Don’t let this happen to you. You’ve pitched your licensing opportunity to a company and they respond requesting more information. Your first impulse is to send them lots of information such as a Power Point presentation, all the research, and even some videos. After sending the information, you don’t hear from them for a week or even months. Now you’re worrying or panicked about why aren’t they returning your calls.
One of the most important things to keep in mind about your licensing presentation is delivering the information in several steps. Otherwise you risk overwhelming your potential licensing partner with too much information.
Remember they are running a company first, and their priority is their day-to-day business. Unless you’re talking to somebody whose job is to evaluate potential IP acquisitions, then most likely they won’t have a lot of time to go through all the information about the IP at once.
How much information you give at any time really depends on how complex your IP is and whether it requires lots of research data, studies, etc. The key is educating your potential licensing partner about your IP. And like an education course, you need to deliver it one lesson at a time until they are ready to jump into the whole course.
Here are 3 key steps in delivering your information to a potential licensing partner. Keep in mind this is just a guideline. You may or may not follow these steps in sequence depending on your IP. In some cases, you might jump directly from the introduction email into a full-blown presentation.
One of the most important starting points is your email introduction. Make it short and to the point, summarizing the big solution or benefit of your IP, and asking if they’d like to learn more. The purpose is to get them interested in taking the next step and ask for more detailed information.
The second step is to send a one or two page summary about your IP. It’s an introduction providing a concise overview of what it is, how it works and why it makes sense for them to license it.
If they are still interested, the third step is scheduling a meeting or call to show a Power Point presentation and discuss more details. But here again, make sure you don’t overwhelm them with too much information, but provide enough so they get a better understanding of your IP.
One of my clients invented a new food cooking technology that, while it wasn’t complex, did need a bit of information to understand how it worked. The first point of information that I provided was a simple four line email introducing the IP to find out if they’re interested. From there, the next step was a phone call with the inventor to discuss it in more detail. It was at this point I provided the detailed Power Point presentation, as well as research articles and the patent information.
When you develop your first Power Point presentation, again don’t overwhelm with too much detail. Tailor it to your potential partner and why it fits their product and business model. I’m working with a client who invented a new technology for power toothbrushes. We revised a very long investor oriented presentation and edited down to focus on the key pieces of information that would be of interest to the licensee. These included a general overview of the market potential, and information on test marketing, customer testimonials, research data, the patents and how they work.
An important point to keep in mind is the company you’re presenting to is well aware of their market size, potential sales, etc. Don’t get too detailed on this point. Instead, focus on the value your IP offers in terms of increased sales, higher profit margins or whatever the big money benefits are.
Don’t bog down a potential partner with too much information. Remember they have a business to run first and you must respect their time.
Licensing is a process and part of it requires delivering information about your IP so it doesn’t overwhelm a potential partner. The key is to deliver it in a way that they can digest it, understand it and decide whether or not to license it. If not, you risk giving them information overload and not hearing back from them for weeks, months or forever.
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.