This scam preys on small business owners looking to protect an invention. The so-called “promotion company” will charge a hefty fee to “evaluate” the invention. The results of the evaluation pretty much hinge on the ability to pay, i.e. if you pay the fee, the company will say that your invention is wonderful with plenty of potential.
Of course, this leads to additional scams. One variation is to charge a large amount of money to get legal protection (patent, copyright, trademark, etc.). Or you could be offered a bogus marketing plan that will take more money from your wallet. If you happen to have a truly worthwhile invention, expect the company to push you to sign over your rights to it for little or no money.
This week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a civil contempt action against four people and eight businesses for alleged deceptive trade practices that include some of the misconduct that I’ve described here.
What this means is that the defendants were already nailed in court but continued to operate.
If you’ve got an invention or other intellectual property to protect, use a reputable business attorney if you don’t know how to do the work yourself.
Hat tip to ConsumerAffairs.com