Find the Best Invention and Patent Services
Compare Top Invention and Patent Services
|Read 364 Reviews|
Helps inventors bring their ideas to life at any stage of the invention process. Offers services like 3-D prototyping, referrals to patent attorneys and marketing plans. Has more than 60 offices nationwide.
|Get Pricing Call Now Toll Free (888) 683-4332|
Read 2,093 Reviews
Helps creators develop products and apps. Assesses ideas confidentially and, if viable, assists in their development and marketing. Also offers packaging design and licensing services.
For Sale by Inventor
Read 398 Reviews
For Sale by Inventor works with inventors and companies to help patent, design and sell inventions. Partnered with Walmart, Sears and Amazon.com, they offer quick and inexpensive methods to help any invention come to life.
|Get Pricing Call Now Toll Free (855) 345-3728|
Read 102 Reviews
Assists in patenting, designing, licensing and selling inventions. Large network of retailers, including major big-box stores. Many customer success stories. Confidential idea submission.
|Get Pricing Call Now Toll Free (888) 844-2002|
|Mars Rising Network|
Read 74 Reviews
The Mars Rising Network has helped first time inventors and experienced inventors protect, develop and market their ideas since 2007. They offer patent services, licensing services, 3D animation, production/promotion and more.
Read 72 Reviews
TeleBrands was founded in 1987 as a retail product promoter. It has launched many products under the name As Seen on TV, which are sold via infomercials or retail partners. Inventors can also submit ideas on TeleBrands’ website.
Read 20 Reviews
Innovative Licensing has been in business for over 20 years, helping inventors design and patent their ideas. They offer assistance with obtaining patents and selling inventions, as well as all other aspects of the process.
|Docie Invention & Patent Marketing||Read Author Review|
Docie Invention & Patent Marketing has been in business since 1976, offering patenting and other invention services to entrepreneurs for over 30 years. They offer free resources and a free evaluation via their website online.
|Idea4Invention.com||Read Author Review|
Idea4Invention offers help to inventors, from the beginning of the process to the very end. Their services include invention assistance, prototype assistance, marketing assistance and patenting assistance.
|InventionIdeas.org||Read Author Review|
InventionIdeas offers a wealth of information for inventors. Their website has lots of resources available, including patent research, patent application assistance, business plans and invention company information.
What to look for in an invention or patent service
What technical experience does the service offer?
Some invention and patent services specialize in particular product types, industries or services. Be sure that you research the company and any attorneys or other service providers that it partners with to verify that it is experienced and qualified enough to meet your needs.
- Field of experience: Look for patent services that work with attorneys who have experience in the exact field of your invention. It is important to know that they have experience developing and marketing products that are similar to yours.
- Former clients: Find out whether the service has worked with clients in your field, and ask for a list of successful former clients to serve as references. Some companies will say that this information is confidential or legally protected, but this is a red flag that might indicate the company does not have a successful track record.
- Attorney characteristics: All attorneys who work with patent service companies must have some kind of technical experience to pass the bar exam, but some have more specialized experience than others. Look for a company that works closely with a patent or trademark attorney who has a clear record of success.
How much does the service cost?
Patent costs vary from company to company, but it’s a good idea to try to get an accurate estimate of the costs up front. Companies that will not provide a fee schedule up front are more likely to pile on unexpected charges throughout the process.
- Itemized charges: Depending on what you are using the service for, you may be charged a fee to have your idea assessed, research patents in related industries, file for a temporary patent, file for a permanent patent, prototype your product, develop marketing materials and more. You might also be charged for things like securing your contract with the company or paying lawyer or court fees. All of these fees can add up fast; ask for a complete list of all of the charges associated with the service before signing anything or submitting your idea.
- Billing: Does the service bill by the hour or have a standard fee for filing? Find out exactly what you are billed for and when.
- Price cap: Some patent services set a price cap, which can ensure you don’t get any big surprises when the bill comes.
- Low prices: Most patent services charge rates that are within a 20 percent range of each other. Extremely low rates can be a sign of problems with a service.
How big is the company?
Companies of all sizes can file successful patents. But depending on the type of your invention, you might prefer to work with a large patent services company vs. a small company or vice-versa.
- Nature of invention: Big companies will likely spend less time writing a patent, but will have more people review it. On the other hand, small companies will often offer more personal attention.
- Guidance: Smaller companies are likely to offer more guidance. But if you already understand the patent process for inventions, you might be better off with a large company that offers more resources.
- Client load: Find out how many clients the firm is working with currently. Most qualified services should be working with at least one or two new clients every few weeks; major firms secure around 5–10 patents each month.
What is the company's success rate?
One of the best ways to evaluate a patent service is to investigate the company’s success rate. It’s not always easy to find this information, but it is a valuable measure of a company’s worth.
- Number of patents: Ask the company for names and patent numbers for all the patents they have helped inventors secure in the last several months. A good company should at least have 2-4 secured patents a month, preferably more.
- Success rate: Ask your contact at the company what percentage of their clients are able to secure a patent. This can help you get a feel for how likely it is that your idea will be patented. Also, ask what percent of the products they have marketed have seen a significant return on investment.
- Major retailers: Ask for a list of clients’ products that have been picked up by major retailers. Many companies will list these on their website, but be sure to ask what percent of the clients they represent have seen products picked up by major retailers.
Does the company work with attorneys?
To patent an invention, you have to file legal paperwork. Some patent and invention service companies do not secure patents, leaving you to find an attorney on your own, which will add to your expense.
- Attorneys on staff: The most convenient type of invention service company will have attorneys on staff who specialize in patent law. These attorneys can complete and file all your paperwork for you.
- Partner attorneys: Some patent service companies work with certain attorneys as their partners and share their profits with the attorney. Be sure that any relevant attorney fees are included in your quote.
- No attorney: Companies that do not have an attorney on staff or do not outsource work to attorney partners will not be able to help you secure a patent. They may be able to help you learn about the process and conduct market research to see if your idea is actionable, but you will have to secure a patent on your own.
Types of invention and patent services
Full-service patent companies offer marketability testing, patent searches, legal patenting services, marketing to retailers and more. They work with inventors from idea conception through retail sales.
Individual service company
Some companies specialize in one or two aspects of the invention and patent process. For instance, a company may help with prototyping or marketability research.
There are many services that connect inventors with patent service companies for a fee. These may be helpful if you need extra guidance.
When to use an invention or patent service
When you have invented a product
Anyone who invents a new, non-obvious and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter or improvement of any of these items can apply for a patent.
When you have invented a design
Anyone who invents an ornamental design that is nonfunctional, new and non-obvious can apply for a patent.
When you have produced plants
Anyone who successfully produces a new plant variety can apply for a patent.
When you have an idea but need help developing a prototype
Patent laws do not require that you have a prototype of your idea in order to file for a patent, but you must be able to describe it or diagram it well enough that others could make and use it.
Invention and patent services FAQ
- Can you sell an idea to a company without a patent?
- Yes, but most companies won’t buy an idea or invention that doesn’t have at least some form of legal protection. If you’re selling an idea for an invention, two simpler ways to protect your intellectual property include:
- Having the company sign a nondisclosure agreement, which stops it from using your idea without your approval
- Filing a patent application, which at least establishes that you had the idea first
Unfortunately, many companies won’t sign nondisclosure agreements, so going through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is still your best bet.
- What is a poor man's patent?
- A poor man’s patent involves mailing a description of your invention to yourself to establish when you had the idea. Unfortunately, this is an invalid method of proving ownership because the paper trail is weak and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office now works on a first-inventor-to-file system. This means that the first person to file a patent for an invention is legally its inventor, even if someone else can prove they had the idea first.
- How much does it cost to patent an idea?
- Patenting a simple idea usually costs $5,000 - $7,000, but complicated inventions cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. These costs primarily come from two different sources:
- Patent fees you pay to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office — usually a few hundred dollars
- Legal fees you pay a patent lawyer for their help researching and preparing your patent application — usually $200 - $500 per hour
There are also ongoing costs for revising, maintaining and enforcing your patent that vary from case to case.
- What to do if you have an idea for an invention?
- If you have an idea for an invention, contact a patent and invention service company. Patent attorneys help:
- Document your work. You should keep extensive notes as you work on your design and, if possible, have a trusted witness sign off on them. A patent service can tell you whether you have enough documentation.
- Do a preliminary patent search. Even if you had your idea out of the blue, you still need to make sure no one else has patented or submitted designs for something similar.
- Finalize your design. You can’t change your patent once it’s filed, so it’s important to iron out your invention now. Some patent services will even help you build a working prototype.
- File a patent application. Patent lawyers help clients fill out and submit their applications so that they have the highest possible chance of success.
- Can you sell an idea for an invention?
- Yes, but you need to protect your intellectual property if you want to make any money off it. Otherwise, anyone that hears the idea can steal it, and even honest buyers don’t want to invest in an idea that competitors might steal from them. Patents are the best way for inventors to claim ownership of their ideas.
Once you have your idea patented, you can either sell your rights to the patent or license its use for profit.
- How do you invent something?
- All inventors work differently, but many share similar steps in their processes:
- Pay attention to the world around you.
- Identify a need.
- Do market research.
- Develop a solution.
- Patent it.
- Sell your invention.
Invention and patent service companies help with the latter half of this process, but the initial idea is up to you.
- How do I make a prototype of my idea?
- It depends on what your idea is. Fabricators, 3D printers, machine shops and printers can all help bring your idea to life, but you need to make sure your intellectual property is secure before you go showing it to strangers.
Many invention and patent service companies help with this stage, as well. It’s often worth building a prototype to be sure your invention functions properly before you submit your patent application.
- What inventions can be patented?
- The government separates patentable subject matter into four categories— processes, machines, manufactures and compositions of matter. These categories are incredibly broad by design. Functional examples of patented inventions include:
- New plant varieties
- New chemical formulas and compositions
- Computer software
- Business methods
- How much does it cost to bring a new product to market?
- Most inventors can’t afford the thousands, if not millions, of dollars it costs to bring their own products to market. However, once you have a patent, you can get it to market by shopping around for investors, selling your patent or licensing its use to manufacturers.
The cost of bringing a product to market depends on:
- What the product is
- How much you spend on design and development
- How much you spend on prototypes
- How much it costs to manufacture
- Whether you need any certifications
- How large you want your initial run to be
- Can I get a patent for free?
- The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refers inventors who can’t afford their own patent lawyers to two programs that perform free patent application preparation, filing and prosecution services:
- The Patent Pro Bono Program matches applicants with volunteer patent lawyers.
- The Law School Clinic Certification Program provides inventors with services from law students working under the supervision of a registered patent practitioner.
Inventors submitting their own applications can also petition to have their fees waived.
- Are patents worth it?
- A patent is worth as much as the idea it protects. If your invention has the potential to make lots of money, a patent is absolutely worth it. However, if your idea has limited commercial viability, the money you spend getting a patent might go to waste.
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Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
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