Davison Design & Development

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Davison Design & Development, formerly Davison & Associates[1] and often referred to as simply Davison is an invention promotion firm. The company is based in Pittsburgh and was founded in 1989 by George McConnell Davison. Davison’s workplace, Inventionland, has been likened to The Willy Wonka Candy Company and is noted for its 16 life-sized themed sets, including a motor speedway, sewing cottage, cupcake, log cabin and others.[2]

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has described Davison as a typical invention promotion scam. In 2006, following a complaint filed by the FTC, a court ordered Davison to pay $26 million in consumer redress for misrepresenting its services to inventors.[3] The court set a list of restrictions on Davison's activity, prohibiting Davison from presenting new product development services to inventors unless they clearly state that these services will most probably not lead to a profitable or marketable product. Davison ultimately reached a $10.7 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in 2008, but the guidelines and restrictions set on Davison in the original 2006 court ruling were maintained.[4]


Davison provides new product development services to inventors, corporations and entrepreneurs using a nine-step process intended to bring new products and inventions to market.[5] Davison services include research, industrial design, virtual reality, video, animation, product prototypes, packaging, presentation to manufacturers and royalty management.[6][broken citation]

Davison do not provide any evaluation of the commercial potential of a product or invention. As of 31 August 2013, only 16 people have earned royalties greater than Davison's fees out of 58,262 who signed a pre-development agreement or similar contract in the preceding 5 years. The percentage of Davison's income that came from royalties on products was 0.001%.[7]

Davison-designed products include the Hover Creeper, Meatball Baker, Bread It breading stations, the BikeBoard, Pugz Shoes and the HydroBone for dogs and the 360° Wrist Therapy Brace. Davison says that it produces approximately 200 prototypes per month, and its products have been sold in 1,000 retail stores and online venues.[8] The firm has received several International Design Excellence Awards from the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), formerly sponsored by I.D. Magazine and BusinessWeek, now sponsored by the Annual Design Review[9] online only via F+W Media. For example, the firm received an honorable mention in I.D. Magazine's 2007 design review competition.[10]


George M. Davison spent two years developing his first invention but a large corporation beat him to market. In 1989 he founded Davison.

He realized that manufacturers wanted products ready for manufacturing. He thought that one should patent one’s ideas only after the product was ready for manufacturing.[11]


Inventionland is a 61,000-square-foot (5,700 m2) design facility that houses 16 themed sets, including a pirate ship, tree house and giant robot.[12] Within Inventionland, which opened in 2006, Davison’s creative teams work to develop new consumer products and inventions. Types of goods include automotive, holiday, kitchenwares, children's and babies' products, pet products, consumer electronics (audio and video), hunting, fishing and sporting goods and others.[13]


2011 Creative Rooms in Business (CRIB) Award

Inventionland was the recipient of this regional design award, given as one of the Pittsburgh Design, Art and Technology (DATA) annual awards and sponsored by the Pittsburgh Technology Council. The CRIB Award “celebrates creative work environments incorporating nontraditional design, unique methods of company community, artwork or space that encourages creativity.”[14]

Steel Heart Award

Davison Design and Development’s Inventionland, December, 2006, “for replacing employee cubicles…with a tree house.”[15]

IDEA Silver Annual Design Award 2006

The Hover Creeper.[16]

IDEA Bronze Annual Design Award 2006

The BikeBoard Product Line[17]

IDEA Bronze Annual Design Award 1996

Oil Filter Gripper[18]

Legal disputes[edit]

Misrepresentation of services[edit]

In 1997, Davison was one of eleven companies named in a Federal Trade Commission consumer protection operation called "Project Mousetrap" - for protecting inventors against invention promotion scams.[19] In 2006, Davison were ordered to pay $26 million in consumer redress for misrepresenting its services to inventors and the FTC said Davison were typical of invention promotion scams.[20][21]

Davison appealed, and ultimately settled with the FTC in 2008, agreeing to pay $10.7 million in cash, real estate and investment assets.[22] In keeping with the requirements of the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999,[23] the judge set out the details of an "affirmative disclosure statement" to be issued to future clients. Such disclosure statement must specify, among other things, the number of consumers in the last five years who have made more income in royalties or sales proceeds than they paid the company.[24] As of 31 August 2013, the statement says that 16 people have earned royalties greater than Davison's fees out of 58,262 who signed a pre-development agreement or similar contract.[7]

Lawsuit alleging unpaid overtime[edit]

In July 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor filed a federal lawsuit saying that Davison failed to pay overtime to at least 214 current and former sales representatives, arguing that Davison's business means they are covered by federal wage laws requiring them to do so. The lawsuit calls for Davison to start paying overtime and to pay employees' unpaid back wages.[25]


  1. ^ Pennsylvania Department of State
  2. ^ “Dave & Dave Explore Inventionland,” On Q, WQED-TV July 17, 2007
  3. ^ Court halts bogus Invention Promotion claims on the USPTO (US patent office) website, the head of the FTC consumer protection department stated: "This outfit is typical of invention promotion scams"
  4. ^ Davison vs. FTC ruling from 2006 with a $10.7 million settlement and restrictions reinstated.
  5. ^ "Creative Profits" American Executive, July 2010
  6. ^ "Workplace wonderment," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review October 7, 2007
  7. ^ a b Affirmative Disclosure Statement
  8. ^ The CBS Early Show "Inventionland turns dreams into reality" August 22, 2011
  9. ^ Annual Design Review
  10. ^ "People On the Move". 
  11. ^ http://www.thebalancingact.com/story/?id=1968 “Davison Inventing Method,” The Balancing Act, Lifetime Television July 30, 2010
  12. ^ Tugman, Lindsey (22 August 2011). "Inventionland: Where your ideas come to life". Today's THV. Retrieved 29 August 2011. 
  13. ^ “Dave & Dave Explore Inventionland,” On Q, WQED-TV July 17, 2007
  14. ^ http://www.pghtech.org/events/art-and-technology/call.aspx “Who's Who of the 2011 Design, Art & Technology (DATA) Awards,” Pittsburgh Technology Council
  15. ^ http://www.pittsburghwillsteelyourheart.com/steelheartaward12-06.htm “Pittsburgh Will Steel Your Heart,” monthly awards sponsored by the KEYGroup.
  16. ^ http://www.idsa.org/content/content1/hover-creeper The Hover Creeper
  17. ^ http://www.idsa.org/content/content1/bikeboard-product-line The BikeBoard Product Line
  18. ^ http://www.businessweek.com/archives/1996/b3478013.arc.htm Oil Filter Gripper
  19. ^ FTC: FTC/State "Project Mousetrap" Snares Invention Promotion Industry Press Release, July 23, 1997
  20. ^ “Inside InventionLand,” Forbes November, 2006
  21. ^ Court Halts Bogus Invention Promotion Claims
  22. ^ Pittsburgh Tribune
  23. ^ Invention Promotion Firm, Federal Trade Commission, retrieved 2013-08-30
  24. ^ "Invention Promoters Will Pay $10 Million to Settle FTC Charges" FTC press release
  25. ^ Labor Dept. rules O'Hara invention firm must pay overtime, Pittsburgh Tribune Review August 1, 2013

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°29′51″N 79°52′17″W / 40.49741°N 79.87147°W / 40.49741; -79.87147