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Inventor Scams

The article below describes what can happen when you deal with an unprofessional organisation that isn't complying with BS8538
Always contact the Patent Office or a trusted professional advisor if you are unsure of what to do.
Being an inventor is a wonderful thing, now that you have your idea, thought it through, drawn it and maybe even made a prototype, what do you do next? Maybe you see an advertisement on television or in a newspaper and duly send off for the Free Information Pack that is offered. You are now on verge of being scammed, which could cost you your idea, your Intellectual Property rights and a lot of money. Here is how the scam works in general :-

The Information Pack you receive will contain lots of glossy papers plus a Confidentiality Agreement which must be signed and returned to the company offering help. In this contract will be Terms and Conditions usually stating that should your idea be accepted by them they will prepare a Marketing Report which generally costs between £450 - £500, plus an upfront fee say £5000 and they take 10% of any profits and this fee is on a sliding scale say down to £3000 and 30% of profits. Have the documentation checked by a lawyer, there is nothing illegal here.

Assume you pay for the Marketing Report. When this arrives on your doorstep, a most impressive document indeed, your name and your invention's name will be emblazened across its many pages. Read it and be impressed, read it again and notice how out of date the information contained in it is. What you are reading is in fact a computer run-off standard document that everyone gets who submits an idea to your chosen company.
By now someone from the company to which you have exposed your idea will have made contact. He/she may be American, they will become your best friend and tell you how your wonderful idea will make it big in "such and such" a market and how the board of directors for his/her company are so impressed with it, and no matter how you do it, cajole friends, the bank, sell a kidney, but raise the money for the next stage of your product's development. Once the money is handed over the scam is complete.
For the next few months you will receive lists of companies that have been sent your idea, these companies may or may not exist, they are generally photocopied from industry directories. After a given time you may receive a call saying that your idea did not make it, if you do it will be a first.

How can such companies operate and do this? The answer is simple....YOU let them by signing the contract in the first place and they have fulfilled that contract.
No legitimate invention promotion company will ask for large sums of money upfront. Check that the company is compliant with BS8538.