Feedback. Next steps. Maybe a licensing deal.

Honest Feedback from Professionals Who Want To Make Money With You, Not From You.

We consider your invention as a potential investor and licensee, then give feedback and suggestions on the next steps. We might even offer a licensing deal. You will be in the company of smart inventors who received advice (and deals) they could trust.

"It's the best money I've ever spent and saved." J. Ransome


The Brutally Honest Review (BHR) is based on decades of commercial success. We've manufactured and sold to mass merchants, licensed to Fortune 500 corporations, fought knockoffs in federal court and have learned from failures. We know every aspect of inventing because we've done it ourselves.

This is a great service for new inventors seeking direction for an undeveloped idea and for experienced inventors with market ready products. We are always seeking new invention ideas to commercialize and licensing consideration is a part of the Brutally Honest Review. More often than not, we decline to offer a deal. But regardless of a possible licensing offer, our perspective gives us a great way to provide useful feedback that you can act on.

If we do not offer a deal, you will be told why and what you might do to turn a current "no" into a future "yes." We'll give you suggestions for next steps with the goal of helping you make good decisions that will save you time and money. If we say "yes" and you accept our licensing offer, the review fee is the only fee you will pay out of pocket. We are blunt and honest because, if we offer you a licensing deal, our own time and money are on the line.

All submissions are reviewed under our Confidentiality Agreement.


CLASSIC and SILVER are great for inventors just getting started and for submissions of multiple inventions (discounts for 2+). GOLD is a good choice for inventors and entrepreneurs seeking even deeper analysis and feedback.

All Brutally Honest Reviews (BHR) include:

  • Overview of Prior Art and Competitive Products: We search commercial and patent records to try and find products that are directly and functionally similar to your invention. Following the outlook of patent examiners, we also consider combined products.

    Patent protection of some kind is often possible. Patents that can stop knockoffs are far less common. As potential investors, the question we consider is whether or not an invention is likely to receive meaningful patent protection. This kind of patent feedback is hard to get from patent attorneys and others who have a financial interest in having you pursue patent protection.

    The Classic BHR takes a quick look at prior art; Silver, takes a deeper look and Gold takes the deepest look. The differences in BHR levels are in the number of patents we cite. Silver and Gold look beyond the USPTO, including patents filed in Europe and worldwide.

    A BHR at any level often uncovers relevant patents that dedicated patent search services fail to find. However, the search results shared in a BHR are not a substitute for a comprehensive patent search used in a non-provisional patent filing.

  • Ten Page Inventicator Analysis: The Inventicator app is based on our decades of inventing experience. We use our judgment and research along with the information you provide to score your invention on 63 weighted data points in eight categories regarding:

    1. Development Status
    2. Sales Channel
    3. Comparison with Alternatives
    4. Concept Strength
    5. Market
    6. Profit Potential and Investment Requirements
    7. Feasibility
    8. Social and Economic Considerations

    The score is benchmarked against other successful and unsuccessful inventions. With the Inventicator™ we can identify your invention's strengths and weaknesses and share that information with you. Where data are unknown we rely on our experience to estimate an answer. You can learn more about how the Inventicator works and try an online version yourself here. Note that it’s designed for professional use and susceptible to user bias. For this reason we have found that inventors who try the Inventicator™ on their own typically score their inventions 30-100 points higher than we do. However, regardless of how you score your invention, you can learn a lot by going through the tutorials and doing your own inventication. Reading and viewing the tutorials will also answer questions about how we score things.

  • Licensing Consideration: We make a decision on whether or not to offer a licensing deal based on what we find in prior art, the Inventicator analysis, our 30 years of experience and feedback from the Invention City team. If we say "no" it doesn't mean your invention will not succeed, it means that Invention City does not see enough potential profit for the level of risk and required investment. We leave the door open to reconsider your invention, pending new information and/or further development. For example, if you provide new information, such as professional survey data that shows exceptional demand from a well-defined target market, we could reconsider an offer. Likewise, if you have created a working prototype that can be field tested, that could be a basis for reconsideration. If we say "yes" we'll make you a licensing offer. If you accept our offer (there is no obligation) we will take the next steps to try and commercialize your invention at our own expense and you will be asked to pay $0 out of pocket.

  • Every deal is unique, but a common deal we offer is one where you spend no additional money and receive:

    • Share of Net Proceeds from sub-licensing
    • Royalty on Net Sales if I-City makes and sells the product
    • Performance guarantees to maintain rights.
    • A full agreement runs 6-8 pages and includes details on audit rights, payment schedule etc.
    • You are free to decline our offer without obligation.
  • Suggestions for next steps: A primary purpose of the BHR is to help you decide what steps to take next. From patents and prototypes to videos and websites, there are a lot of ways to spend a lot of money on an invention. We guide you in taking steps that fit your goals, skills and budget. If we declined to make a licensing offer, the reasons we declined are likely to be shared by other potential licensees and investors. Our suggestions will focus on overcoming the risks and potential pitfalls we identified. The differences in Basic, Silver and Gold are in how much detail we provide in our suggestions and in the number of suggestions.

  • Written Report: Each BHR level provides a written report that details the points above as follows:

    • BHR CLASSIC uses a template to organize the information in a narrative format. In addition to the specifics regarding your invention, valuable information is provided to give additional direction, perspective and guidance. The BHR BASIC report is provided in an email response with a PDF of the Inventicator Analysis as an attachment.
    • BHR SILVER provides a transcript of the live 45 minute review as an email attachment along with PDFs of the Inventicator Analysis and prior art links in a template with valuable and relevant information to give additional direction, perspective and guidance.
    • BHR GOLD provides a written report customized for your specific needs. The report integrates prior art findings, Inventicator analysis and suggestions in a pdf and is delivered in advance of the 45 minute phone/video meeting to serve as a foundation for discussion. A transcript of the live meeting is provided afterwards via enail.
  • NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement aka Confidentiality Agreement): The information provided with a BHR submission is protected by Invention City's Confidentiality Agreement.
  • Phone/Video Meeting: All BHRs include a live phone and/or video meeting. You can choose to meet via phone or via Google Meet.

    • BHR CLASSIC: A 15 minute live meeting follows the delivery of the Review.
    • BHR SILVER: The 45 minute live meeting is the centerpiece of the SILVER Review. Prior art discovery and Inventicator analysis are completed in advance. The Review is recorded and a transcript is sent afterwards.
    • BHR GOLD: A first live onboarding discussion centers the review on the Inventor's primary goals. The 45 minute live meeting follows delivery of the written Report. The Review is recorded and a transcript is sent afterwards.
  • Turn Around Time: Typical turn around time is around five business days. During busy periods it may take a bit longer.

  • GUARANTEE: We promise that we will give you honest, relevant, feedback about your invention from an investor perspective. We do not guarantee that we will invest in your invention or offer you a licensing deal. We believe that an honest "no" from us and the reasons behind it will likely save you thousands of dollars and help you make good decisions moving forward. We urge you to not submit if you are submitting only in the expectation of getting a yes. If you want us to consider your invention without receiving feedback, you can submit for free here (homework required).
  • We're rated A+ with the BBB and work hard to fulfill our promises.

    Have a question about the process? Call 612-808-8081 or email

    Sign our Confidentiality Agreement electronically and get started now.

    If you only want licensing consideration and do not want feedback, suggestions for next steps or other support, you can submit your invention for free here.

    Frequent Questions

    Examples of Inventions We've Said "YES" To

    Learn about Invention City.

    Rated A+ by BBB


    Invention City Awards

    "It's the best money I've ever spent and saved." J. Ransome

    March 30, 2023:
    "Your Brutally Honest Report on [mu invention], was honest, positive, informative, educational and contains a wealth of information. I have starred your email as a point of reference for my future work. What I have received from the organization was not a 'Yes' but the benefits that I have received from your feedback was nothing short of a 'Yes' answer.Thank you again for all the information you have provided." - B

    November 18, 2022:
    "I just want to give a big thumbs up to Invention City. I had the most professional experience I have ever had. And they proved to me that they are for real. I can compare Invention City, Inc. to the Shark Tank a TV show I love because of the honesty and not someone that will tell you a lie just to get into your bank account or take a big charge on your credit card. Dan who reviewed my invention was great. He listened to me and gave me great advice concerning my invention. And believe me that conversation with Dan saved me a lot of money that I don't have to give away at this time, to some other companies that promise the sky, and you end up with a empty bank account, and an invention that goes nowhere. Invention City Inc charges a very small fee for their review and if they feel that you invention or idea is ready for the marketplace they tell you. And if it is something that's not ready to go forward just yet they will give you great advice on how you should proceed if you desire to. I recommend Invention City. to anyone who has an invention, try Invention City first, before they go to any one else. This company is very Professional and have real good people that care, and tell you the truth. My mother always said if you know the truth, the truth will set you free. In my case I say, if you want to hear the truth about your invention or idea go to Invention City Inc, first and you will not regret it. Just want to say thanks again Invention City. I didn't lose any money. " - Laverne T

    June 25, 2021
    "Hey I just took a long look at your in-depth review, and I appreciate the experience and discernment that you bring to the table. No lone, single inventor/individual can possibly come to grips with the multiple issues that present when trying to bring something new and untested to market.
    I am going to regroup, and reconsider, before I take my next steps. The creation of a working prototype is obviously at the top of the list.The communication with Mike last week was helpful as well, I feel that it was a good choice on my part to involve you with the GRP, even if it seems like it is all “red lights” flashing at me right now! There are still a few 'chapters' to go in this book, and I am thankful for your feedback and input. You guys are very professional, and know what counts."
    N. Megorden

    May 16, 2020
    "Mike, thank you for your time and your team's dedication to offering more value than the $95 investment. Also, thank you for your candor. It was refreshing, albeit hard, to receive honest feedback. I couldn't have received more value with anyone else. I appreciate the help that exceeded my expectations. You guys are amazing!"
    K. Crandall

    February 24, 2020
    "I would like to say thank you for your time and consideration in all ideas. It's the best money I've ever spent and saved. Your knowledge and experience can make people with great ideas and at the same time save a person from investing too much time and money into an idea that may turn out to be unprofitable. ...I appreciate you and I thank you."

    J. Ransome

    October 17, 2019
    "Invention City is the real deal! Their website offers a goldmine of free information geared to help their fellow inventors be successful. I submitted a product design through Invention City's free submission portal. Shortly after submitting it, IC send me an email saying they thought my product had potential. Mike and I spoke on the phone about it on several occasions and he couldn't have been nicer. He's an expert in the field of licensing and bringing products to market. At no time was I ever asked to send money to move my product design forward. In the end, my product was not licensed by Invention City but my experience with Invention City/Mike was fantastic! I look forward to working with Mike and Invention City in the future."
    S Currell

    January 23, 2019
    "Hi Dan - Just read through your analysis. Extremely thorough and insightful. Absolutely best $95 ever spent... I have been inventing for years so I do know the route. I got spoiled with my first one... sold it for 1 million $ with NO SALES !! I know, unheard of ! It's my passion but I also know the risks as well.. ESP disappointment and closed doors. I probably will not spend more $ but may keep throwing it out to some companies to see if there was any interest. I will re-read later tonite when I have more time. Many thanks for your review and you guys are invaluable to inventors ...they should at least run ideas by you first before spending thousands." L. Adami

    January 23, 2019
    "We, people who are able to generate new ideas may potentially be inclined to over valuate our inventions’ importance for the humanity. That is OK. Nothing really wrong with creating and living for certain time in our own made-up faultless world. However, it still makes sense at certain point to get back to reality, means to get eventually acquired a sober look at the future of our inventions. Of course, we need professional, unbiased and honest assessment. The question is who are those people we may rely on with all of that? I consider I was extremely lucky finding Invention City people. Even though they have said no I have got a priceless opportunity to learn a lot of new and helpful things from the idea evaluation. The most important aspect is that after summarizing all positive and negative sides of my invention based on the Invention City evaluation it turned out I am even more confident to keep going toward my success. Thank you very much to Invention City!" Y. Ivanov

    August 21, 2018
    "I want to thank you, Dan Fulford from the bottom of my heart and for opening my eyes. You are a true blue and honest company. Without my Brutally Honest Review, I would have never found out my invention was out on the market. And the money I have spent to further my invention , not to mention years, has just went into a crooked company’s Pocket. Thank you Invention City, and thank you again, Dan!" - M. Fisher

    May 31, 2018
    "Best $95 I spent during the development of my great idea. Every inventor should seriously consider this service for a reality check. It may be a great idea, but who will invest and who will buy it are the most important questions to be answered before you spend a lot of money on going forward. Invention City is not a scam, they really do what they say they do on their website. They did say no to me, but with honest feedback on how I could improve my chances of success." - R. Venturini

    July 18, 2017
    "I have been involved in product development and personal inventing for over 30 years. In that time I have had many good fortunes with my ideas. I have also had my share of encounters with less-than honest and wholly-valueless product review companies (and have had several colleagues also fall prey to their often predatory tactics).I am very grateful to have stumbled upon Invention City and have already passed it along to several friends. There are no tactics, salesmanship or pie-in-the-sky the real world of product development you must leave your wild-eyed optimism at the door and seek out truly objective, insightful and above-reproach reviewers. If you have an idea and are in need of an honest, real-world assessment look no further.... Inventioncity IS your destination." - Dr. J Kennedy

    Invention Submission FAQ

    1. Do I need a prototype or a patent to submit for a Brutally Honest Review? No, you do not. All we need is enough information to understand your invention idea. A written description and napkin sketch are fine. Getting feedback at the earliest stage may influence how you proceed.

    2. Why do you charge for a submission if you make money from successful inventions? There are several reasons. First, in a Brutally Honest Review we give input that will probably save the inventor 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 quite possible that together with our partners we'll be investing $200,000 or more, with no promise of success. $95 is a small price to pay when you're asking people to consider a $200,000+ investment. If you do not care about feedback but would like us to consider your invention, please use the free submission option here (homework required).

    3. How many deals have you done? Invention City originated with WorkTools, Inc. which was founded in 1986. You can see videos of some of our many projects here. We began the Brutally Honest Review service at the end of 2013 and at any given point in time are working on roughly a dozen licensing, representation and partnership deals. Confidentiality requirements prevent us from discussing most deals until well after commercialization.

    4. Do you work with inventors from outside of the USA? Yes. We're pleased to work with inventors from all over the world, from every continent and region.

    5. What are the odds of a "yes" and a deal offer? We say "yes" and offer a licensing deal to approximately one to two percent (1-2%) of the submissions we receive. Some of the inventions we say "yes" to are napkin sketches without patents or prototypes and some are fully developed with issued utility patents. To another 5-10% we say we'll re-consider if the invention is developed further or if additional information is provided. Here are examples of projects we've said YES to.

    6. Do inventors always accept your offer? Roughly nine out of ten inventors accept our deal offers because the offer we make is one we'd be comfortable with if we were in the inventor's shoes. Roughly half the inventors who decline our offers come back to us within a year or two and say that they'd like to take the offer we made. Sometimes we're still interested, sometimes not. Timing is a big factor in whether or not an opportunity is available. Emotion is a factor too.

    7. What percentage does Invention City usually take? The percentage varies depending on how much Invention City needs to invest to develop the invention and put together a deal. Our basic philosophy follows Edison's observation that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. In that way we believe that an undeveloped idea, a napkin sketch which hasn't been developed or patented or prototyped, is generally worth 1% of Net Sales. Our rev-share deals are generally in the 50/50 range for inventions that have a rough prototype and a provisional patent. We have taken as little as 20% and as much as 80%.

    8. Can I submit my invention to other companies at the same time? Yes. You have no obligation to work with us when you submit your invention for a Review. But exclusivity will be required if we accept your invention and enter into an agreement with you.

    9. What's a typical licensing deal? A common licensing deal pays the inventor a percentage of "Net Sales" of the product. In most product categories licensing deals max out at 5% of Net Sales and in some categories they max out at half that amount. "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. To understand why 5% royalties are the maximum for most business categories read Money & Inventing. When Invention City does a licensing deal that deal may also include a sublicensing provision where the proceeds from sub-licensing are shared.

    10. Is licensing all you do? In conjunction with preferred service providers we provide a full range of services including patent searches and filings, prototyping, manufacturing, marketing and even founding new companies. Sometimes we can marry an invention with an entrepreneur and put together a deal that combines licensing and equity.

    11. Will you refund my money if I'm unsatisfied with a Brutally Honest Review? You have 30 days after receiving your Brutally Honest Review to ask for a refund if you feel that we did not perform as promised. All you need to do is to send an email asking for a refund with a short explanation of your reason. Please note that receiving an answer of "no" is not a valid reason. We believe that an honest "no" from us and the reasons behind it will likely save you thousands of dollars. We urge you to not submit if you are submitting only in the expectation of getting a yes.

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