Richard Levy warns fellow inventors against fly-by-night companies that falsely claim to help inventors build a business or market their product. In his book, Inventor's Desktop Companion, he offers the following advice: Avoid firms that ask for money up front. Reputable firms will work on a percentage basis when helping to market an invention.

Check references. The Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, other inventors, and state consumer fraud agencies are good resources.

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