These are the questions I’m most commonly asked, but if I haven’t touched on something that concerns you, please feel free to send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“How do I know you won’t steal my idea?”
That’s a reasonable question and deserves an answer.
1. Before you submit your idea, you’ll receive a Non-Disclosure Agreement which legally restricts me from showing your idea to anyone outside my organization or from using your idea for my own use.
2. I think you can trust my reputation and I invite you to check me out. Read my books, read my articles, ask around. I’ve been in this business for decades and it stands to reason that I couldn’t have been doing this kind of work for so long if I was in the habit of taking other people’s ideas.
If you go to a patent attorney, you can be confident that he won’t take your idea for himself, and you can have that same confidence with me.
“I asked you to call me and you didn’t. How come?”
Lots of inventors e-mail or call with the request that I call them to discuss their ideas before they submit them – but I never call. First, I apologize to each of you, and hope you understand that it isn’t personal. There are good reasons why I won’t chat with inventors about their ideas unless I’m already working with them.
1. In most instances the inventions aren’t patented, and for your protection as well as mine, my attorney strongly urges that I not engage in this sort of dialog with someone I don’t know.
2. I can’t talk intelligently about an idea unless I have it in front of me, and I don’t want to be in the position of seeming to sell an inventor on sending it in. If he or she does submit it based on a telephone chat, and if it turns out that it’s not an idea that I feel I can work with, the inventor might think that I wrongly “sold” him on making a submission. I’m not running one of those come-on invention marketing companies like you see advertised on TV and I have no reason to con anybody. My website clearly spells out who I am and what I do. The investment is a modest one and there is more than enough information available about me all over the internet for a person to decide if he or she wants to proceed.
I understand that you feel no idea is more important than yours and I don’t blame you – that’s the way you should think – but please understand that I can only act on ideas if they are submitted in the manner outlined on the website.
If I submit more than one product idea, can I get a discount?
Yes, I’m happy to say. The fee for a single submission is $189.00. If you submit two or more at the same time, there is a 10% discount. If you submit two products, the cost is $170.10 each, a total savings of $37.80. If you submit three, the saving is $56.70 ($18.90 X 3). Please note that the submissions must be made at the same time… not one, then another, then another.
How long does the process take?
Please allow about three weeks after we get your submission. Sometimes it takes a little less time, sometimes a little more, but be assured we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.
Does my product have to be patented to submit it?
Absolutely not. Many of the world’s best selling products aren’t patented. I judge each submission on its merits, patented or not. Having a patent on your idea doesn’t always make it more desirable, just as not having a patent doesn’t necessarily make it less so. Much depends on the nature of your concept and the market in which you hope to license it. When I see your idea, I’ll be able to suggest the type of protection I think your idea warrants.
Can we really just submit an idea?
Yes, certainly. If it’s for a simple consumer product, and if we like the concept, that’s often all we need. We’ll bring it up to a professional level, make the presentation material, make the prototypes if necessary, and then go out to find you a licensing deal.
However, if your concept is more complicated – perhaps involving a mechanical, electrical or electronic apparatus or system to make it work we don’t do the inventing for you. Remember: We’re the agent; you’re the inventor. It’s your job to create the product. And, as the sole owner, it’s your responsibility and it’s for your benefit to make sure it’s adequately protected. We will advise, but we’re not in the patent business. We’re in the business of making licensing deals.
Do I have any financial obligation you forgot to tell me about?
You pay me nothing other than the $189 (about what it costs for a half hour of your lawyer’s time); not now, not ever. I’m an agent in the true sense of the word. I pay my own expenses, I don’t become your co-inventor, and I get rewarded only if I get us a deal. I don’t sell patenting, research or marketing services. I’m in the business of making licensing deals. Period.
Tell me again, what’s the deal?
Licensing agents in relationships like this usually receive 50% of the proceeds because they have the experience and skill to re-design an original idea to make it more commercially appealing, the financial resources to construct a professional presentation, and the contacts to make something happen. Our deal is that you get 60% and we get 40% on the first $100,000 per year in royalties, and you get 80% on all funds above that amount. After six months, if I haven’t gotten us a deal, or don’t have one in negotiation, you are free to cancel the agreement with no hard feelings. That’s as fair a deal as I know how to make.
What about the licensing contract? Do I need a lawyer?
If a lawyer’s needed, I’ll hire one and pay his fees. However, I’ve negotiated more than 100 deals over the years and unless it’s unusually complicated, I’m confident I can get us the deal we’re entitled to. Remember, it’s your right to approve every deal before it’s official. Even so, if you want your own lawyer, that’s fine with me.