Originally Posted by storm
I was investigating getting a patent on an item a few years back. Sent the idea to one of those places that said they help you market your idea. Long story short they wanted a bunch of money up front plus about 90% of any royalties. I declined and they informed me that since I made the idea public they could patent and market it one year later. And a little over a year later a big outdoor chain was selling the product. I don't know that this is the law but this is what I was told.
Yes. Those places are a ripoff scam. That is why using a patent lawyer is the best route to take. What you divulge to your attorney is privileged and cannot be disclosed to third parties without specific authorization. What you discuss with your lawyer is not, and cannot ever be, considered to constitute information in the public realm.