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 Read it and be impressed, read it again and notice how out of date the information contained in it is.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.
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.
Always contact the Patent Office or a trusted professional advisor if you are unsure of what to do.
You can find out more about what TBB does by reading our Questions page, especially the Finance Questions.