Clark Howard: Ideas to market and sell your invention

Do you like to watch “Shark Tank”? Do you have ideas or inventions that you think could make you rich? can help you get the ball rolling on your invention, and it won’t involve any cash from you.

Here’s how it works: You pitch an idea you have. If they like it, they spend the money to build that item and see if it will actually work.

There are real people just like you making big money from their ideas. The Quirky invention I’ve seen in stores is called Pivot Power. It’s like a powerstrip that can bend into a circle. The New York Times reports Jake Zien, the product’s inventor, has now reaped $700,000 from his invention.

Quirky basically takes on the risk if they’re interested in your idea, and if it sells, they share the reward with you. So if you have an idea to take to the next step, maybe Quirky can get it done for you.

Quirky is the real deal as far as invention services go. But many out in the marketplace are not. Here’s what to keep in mind as you vet out the bad guys.

Most ripoff invention services use a three-step program to steal money. They offer a free evaluation of the inventor’s product through an 800-number, take $500 or so to fund “research,” and later request another $5,000 to $6,000 for more extensive “market research.”

Turn to the local bookstore or library for legitimate advice on how to bring inventions to market. One book I particularly like is David Pressman’s “Patent it Yourself.”

Your best bet is to find an invention broker to propose your idea to a company.

Non-profit inventors clubs, which can be found in many cities, also are excellent for sharing ideas and providing encouragement.

Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website

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