Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

IPWatchdog Sued by Invention Submission Corporation (dba InventHelp).

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on January 27, 2010


Per this post at the IPWatchdog last week, patent law blogger Gene Quinn is being sued by Invention Submission Corporation (ISC), an invention promotion company that currently does business as “InventHelp®”.  A copy of the complaint may be downloaded here.

IPWatchdog has long been a vocal critic of invention promotion companies, and for good reason.  As most patent attorneys and agents will attest, invention promotion companies do not directly compete with patent law firms.  Rather, many invention promotion companies provide dubious invention marketing services (and patent services by referral) at a very high cost to clients.  Indeed, horror stories from clients who have been victimized by invention promotion companies abound at most patent law firms.  

But Gene is not alone in trying to spread the word about unscrupulous invention promotion companies.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have been highly critical of invention promoters.  The USPTO maintains a list of published complaints against invention promotion companies here, and goes as far as providing a downloadable form that may be completed and submitted to the USPTO for such complaints.  The USPTO also publishes a good brochure on scam prevention that details the various “hooks” that are used by invention promotion companies to lure inventors into scams. 

The FTC further provides general facts for consumers, with good advice on what to look out for when dealing with an invention promotion company.  With respect to ISC, in particular, this frequently requested record with a list of ISC complaints from the FTC web site is informative.

In summary, all inventors should be wary of becoming involved with any invention promotion company.  At the very least, inventors should exercise all due care in investigating whomever they are considering engaging to handle their patent matters.

For further reading on this topic, our readers are also referred to these earlier AT! posts about invention promoters: Help, I’ve been scammed by an Invention Promoter!; and Bender v. Dudas

JW Note:  This is not the first time that ISC has sued based on warnings to the public about invention promotion companies.  See this 2004 post at the PatentlyO patent law blog, detailing ISC’s failed attempt to petition the SCOTUS after its lawsuit against the USPTO, which had conducted an advertising compaign warning the public of invention promotion scams, was dismissed at district court and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.