I’m shutting down the Inventor Education blog

I have to say this really sucks.

As many of you know I’ve been writing this blog for almost ten years. In that time I’ve met some of the most wonderful people in our industry – and of course some real scumbags.

jghfWhat you may not know is that, many of those scumbags I warn you about. Both the individuals and companies who in my opinion are taking advantage of you – well, many of those folks are not big fans of this blog.

So, that brings me to the point that sucks.

Over the past year I’ve written two blog post about a group in Chicago called Inventorz Network. (http://www.inventorznetwork.com/us/) Not scathing blogs mind you, but the other side of the story if you will.

http://www.inventoropinion.com/is-target-scamming-inventors-2/

http://www.inventoropinion.com/for-500-bucks-well-make-you-an-expert/

Inventorz Network provides “connection” services to inventors, for a fee of course. One of many in our industry, that in my opinion, are more focused on taking your money than on providing you any real help. This is not my first rodeo. I’ve been watching companies in this industry for many years, and I can spot the ones that truly want to help a mile away – in my opinion this group is not one of them.

But that’s my opinion, and until they quit exploiting inventors, or the attorneys for Inventorz Network take away my right to have my opinion, that will remain my opinion about Inventorz Network.

So the other day I received a cease and desist letter from the attorneys representing Inventorz Network and their principals Melinda Knight (melinda@inventorznetwork.com) and Dhana Cohen (dhana@womeninventorznetwork.com) demanding that I remove blog postings I’ve written about their company.

This of course leaves me three choices. 1. I can remove the post as they have demanded and allow these two ladies to censor us at the end of their sharp sword. 2. I can allow them to file suit against me and withstand the financial pain defending my opinion would require. or 3. I can shut down the blog and make it all go away.

untitled-2You see, the problem is this. Allowing these two idiots to censor our industry costs us all the right to stand up for ourselves. Letting them file a costly lawsuit costs me financially, and of course, shutting down the blog costs the thousands of inventors who get value from the free educational content.

So what’s a guy to do? Well, I can’t open the floodgate of allowing these scumbag companies to censor us, but unless someone wants to fund the legal battle required to stand up to these two, I have no choice but to shut down the Inventor Education Blog.

So in accordance with their demands, I will shut down the Inventor Education Blog and the Facebook group by 16 September.

It’s ironic really. Out of all the people and companies who I’ve called out over the years, these two are the ONLY ones who have ever attempted legal action over an opinion of their services. In the end Melinda Knight and Dhana Cohen  will cost us all far more than money. These two women who claim to care about our industry, just cost us the one place we could stand up for ourselves.

Take pride Melinda Knight and Dhana Cohen. Your Inventorz Network is getting what you demand, and one day maybe karma will too – way to support the inventor community!

Mark Reyland

44 thoughts on “I’m shutting down the Inventor Education blog

  1. Mark,
    This is bad news, but without deep pockets you are facing a steamroller. I’ll miss your insights. Thanks for the service to the inventor community.

    Will you be finding another way to contribute to the independent inventor community?

  2. I am extremely saddened by this. The information you have given me and many many other inventors has been priceless and has saved me hundreds of dollars. Would there be any way that you could have a close group to where only a handful of people you could still assist with the information and knowledge that you know. Just yesterday I was passing on information that you had given us to another inventor. Is there any way that the information that you’ve already given out can be copied ? so all that knowledge can be passed on. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the good you have done and assisting inventors and others with all your knowledge. please no you have helped many people and it will not be forgotten please know you have helped many people and it will not be forgot. God’s blessing to you and yours.

  3. I read the posts and I am not certain what specific action they are seeking to challenge. It seems your response was directly focused on their email message sent to you, a professional blogger. I hate to see you go, I learned a lot and enjoyed your YouTube videos…please don’t delete those! Paul

  4. Scum like this always win out. I never see Karma strike back. They all walk around with the bullshit attitude that “Hey, I’ve done nothing wrong.”

  5. I got a warning from Facebook that I would have my account shut down because I posted a negative review of an invention marketer. He whined to Facebook about it and there was no way to respond. Facebook doesn’t allow it. It’s like being stabbed repeatedly and the suspect bitching because you bent his knife.

  6. So sorry, Mark. You will do what you need to do and then carry on from there. Hopefully, you can find another way to impart this information.

  7. Fight them pro se, you have nothing to lose but your time and I really don’t see what you’ve written constitutes defamation or defamation per se. Stating an opinion about someone or some business is the #1 defense in these types of cases. I think a judge would laugh at any claims by them and any attorney worth his or her salt would never take such a case.

    Call their bluff. I think they are full of shit.

  8. I agree with Pepe – They are “attempting” to attack “your right” of free speech AND expression. It’s usually the Bad Guy (or Girls in this instance)
    that cry foul while attempting to do something; dishonest, deceitful, illegal, etc. It’s a “ploy” to get you to shut up. If there’s “no evidence” to back their/your claims – then it’s only an opinion. I’m sure many Lawyers/Law Firms wouldn’t hesitate to defend an honest client for Free. -AHNauss

  9. I agree with all of you – this was the place almost 40,000 inventors a month came to get information and honesty. But the fact is, even while other companies respected the right to say far worse things about them (I would thank Edison Nation and Stephen Key for being professionals) these two have decided to take legal action. So – if we cower to them we open the gates to others, and if I defend one legal action I’ll be defending more – so the only choice is to shut it down. I don’t want to, but what choice do I have?

  10. Very sorry to hear that Mark. Yours is the only site that calls it the way I KNOW it to be. Been inventing 52 years, in ‘inventor limbo’ last 28 years –
    The whole industry is parasites, from top to bottom; they all take inventors for suckers. eg 60 other inventors & I set up our inventions for an ‘Inventor of the Year’ exhibition; standing around waiting for the judges to come & check out each invention, when we hear over the P.A. ‘And now, we will award the Inventor of the Year’. Turns out that the judging was the previous week, in secret, only a few select ‘locals’ invited. And of course, only a few select locals won anything. 50 plus inventors came, up to thousands of miles, great expense – not judged. 50 plus inventors all looking at each other and naively* thinking ‘WTF?’
    Kids were coming up and asking me what my invention was – & after I explained it, said ‘Gee, you should have won the Inventor of the Year Award’ Maybe I deserved it, maybe I didn’t – but it would have made a huge difference had I won.
    There might be a few pearls in the biz – maybe leave your blog as is, just paint offending comments black? Or edit them to only statements of fact?
    Or have one list – ‘Patent Pearls’ – & by inference, anyone significant, not on that list, perhaps should be on the (unpublished) ‘Patent Parasites’ list.
    Anyway Mark, thanks for all your efforts for inventors, & all the best whatever you do. R.I.P. First amendment.
    *Yes, all inventors are very naive. Or very old. Or both. Like me.
    Stuart.

  11. Defend yourself pro se – let them be the ones to waste their money on attorneys (and as I said before, any attorney worth his or her salt would see their potential claims as frivolous at best). Defending yourself would have just the opposite effect, especially if you win (and I think your chances are good): after winning and establishing precedent that your opinion on these matters does not constitute defamation or defamation per se (I’m not sure what other potential claims these clowns may think they have, emotional distress? LOL), no one would bring a case like this again.

    I’m also not sure where they think they can sue you – they are based in Chicago but I have a hard time believing that an Illinois court would find that it has personal jurisdiction over you for operating a blog. The operation of a website in and of itself does not confer personal jurisdiction on someone. You’re not offering products for sale in the state of Illinois, entering into contracts in Illinois, or otherwise availing yourself of Illinois laws.

    Leave the blog up, you’re on solid ground here in my opinion. Publish the cease and desist letter and any other correspondence from these people and their attorneys. They’ll be doing more to show their true colors and vindicate you than anything else.

  12. Let them sue you – 80% of the time a cease and desist letter is no more than people beating their chests through an attorney. The “tough talk” about this being a “battle you do not want to have” tells me they are bluffing. And, if not, then good luck to them explaining to a Washington State judge how they have personal jurisdiction over you in Washington (hint: they don’t), or, suing you in your home state that will require them to hire an attorney licensed in the state where you live. Also, if they sue in Washington state and a judge happens to find they have personal jurisdiction over you, and then happens to find the evidence supports whatever claims they are asserting, they have a judgment against a non-resident party that they would then need to domesticate in your home state. More time and money for them. Then, and only then, should you consider removing those blog posts and/or shutting down this blog altogether.

  13. ?Call for as much feedback as possible from all those who have dealt with them?

    Get a lawyer (pro bono?) to demand from them all feedback, complaints, etc, by way of discovery?

  14. Why does the whole blog need to be taken down. Why not just the posts about Inventorz Network?

    If you did have to take the whole blog down are you allowed to open a new one called something different?

  15. This saddens me because I have greatly valued your support, I feel that you cared about the other person or inventors more than yourself. And that is what cause a person to be successful and labeled great and continue to be successful for you are not so overtaken with greed that you will step on others to get to the top. And never forget you can’t keep good people down, but the one causing or try to cause others to fall will always tumble before it is over. That’s really what the bible speak, and if it’s a lie that mean Almighty God is a lie? I wouldn’t say that .

  16. @alex – good point. There’s no need (or legal basis whatsoever) to take down the entire blog.

    One additional point I forgot to mention earlier – depending on what the cease and desist letter says, you are likely well within your rights to file an ethical complaint against the attorney who sent it on behalf of these two to the Washington State Bar:

    http://www.wsba.org/licensing-and-lawyer-conduct/discipline/file-a-complaint-against-a-lawyer

    http://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/?fa=court_rules.list&group=ga&set=RPC

    Attorneys can’t threaten legal action for frivolous claims like this one (Rule 1.3 – diligence; Rule 3.1 – meritorious claims and contentions). This lawyer clearly didn’t do his or her homework and using such scare tactics in light of the claim itself completely lacking any foundation in law or fact is a sanctionable offense. It won’t cost you a dime to file a complaint against the attorney (maybe a friendly response telling him or her what your next step will be will put an end to the matter) and it will hopefully deter this type of action in the future.

  17. I’ve known Mark for a number of years and know that he has a deep affection for Inventors, the inventing industry and wanting to help Inventors learn the industry. Mark and I have seen to many Inventors jump head first into the pool without checking to see it it has any water in it and seen the harm that comes from moving ahead uninformed. So, Mark started the blog to get as much information as possible about ALL aspects of the inventing industry from both sides of the fence. If you take the time to look at the massive collection of articles Mark has written over the years they cover, what to do, what to avoid, how to make a good first impression, SCAMS, how to get started, why do you do this first BEFORE you spend any money and on and on.

    There is no telling the amount of Inventors that have gotten off on the right foot or avoided going into debt because of an article they read that Mark wrote. As with anything you do you will have those that love and appreciate what you are providing and then you have those that want to question your motives, criticise anything good you are doing, harass you for having the courage to ask a question or make a comment others are afraid to state because of the flack you will catch. Mark has been through all of that and still kept this blog going for around 10 years now.
    Most people don’t appreciate the time you give up when you put yourself in a public arena and offer helpful information or become a resource people rely on. Mark has given his time talking at conventions, trade shows, Inventor groups, online and more.

    Has Mark ruffled some feathers, Yes. Has he helped Inventors have a better understanding of the industry and helped them avoid pitfalls that could be devastating, Yes. Are there people that got their feelings hurt when a light was shown on how something is being done that might be legal, but borderline ethical, Yes. You can’t be in a public arena without offending someone because no one is loved by everyone. You will have those that support you and those that can’t wait to stick a foot out and trip you.

    Through it all Mark has tried to provide information, advice, his opinion and let you be the final judge to the material. Take a moment and go to your favorite search engine and search for a blog, forum or website that offers you as much information on the inventing industry as you found at Mark’s blog and you will be hard pressed to find one.

    Losing this blog will be a great loss to the Inventing community. It will do more than just hurt Mark who put 10 years of life into it. It will hurt every new Inventor looking for a resource they can trust to give them their honest opinion and information they can use. But as we see all to often those that try and help get bullied or forced in a corner by those who have deeper pockets and can use the threat of legal action to push you out knowing you can’t afford to fight them even if you know you are right.

    I hate seeing this extensive pool of knowledge go away, but at the same time having been through some of the same issues Mark has I fully understand and can appreciate his position. When you go looking for information to help you succeed and can’t find it remember those that took it away.

  18. Roger – he doesn’t need to hire a lawyer and spend a single penny fighting these people. He can enter an appearance pro se and likely get more help through updates on this blog than a private practice attorney could every provide him. They have an extremely weak case here.

  19. Very sorry you are being bullied by unscrupulous companies. I have enjoyed reading your blogs and gathered very valuable notes.
    The only way to out do this would be to applaud good companies loudly. If companies stole from inventors they should truly be exposed, never forget the BBB. Us inventors can not play Russian roulette with these frauds, we need a voice, and these companies should own up to reviews just like any other product or service. It is us the consumer who is judging and rating the value, if you want good rating you have to earn them.

  20. I totally agree with Pepe THEY ARE BLUFFING – now is not the time to throw in the towel to bullies – its not the American way – I can imagine them laughing at you right now after reading this post knowing they have won without a fight – Do not give them that power over you or us – Please Mark don’t shut down – we are behind you – you speak for us – don’t worry about the money for legal fees because If that ever eventuated ( a court action would be months if not years away ) you can always initiate a crowd-funding campaign with Kickstarter or Indiegogo – where each of your loyal supporters can contribute – What say you guys ? Lets team up to beat this pair of arrogant @#$%%&&**’s.

  21. ‘Gofundme’ might be a more appropriate crowdfundraiser, Brian – every inventor should help promote it, & also contribute – unless they have already been bled to bankruptcy by parasites.

  22. First off I want to thank all of you for your support and advice.

    While shutting down the blog may feel a bit overreacting it isn’t really. First off, if we take down the posts everyone who I ever warned you about will demand the same thing, and from that point on I won’t be able to give you the honesty you need – well, not without getting hauled into court all the time.

    For those of you suggesting I create another blog under another name – that would be the same thing. The fact is these ladies are emotional, and although they would never win, I’m sure they are just stupid enough to file a suit. Changing the name of the blog, or going to a membership format would materially change nothing.

    On another front. Many of you may remember the three and half years my family and I were terrorized by industry stalkers. It was truly a dark time in my life, and frankly it changed me forever. I swore to myself after they stopped that, even as much as I love our industry, even as much as I care about the journey each and every one of you are on, that I would never pay that kind of a personal price again.

    I’m happy to continue educating and advising. But I’m not going to spend thousands of dollars and suffer false accusations being posted all over the internet about me just to keep bringing you advice.

    For ten years I’ve fought the crooks, gone up against the charlatans, spent more money than I could count, and had my name destroyed by lies. It’s a heavy price, and I’m not giving these two idiots the opportunity to drag me in even deeper.

    To Melinda Knight and Dehana Cohen from Inventorz Network – it’s hard to believe that you care about us as an industry while you’re pointing a gun at us. We all know you’re just angry that you got caught.

  23. In my opinion it shows their true colors by initiating a law suit over ” an opinion ” . Wow . Snakes really do bite even when unprovoked .. It’s truly sad .. You have our support MR.

  24. Mark,

    I wish it could go a different way. There IS case law to defend your opinion blog, and I’d expect you’d beat them in court (I was involved in a similar case a decade ago). The fact that they’re doing this is itself frivolous, never mind the flimsy legal grounds. Your blog was actually FACTUALLY CORRECT: they are actually engaged in a bit of fraud themselves (by offering to ‘make you an expert’ without any proof or validation of any amount)…

    However, I agree with your position: this is nothing but a lose-lose for you: in the end you can spend a bunch of cash on lawyers, and even if you win, the only thing you’ll get out of it is a big legal bill.. These charlatans will find some other court who’ll take their flimsy lawsuit, they’ll harass you again, and in the end, it’s not a mountain worth dying on.

    As a serial inventor myself, I feel the pain.

    • The industry is filled with dreamy-eyed inventors who are often gullible and naive.
    • scum groups like this one find it simple to market to the naive, take their last $50 (or $500), and leave them feeling used like a cheap date.
    • new inventors come along (just as naive as the last), and get taken for a ride.
    the process repeats……eventually the scum leeches get caught in their own webs, get bored, or get in trouble.. but hundreds (or thousands) of inventors get taken for a ride in the process..

    BUT, I’ve been there too. And, at the end of the day, your family is your first priority. Bleeding out your time & resources will hurt them more than you, and while the inventor world needs you, your family needs you first & foremost.

  25. Seems like a bit of a cop out to me: you have a strong case on jurisdictional ground and their alleged claims, it wouldn’t cost you a dime to defend yourself pro se (which I don’t even think gets to that point because no attorney in his right mind would file a case against you based on these limited facts), and you do more to empower those in the industry like these folks if you simply give into their demands, and, conversely, you can solidify everything you’ve built within the past 10 years by standing your ground.

  26. You need to watch this clip from start to finish, then post a video of your own with your final answer:

  27. This is very very sad. Inventors need as many resources as possible to help them through the process. When one blog criticizes another the result should not be litigation and submission. It should be dialogue and debate. I will miss your postings. I hope you start up a new blog under a new name and bring your followers with you, including me.

  28. I agree with Pepe – you are just coping out. They have no legal standing to infringe on your free speech.

    AND there is case law in you favor.

    AND you can do this pro se

    AND the first Judge will throw this out

    AND if you are gone – there will be thousands more scammed by these people and others ….

    AND you could have made a difference.

    Oh, well.

    PS – your posts you made with also live on in the wayback machine, if it have been scanned by them.

  29. Free speech rights under the 1st Amendment have limitations: just as you cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater or spew racial epithets a members of a protected class of citizens as hate speech, so, too, someone cannot defame another person in his or her practice or trade. For example:

    “The owners/operators of [XYZ Invention Network] illegally embezzle money from their clients.”

    vs.

    “The owners/operators of [XYZ Invention Network] are scumbags.”

    There is a clear delineation between the two examples noted above. In my opinion, Mr. Reyland’s limited blog posts about these individuals are nothing more than opinions that do not come anywhere close to establishing a claim for defamation per se.

  30. The ladies want Mark to remove the blog postings he has written about their company because they don’t want a someone to Google their company and come upon a less than positive blog post about them.

    I totally understand Mark’s reluctance to spend his family’s money fighting this and other possible future actions in court.

    My solution: Take down this blog and Mark’s daily insights can be delivered by email to his loyal fans. Daily emails will not place in a Google search about any company and therefore companies will have no compelling reason to pursue future legal actions against Mark. It just won’t be worth their time or money.

    Mark can set up a landing page that captures email addresses and also promote his daily ‘Inventor Insights’ email blast on social media. He could use an E-book about inventing as a lead magnet if he wants to.

    Furthermore, this would allow Mark to monetize his email list if he should wish to do so. (Personally I think he deserves some remuneration for his efforts.)

    C’mon- we call ourselves inventors and we can’t figure out a solution to this and will just let this valuable resource just slip away into the night? Why will we idly sit by and let Mark’s voice be silenced? Let’s collectively solve this problem.

  31. That would defeat the purpose of exposing those that take advantage of inventors. We should we be able to post reviews of different companies and services both good and bad without worrying about being sued. Keep posting!

  32. Why are all posts removed? Only the posts that mention the company should be removed. The rest should stay up to help inventors. Is there anyway to get the old posts back?

  33. New law might assure the right to post bad reviews….
    In an article by The Associated Press, Mary Clare Jalonick, out today, there is legislation in Congress that would ensure that customers who want to post negative reviews on websites, can do so without legal repercussions.
    “The bipartisan legislation, which the House passed last week, was sponsored by Kennedy and Republican Rep. Leonard Lance of New Jersey. Kennedy, who represents Needham, Mass.-based TripAdvisor, says fair reviews are important to build the strength of the so-called “sharing economy” that allows consumers to exchange products, services and ideas.”

    So we will all be protected from bullies like the 2 that are threatening legal action.

  34. Well, by way of an update since I posted this these idiots have attempted to file criminal charges against me for harassment (one blog does not make harassment) and they contacted the stalkers who terrorized my family and I three years ago with death threats.

    These ladies (if you could call them that) are simply evil. They watched as my family and I were stalked every day by these mentally unstable people who were dead set on destroying me. They saw what it did to us, and now they enlist their help in trying to destroy me again?

    I have to tell you, this is really the last straw for me. I love the inventor community, but I can’t put my family through that again – and I won’t. There is a special place in hell for Inventorz Network and their principals Melinda Knight and Dhana Cohen.

  35. As many know I was also a target of some of those same offenders for the 3 years on their hate blogs and forums. Once I posted my opinion on Mark’s blog saying it is a shame to see valuable information go away I to got an email from one of those past offenders threatening to add me to their upcoming blog post against you. I told them to go ahead. I was also removed from the Inventorz Network group on Linkedin by the founders of the group. I had been a regular contributor to that group for a number of years. It is their right to do that and I won’t lose any sleep over it. There are plenty of other groups that enjoy my contributions to help Inventors navigate the inventing industry.

  36. Mark, I recommend saving ( to a external USB memory device ) and also making screen captures of any communications between those women and especially the ones from the people harassing you. It is possible a forensic computer technician can trace the names and IP locations they are contacting you from. I also recommend adding video surveillance cameras ( w / night vision abilities ) that run 24 / 7 to capture as much of the exterior perimeter of your property as possible. Bring your cell phone with you everywhere you go, and have it ready to record within seconds. Especially when leaving your residence or your place of work, because this is a favorite time for these people to initiate contact and harassment tactics. If you can afford it, I recommend installing a rear view capture video recording device to capture the vehicle descriptions and license plate numbers of people who follow you. Also a pair of those mock glasses that video everything and everyone you’re in contact with. The Kryptonite to these people is having their identities discovered. You can find any or all of these types of devices sold on a ( spy / detective – equipment ) type of website. If you follow this advice you can review your videos every evening and develop a list of ( faces / email addresses / license plate numbers) to assist you when contacting law enforcement. This could also assist you in tying these people harassing you ( financially ) to that company or those attorneys. They are getting paid by someone. Likely in cash, but you never know. There are more expansive and technical explanations / advice in videos and books on ” gang stalking. ” It is way, way more common than the general public would ever believe ( or want to believe. ) Good luck. PS – Put up signs on your property advising people entering your property that you have : A security system, video surveillance and A GUN. I recommend getting all three also. These sub human animals need to know your residence is completely protected and you will do ANYTHING to protect your family. ~ Anonymous friend.

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