Patent problem leaves Holbrook man out thousands of dollars

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HOLBROOK - Mark Chastain thought his invention would appeal to fisherman worldwide.

It’s a tackle box with a flashlight and a pop-up lantern built-in allowing you to see in the dark.

“It was called the Night Buddy Tackle Box and I made one 10 years ago,” he said.

To help transform his idea into a reality, he turned to Advent Product Development, a South Carolina company with offices right here in the Valley.

For $11,420, Chastain says Advent told him the company would patent and market his product, and that basically, all he had to do was wait for the money to start rolling in.

“He said I was going to make roughly around $12 million,” Chastain recalled.

But he says more than two years later, all he has to show for his so-called investment is a thick stack of paperwork.

“They didn't just rip me off they ripped my family off,” he said.

Valley patent attorney Michael Goltry says what happened to Chastain is the hallmark of what he calls a "fraudulent promoter," someone looking to capitalize on the enthusiasm of an inventor, often charging between five and ten thousand dollars to patent market and license your product.

“So if there's any one branding of a fraudulent promoter, in my opinion, it's the upfront fee, these large upfront fees little or no work is done,” Goltry said.

3 On Your Side went to Advent's Phoenix office only to find it no longer exists.

Our calls and e-mails to Advent's headquarters in South Carolina were not returned.

We did, however, find numerous complaints and lawsuits against the company online, information Chastain wishes he would've known about before sinking $11,000 into something he says is a scam.

“It's been devastating to me,” Chastain said.

Attorney Michael Goltry warns anyone looking to market an invention:

“Basically, if the promoter’s highly enthusiastic, and requests large up-front fees, it's best to walk away and investigate other avenues.”