Invention Submission Program
Invention City has had unparalleled success and experience in the business of invention development and commercialization. Over the past 25 years products developed, licensed and manufactured by Invention City and its partners have generated over $500 million in retail sales. We know the inventing business from the inside out, outside in, right side up, upside down, backwards and forwards. Our inventions are sold across every continent on the globe except Antarctica. Read more about us here.
Invention City would like to hear about your great idea and have the chance of offering you a royalty deal. If we say "yes" you don't risk another penny and you'll make money when we do. Sound too good to be true? Here's the fine print up front:
- The odds are 200 to 1 that we'll say "no."
- You pay $65 to make a submission.
- We generally take around 40% of any revenue your idea generates after expenses (but each deal is unique).
You can learn a little more about our deals here. But what you need to focus on now is that we're asking 199 out of 200 people to pay us to say "no." That most likely means you.
Why would you pay us to say "no"?
Because when we say "no" we give you valuable feedback that may help you improve your invention or may cause you to rethink it entirely. The best way to make money from an invention is to take a hard look at all of the reasons the invention might fail and try to address those reasons before you file a patent, develop a prototype, or pursue a licensing deal.
That fact is that most inventions fail. Even the best ones have odds below 50/50. We've succeeded through the years because we've learned how to fail as inexpensively as possible until a success comes along, and then we exploit that success to the stars. It's a great way to prosper in the invention business, quite possibly the only way.
Whether your invention is just an idea or a new product in early production, getting a quick opinion from Invention City is likely to save you thousands of dollars. It is also possible, despite long odds, that invention City could offer you a deal that will make you tens of thousands or just maybe, even hundreds of thousands or more, as we have done with a few of Invention City's own ideas.
Other invention service companies hold out false hopes to encourage you to spend money with them. In fine print they'll tell you that the odds of success are small (true) and then in phone conversations they'll flatter you into believing that your invention might just beat the odds. Flattery is easy. All of us like to hear that our ideas are brilliant and that we have a good chance of getting rich. Well, for $20,000 or more you can enjoy the flattery and maybe get a virtual prototype of your idea. But seeing your invention on a retail store shelf and actually making money on it - that's not likely at all. $20,000 isn't enough to do the job right. But it is enough for an invention service company to make a nice profit by encouraging you to pursue your idea.
Many patent attorneys are no different. They'll tell you that the first thing you need to do is protect your idea even before you even have a final product design, or know the details of your invention, or before you go out and get market feedback. If you have a lot of ideas you'll quickly figure out that patenting every idea right away is good way to become bankrupt. Even worse, if you file a patent too early in the development process, you're probably not covering the most important details - you'll need to file a second patent to cover those!
Prior to having a patent filed it is very important to keep your idea confidential. But, if saving money matters to you, you should get feedback from a trustworthy, ethical and experienced source to help you decide if an idea is worth patenting at all.
The risks of going forward with an invention are high. The cost for Invention City and its partners to take a relatively simple idea and turn it into a product on the shelf at Wal-Mart often runs upwards of $200,000. Most people can't afford that risk. We can because we're very careful about saying "yes." You should be careful too and get professional feedback as early as possible.
Invention City's feedback is not the last word on success or failure. But it can save you a lot of money by helping you make better decisions on what to do next and how to move forward.
For $65 Invention City will quickly give you a "yes" or "no", feedback that could save you thousands, and in some cases a deal offer that could make you much, much more.
Here's the process:
- Put the Confidentiality Agreement in place and pay the $65 submission fee.
- Receive email from Mike Marks or Chris Galazzi (respectively President and Vice President of Invention City) to set up a time to disclose your invention.
- Have a 15-20 minute conversation with Mike or Chris and get immediate feedback on your invention (or email communication of preferred).
- Receive a follow up email with suggested next steps. Those steps might be ideas for further development or a recommendation that you reconsider your idea and possibly pursue something else.
- If we offer to develop and commercialize your invention the terms of the offer generally include the following key points:
- No further investment by the inventor.
- Revenue sharing of profits where you receive between 25-75%.
Each offer is unique to the invention. It is not exclusive and you have no obligation to sign with Invention City.
We look forward to having the chance of speaking with you!
If you'd like to take the next step please continue to the section below:
Our submission process is fast, easy, honest and human. The agreement below protects your idea when you disclose it to us, even if you have not applied for a patent. Please read it carefully. If you do not understand it please consult with a professional legal adviser. If you accept the agreement and wish to submit your invention to us, please enter your name and click on "Pay Now" at the bottom of the agreement. This will activate the agreement and take you to PayPal.com where you will be asked to pay the $65 review fee. Within 24 hours of receiving your payment we will contact you to schedule a 20 minute telephone review and consultation.
We look forward to learning about your invention!
AGREEMENT TO KEEP INFORMATION CONFIDENTIAL
This Agreement is made as of the date hereof by and between Inventor ("Inventor") and Invention City, Inc., a Massachusetts corporation ("Reviewer").
Inventor has developed a unique invention idea (the "Product") and wishes to disclose the Product to Reviewer for evaluation of a possible business relationship ("Disclosure"). Inventor wants Reviewer to keep Product information confidential. Inventor and Reviewer agree as follows:
1. Reviewer shall hold in confidence all information relating to the Product, and shall not directly or indirectly disclose to others such information. Reviewer shall protect Product information as carefully as it protects its own trade secret information.
2. Inventor retains all rights to the Product.
3. Any improvements to the Product suggested by Reviewer are owned by Inventor. Reviewer agrees to assign such improvements to Inventor and to execute any and all further documents regarding such information that may be requested by Inventor.
4. The obligation of confidentiality does not apply to any information that was already known by Reviewer at the time of Disclosure; was already published at the time of Disclosure, or, that was disclosed by a third party prior to the Disclosure, provided that the third party had authority to make such Disclosure.
5. The obligations of confidentiality cease when, a) Product information becomes generally known through no fault of Reviewer, b) upon voluntary disclosure of Product information by Inventor to the public, or c) 7 years from the date hereof.
6. This Agreement is governed by Massachusetts law and all disputes under this Agreement that cannot be settled by the parties themselves or with the assistance of a mediator within one month of notice of the dispute (except for the issuance of an injunction) will be settled by arbitration on an accelerated basis in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association to be held in Barnstable, Massachusetts.
By entering my legal name and clicking on "Pay Now" below I understand that I am entering into a legally binding Agreement with Invention City to protect the confidentiality of my invention for review.
Pay Now will activate the agreement
and take you to PayPal.com where you
will be asked to pay $65 )
Please send questions to "info at inventioncity.com" (remove spaces and use @ if you copy email address)
Invention City, Inc. PO Box 493, East Orleans, MA 02643 - 508-255-5227 - www.InventionCity.com
1. Why do you charge $65 for a submission if you make money from successful inventions? There are several reasons. First, inventors who have a quick phone consultation with us get honest input that will probably save them thousands of dollars - it's a great value even if we say "no." Second, we want to be sure that people who make submissions are serious and don't take advantage of our time. Third, if we say "yes" and proceed to commercialize your idea it's likely that we'll be investing $200,000 or more, with no promise of success. $65 is a small price to pay when you're asking someone to consider a $200,000+ investment.
2. What percentage does Invention City usually take? The percentage varies depending on how much Invention City needs to invest to put together a deal. It can be as low as 25% and as high as 75%.
3. Can I submit my invention to other companies at the same time? You can, but we don't recommend it. It's a very bad idea to get multiple companies interested in your invention - that's one of the leading causes of knockoffs. Exclusivity will be required if we accept your invention and we enter into an agreement with you.
3. What's a typical licensing deal? A common licensing deal will pay from 2-5% of the "net sales price" of the product. "Net sales" means the price after deductions for returns, discounts and promotions. The idea is that the royalty is paid on what the company actually receives when it sells the product. If the company receives $10 and the royalty is 5% then, for each unit sold, the inventor and Invention City share $0.50. This is a very fair deal. For an understanding of why this is fair please read Money & Inventing.
4. Is licensing all you do? Sometimes we can marry an invention with an entrepreneur and put together a deal that combines licensing and equity. The stars must align for this to happen, but we've done it twice already and have found such deals to work well. There are also options to develop a manufacturing source and sell product directly from that source to distributors - money is made as a markup from the source rather than as a royalty from a marketer. Finally, if you want to build your own business around your invention and have the ability and resources to do so, we may be able to help.
5. Will you refund my money if I'm unsatisfied? Yes.
Have a specific question? Please send it to "info at inventioncity.com" (remove spaces and use @ if you copy email address)
A good invention submission partner is one way an inventor can maximize the likelihood of success. Presenting an invention to potential licensees requires the invention to be developed beyond the idea stage. A working prototype is critical. The value of the prototype is enhanced if the design is also engineered for manufacturing and accompanied by research on prior art. The partner who submits the invention should also have a good understanding of the marketplace.
Selling or licensing an invention is tricky and getting a good non-disclosure agreement is important. The best and often the only way to get a worthwhile non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is to have advance credibility with the potential licensee. This is something that a good invention submission partner offers to a new inventor.
The issues described above are some of the reasons an inventor would want and benefit from an established well-respected partner who can both develop an invention and then submit the invention on behalf of the inventor.
Licensing is the easiest path to commercialization and profit: you get paid while someone else takes your invention, turns it into a product and manages the day to day grind of making and selling it.
When you give a company the right to make and sell your invention in return for payment, you are granting a license - you are the "licensor" the company is the "licensee". The payment can be an ongoing percentage of sales, a "royalty", or it can be a one-time payment, a "buyout".
The downsides to licensing are lack of control and a smaller share of profits. The upsides are less work, less investment and less risk. If you want to maximize the potential return from your invention AND you are willing to work extraordinarily hard AND you have the ability to build and manage a business… then licensing might not be the right solution for you. For everyone else it's a path worth serious consideration.
Many inventors harbor the fantasy that someone will pay for an undeveloped idea. While fantasies sometimes come true (someone does win the lottery), you should keep your feet planted firmly in reality. Fortune 500 corporations will only license patented (or patent pending) inventions. Smaller companies are more flexible but also have a strong preference for ideas that are developed and possess some form of intellectual property protection.
The steps to licensing an invention are as follows:
1. Identify & research target companies.
2. Approach prime targets
3. Confidentiality agreement
4. Prepare for negotiation
5. Initial presentation
8. Divorce and Remarriage
Read more in Inventing 102: Introduction to Licensing
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