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you persuade companies to take notice of you?
If you have an actual product and adequate IP protection, send a press release to relevant business
publications. To do this effectively you may need help from a marketing
professional, as information not presented in the format preferred by editors
may be ignored.
Do not phone companies except to
find out who best to write to or email. (Ask which is preferred. Email is cheap
and simple but much of it will be treated as junk and never read. Mail may be
better for a first contact.)
Target marketing people rather
than technical people. The former are more likely to see the sales potential of
Do not call yourself an inventor. You are simply
someone with a business proposition to make to fellow business people.
The mailshot letter or email
Your aim should be to arouse
curiosity, not overwhelm the reader with unnecessary information. Write a brief summary of your invention or
product on one side of A4. Concentrate on its commercial benefits, detailing what
it does that is special but not
how it does it. Use the language of business, not of advertising. For example,
instead of: ‘It will make you millions!' say: ‘It may have the potential to
increase your sales significantly'.
Only include a photo if (a) you
have adequate IP protection and (b) it is a good quality image of a good
quality product or prototype.
You can mention a patent
application but do not disclose any detail, even if it is already published.
Accompany the summary with a short covering letter. For example:
attach brief details of a novel product which may be of interest to your
company. A prototype is available which I would like show you if this can be
done in full confidence.
attend a meeting at fairly short notice. Please let me know if you require any
further information. I look forward to hearing from you.'
If there is no reply after two or
three weeks, phone or email to find out how your idea has been received. If
they are not interested in the invention, do not try to argue. Try instead to
find out why. You may learn something that you can use to improve your approach
to other companies.
If you get replies, do not be fooled by flattery. If the
company says that your idea is ‘ingenious' or ‘highly original' but there is no
offer of a meeting, they are not
interested. They are just too polite to admit it. Or they may say that your
idea ‘does not at present fit in with our plans'. The truth is that it never
What if you are invited to a
meeting or asked for more information but the company will not sign a
non-disclosure agreement? You can trust them or you can look elsewhere. If they
ask specifically for information that you want to keep confidential, you should
politely refuse and explain why. But as we explain in Part
5 , it should be possible to have a first meeting without any need for
disclosure of confidential information.
the process of contacting companies, beware of anyone who may contact you
expressing an urgent interest in your invention. Some of these approaches may
be from fraudulent invention promoters (Part 3 ).
Possible clues are:
However they justify it, they will
want money from you.
They will put a lot of pressure on
you to ‘act now'.
They are based in another country.
They are keen to visit you or meet
in a hotel, but not keen for you to visit them.
general rule, be suspicious of any company that appears too enthusiastic about your idea and too willing to arrange a meeting or further phone contact. The
chances are high that they just want your money. A genuinely interested company
will be much more cautious and non-committal, and will not expect you to pay
them for anything.