Invention Promotion Risks and Mitigation
Many independent inventors do not feel they have the skills, knowledge or time to adequately market their inventions. As a result, there are many invention promotion firms that offer to promote the invention, often for a small initial fee followed by a much larger subsequent fee. The question is whether these firms are legitimate.
The good news here is that there are federal laws such as the American Inventor Protection Act (AIPA) and state laws such as the Minnesota Invention Services Act that can help an inventor quickly ferret out the scams. Under these federal and state acts, an invention promotion firm is required to disclose to the inventor the number of customers who have paid the promoter, and of those, how many customers have, as a result of the promoter's services, made more than they paid the promoter. In some of the worst cases, these invention promoters will have been paid millions of dollars by tens of thousands of unsuspecting inventors and will only have a handful who have made more than they paid to the promoter. These are not the odds you should go after.
To distinguish reputable firms from scams, simply ask them for these disclosures of their success rate, as required by law, and then you can make a much more informed decision before choosing to pay them. Finally, the US Patent Office and the FTC both have additional information available on invention promoters here.