinking & Environment. This might just be me, but if an organization is helping product entrepreneurs with the business of inventing, then their solutions, product offerings and approach should be innovative, evolving and shattering the everyday.

Remember, quality service providers deliver value-added services that assist you in the successful commercialization of your product. Yes, you will need to pay for their services, but if you hire the right firm, the benefits will certainly outweigh the investment.

To clarify, while it may have sounded as if I was bashing sales teams, that is certainly not the case. Sales are the lifeblood of any organization. However, are the sales professionals focused on Problem/Solution, or merely pushing one-size-fits all packages?

It’s the right decision to seek assistance when developing and launching a new invention. However, the companies you choose to work with can either propel you forward, have no impact, or cripple your chances of success.

My recommendation is that you research and then utilize vetted, high-quality service providers with a proven track record to provide the invention development assets you’ll need. While the advertisements of the big Invention Submission Companies may sound promising, that’s the wrong approach to turn an idea into a hit new product.

In closing:  Find a company that fosters a culture of inventor education and empowerment along with providing high-quality business development services.

My last piece of advice: Take action. Turn your dream into a profitable product. Then, as Zig Ziglar used to say, “I’ll see you at the top!”

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