NEW RESOURCE FOR SCAM NEWS AND MORE: InventorEd.org
Notice to All Creditors and Parties in Interest: Ronald Boulerice
A new deadline has been established by the US Bankruptcy Court in this Chapter 7 case, filed in 1995, due to an error in the Clerk’s office.
Hidden Camera Gets ISC on TV
In May, TV 4 (Pittsburgh, Pa.) aired a piece called, “Team 4 Investigates Invention Promotion Companies: Largest One Headquartered In Pittsburgh.” The station’s investigator, Jim Parsons, reported, “An estimated 25,000 inventors each year take their ideas to one of these [invention marketing] companies. And, as Team 4 found out with hidden cameras and an invention of our own, no idea is too ridiculous.”Parsons profiled inventors who had paid thousands to an invention marketing company and gotten nothing in return. He also interviewed Lynn Alstadt, a patent attroney who teaches law at the University of Pittsburgh, who said, “It truly amazes me how people are willing to spend $5,000, $10,000 for these invention marketing companies. They take anything that comes in the door.” Would such a company really take anything? “Team 4 wanted to see if that was true.” reported Parsons, “so we came up with the silliest invention we could think of. The result? The phone hat. We asked a seamstress to sew it together. The phone slips into a pouch, then it fits over the head and, voila, a cheap, hands-free cellphone. Ridiculous, right? Not according to a salesman at ISC.” Parsons took his invention and a hidden camera to the company’s Columbus, Ohio, office.ISC is Invention Submission Corporation and the salesman Roger Mesecher told Parsons that the phone hat had “a good shot. It’s certainly about the average. It isn’t something wacky.” Parsons went on to report that “Mesecher should not have said that, according to Jennifer Lawlor, an ISC executive in Pittsburgh. ‘Our policy is not to give you an evaluation of your invention, and so if that was the case, probably Roger’s going to be coming in for retraining.'”ISC doesn’t give chances of success, either, because Lawlor said, “Well, we’re not allowed to talk about success.” Parsons reported that “ISC’s success stories are few. From 1997 to 1999, the company signed up more than 5,000 new clients. But only 11 clients earned more money than they paid ISC."
Invention Scams©2000, Rick Martin
The U.S. Senate televised a hearing in 1994 wherein they guessed that $200 million per year was spent by new inventors on scams.
This law firm sued the largest scam firm, American Inventors Corporation (AIC) in 1995 and sent the evidence we collected to the U.S. Justice Department Mail Fraud Division. The 1500 victim statements stack to the ceiling. In 1995, the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission raided and closed AIC. Several of the key players were criminally indicted. Authorities announced that 34,000 victims lost $60 million over the last twenty years.
Although AIC was stopped, the inventor scam industry continues. In twenty-five years, not one person committing this type of fraud has gone to jail. Dozens of other firms and the patent lawyers who work with them are still scamming inventors.
If you are a new inventor, please do not make the mistake of the thousands of other people who have been ripped off by this industry. Please find a reputable patent attorney for help in launching your idea.
See pages on indictment and visit www.inventorsdigest.com for more information.
ISC Loses Its Appeal
In 2002, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office launched a media campaign to counter invention promotion scams. The public service ads included testimony from inventor Edward Lewis who was quoted: “I spent $13,000 and three years ‘spinning my wheels’ with a company that promised my idea would make lots of money. They were right. It made lots of money . . . for them. I haven’t seen a penny.” Although the ads did not mention the marketing company by name, a reporter was able to uncover the customer’s identity and reported that the company in question was Invention Submission Corporation (ISC). ISC then sued the PTO, alleging that the advertisement campaign was directed at ISC to “penalize it and ultimately to put it out of business.” The district court dismissed ISC’s claim because it was not a “final agency action” that would be reviewable under the APA. On appeal for a second time on this issue, the Fourth Circuit agreed and affirmed the district court’s dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Printed with permission from Inventors’ Digest in The Newsletter of Inventors’ Digest – August 2005