FTC Amends Complaint Against Invention Promotion Scheme Defendants

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The Federal Trade Commission has amended its complaint against the operators of an invention-promotion scheme, World Patent Marketing (WPM), that allegedly deceived consumers and suppressed complaints about the company, including by threatening dissatisfied customers with criminal prosecution.

According to the FTC’s original complaint, filed in March 2017, consumers paid the defendants thousands of dollars to patent and market their inventions based on bogus “success stories” and other misrepresentations.

A federal court in Miami, Florida, temporarily halted the scheme and froze its assets pending litigation. On June 5, the court extended its temporary restraining order until June 26, 2017.

The amended complaint alleges that WPM claimed its clients’ products were sold in numerous popular “big box” stores, even though no such inventions are sold in any brick and mortar stores. According to the FTC, WPM also touted licensing deals between inventors and “WPM China” involving WPM’s purported manufacturing plant in China; yet, “WPM China” does not exist, and WPM has no manufacturing plant in China. Further, the amended complaint alleges that WPM falsely told consumers that its  review team needed to approve their ideas before they could move forward with the company, when in fact no such review occurred.

The Commission vote approving the amended complaint was 2-0. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on May 25, 2017.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Frank Dorman,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2674

STAFF CONTACT:
Colleen B. Robbins
202-326-2548

CONSUMER CONTACT:
FTC Consumer Response Center
1-877-FTC-HELP