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Invention Services

Many people have likely seen or heard advertisements for companies that offer to help people develop or promote ideas they have for new products. The ads make claims like this: “Do you have an idea for an invention? We can help!” Minnesota’s Invention Services Act requires invention developers selling their services to, among other things: (1) make certain disclosures before entering contracts with Minnesota consumers; (2) include several terms in their contracts with Minnesota consumers; and (3) file a bond with the State before selling their services to Minnesota consumers. (See below for a list of companies that have filed a bond with the State.)

First, What Are “Invention Services?”

The Invention Services Act (see Minnesota Statutes, chapter 325A) provides the following definitions:

Invention Developers Must Make Certain Disclosures Before Entering a Contract

The Invention Services Act requires an invention developer to make certain disclosures in writing, either in the first written communication from an invention developer to a specific customer or at the first personal meeting between the two. (See Minn. Stat. § 325A.05.) For example, an invention developer must disclose in writing:

Failure to make the required disclosures shall render any contract voidable by the consumer. (See Minn. Stat. § 325A.09, subd. 6.)

Invention Developers Must Include Certain Terms in Their Contracts

The Invention Services Act requires invention developers to include certain terms in their contracts with Minnesota consumers. (See Minn. Stat. § 325A.04.) For example, an invention developer must include in its contract:

With only one exception, any contract for invention development services that does not comply with the Invention Services Act is unenforceable. (See Minn. Stat. § 325A.09, subd. 2.)

Invention Developers Must File a Bond with the State Before Selling Their Services

The Invention Services Act requires invention developers to maintain a bond. (See Minn. Stat. 325A.06.) According to the Act:

List of Invention Developers that Filed a Bond with the State

The following invention developers have filed a bond with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office:

Please note that filing a bond with this Office does not mean that the State has approved the invention developer. Rather, it simply means that the entity has filed a bond with this Office that meets the statutory requirements.

For more information, please see the Invention Services Act (Minn. Stat. §§ 325A.01-10external link icon).

If you believe that an invention developer is advertising, offering to render, or rendering invention development services in Minnesota without following the above requirements, you may report the matter to the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office as follows:

Minnesota Attorney General's Office
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353 (Twin Cities Calling Area)
(800) 657-3787 (Outside the Twin Cities)
TTY: (651) 297-7206 or TTY: (800) 366-4812

For information about filing a patent or copyright, you may contact the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (regarding patents) or the U.S. Copyright Office (regarding copyrights), as follows:

United States Patent and Trademark Office
USPTO Madison Building
600 Dulany St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(800) 786-9199 (toll free)
www.uspto.govexternal link icon

United States Copyright Office
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20559-6000
(877) 476-0778 (toll free)
www.copyright.govexternal link icon