[Re: “Pipe Dreams,” September 15]

I worked for an “invention clearinghouse” back in ’74. Glad to see they haven’t changed too much.

At the time I too had some “great ideas” but was leery of trying one of these services. So instead I decided to work for one of these outfits. Get an inside view so to speak. MAN, what an eye-opener!! I was hired on to put together feasibility reports on the ideas that came in. To me this sounded great because now I was in a position to help others just like me. As it turned out the feasibility reports were absolute fabrications. It took me less than a week to find out that my job wasn’t to help but was to extract at least enough money from future inventors so by the time they figured out they’d been had, they had no money left! (At least not enough to fight back.) Some of our clients weren’t that dumb–out-of-court settlements took care of them. Win lots, lose very few.

It was frustrating to see wonderful ideas come in and not be allowed to really develop them. The few companies we did contact told us to go away or they would sue us.

Andy Pettigrew