2 Ways to License Your Mobile App

Licensing mobile apps is big business. Some mobile apps have become big brands, generating revenues from licensed merchandise. A prime example is Angry Birds, which has over 200 licensing partners.


If you go the licensing route, make sure you have your IP protected. One option is to apply for a provisional patent. Before presenting your app, get a signed NDA.

When deciding how to license your mobile app, you have a number of options. A geographic mobile app license is a good strategy to expand into other countries. You can license to companies in each market or on a broader basis to one company for several markets.

A second strategy is to license your app to brand marketers or other developers to offset the development and marketing costs. Companies are often looking for a quality app to re-use or re-brand under their own brand. I have a client who used a variation of this “white label” license strategy to launch their new app into the automotive aftermarket industry.

When you’re ready to negotiate a deal, keep these important points in mind. Make sure you are clear on exactly what rights the licensee will get. Do some due diligence on the licensee to make sure you can work with them. Before signing any licensing agreement, consult with an IP attorney. They will make sure your agreement is structured to prevent any future problems between you and your licensing partner.

Depending on your app, you could generate more revenue licensing than from app store sales. Licensing lets you control everything from usage terms (e.g., feature-based, time-limited) to operational aspects (e.g., activation and back-end integration). You can use licensing to launch your app or expand into new marketplaces by partnering with other marketers or developers who can take your app to the next level.

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Rand Brenner is an IP professional whose passion is helping inventors, startups, and businesses of all sizes use licensing to turn their IP into income-producing products, services, and technologies. His decades of experience run the gamut from medical devices to food technology to consumer products. He’s licensed some of the biggest Hollywood entertainment blockbusters including the Batman Movies (1 and 2), and the number one kid’s action TV show, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Rand speaks about licensing and is a featured speaker at investment conferences, trade shows, colleges and startup events. He’s a published writer with articles appearing in several prestigious trade magazine including The Licensing Journal, Intellectual Property Magazine, and License India. Rand also mentors at the Cal State Fullerton School of Business and Economics and is a judge for their startup business plan competitions.

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