Invention Promotion Scam
Scott Cooper and his Miami, FL, based companies, World Patent Marketing Inc. and Desa Industries Inc., agree to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission banning them from the invention promotion business.
“World Patent Marketing is simply the latest iteration of a long-running con in a barely regulated industry that targets starry-eyed inventors. As Cooper took victims for up to $400,000 each, they say, he also might have scared away a whole generation of inventors.”
The settlement order resolves charges the FTC brought this past year, alleging that Cooper and his companies deceive consumers and suppress complaints about them using threats, intimidation, and gag clauses. A federal court subsequently halts the Florida-based scheme and freezes its assets pending litigation.
According to the FTC, consumers pay the defendants thousands of dollars to patent and market their inventions based on bogus “success stories” and testimonials. After stringing consumers along for months or even years, the defendants do not deliver what they promise, and many people ended up in debt or lose their life savings with nothing to show for it.
Under the proposed settlement order, the defendants receive a lifetime ban from invention promotion activities. The ban includes misrepresenting any good or service, along with suppressing the availability of truthful negative comments or reviews by consumers. Further, they may not profit from consumers’ personal information as part of the questionable practices, along with failing to dispose of the information properly.
Full and Final Judgement
Finally, the Federal Trade Commission Order imposes a $25,987,192 judgment that shall be partially suspended when $78,670 in frozen funds are transferred to the Commission and Cooper has paid $976,330. In like manner, the full judgment becomes due immediately if the defendants misrepresent their financial state of affairs. The FTC says its receiver has located only $2 million of the $26 million allegedly bilked from would-be inventors.