Licensing is one of the fastest and lowest risk ways of transforming your IP into money-making products or services. Licensing is a process, and the starting point is to get organized.
Here are four steps to help you get ready to license your IP:
- Determine your licensing options and how are you going to license your IP. Your options include giving exclusive rights to only one licensee, or licensing non-exclusively and giving your IP rights to more than one licensee. Also think about where you could license your IP (i.e. one or more countries) and what rights will be licensed (i.e. rights to make, market and sell).
- Develop some presentation materials. Think about the best way to show your IP to potential licensees. This could include brochures, product samples, demonstration video’s and power point presentations. Start with a simple, concise one sheet IP profile and build from there. A good profile provides all the key details about your intellectual property and the licensing opportunity. The key word is concise. It is an introduction to potential licensees, and they do not have or will take the time to read the entire history of your IP.
- Create a potential licensee list. Begin with a quick search on the Internet to find companies that already make and sell products similar to your IP. Make a list of these companies and contact them to get information about their products, services or technologies. Trade Shows are one of the best ways to find and meet potential licensing partners. There are trade shows for just about every industry. You can attend as an exhibitor or visitor, and use the show to start promoting your licensing opportunity. Two sources for trade-shows are Trade Shows News Network and Events in America.
- Identify a licensing team. Creating the right type of licensing teams is one of the secrets to a successfully licensing your IP. These professionals help you develop, negotiate and manage your licensing program. Depending on your IP, the licensing team will include a licensing agent, an accountant, an attorney, and perhaps a public relations consultant and a graphics design firm.
Licensing takes time. The better organized you are the more likely you’ll succeed with your licensing program. If you’re not familiar with the licensing process or you don’t want to manage your own licensing program, then a licensing agent is right for you. Although an agent adds to the cost of a licensing program, they bring experience and know-how, and can often get you a licensing partner in less time than doing it on your own.
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.