Obtaining a license for an intellectual property such as a popular character can sometimes be an expensive process. If you lack the financial resources or the qualifications, there is another option you can use to get rights to that IP.
It’s called a designated distributor agreement. This type of agreement gives you the right to distribute, sell and advertise an existing licensed product in a territory where the product is not available from existing licensees.
The key difference between a designated distributor agreement and a direct licensing agreement is a provision limiting the source of the licensed products. The distributor is required to negotiate and buy the licensed product only from a specific licensee, not the licensor. Most important, the agreement also specifies that the distributor does not have any rights to manufacture, distribute or sell any other products using the licensed IP.
There are some advantages of this type of agreement. For the IP owner, this type of agreement allows you to maximize your royalty revenues from increased sales and a higher royalty payout. The distributor licensee will typically pay the same royalty but it is based on a higher net sales price to their customers (as opposed to the manufacturing licensee which pays the royalty based on net sales directly to the distributor).
For the manufacturing (traditional) licensee, they get the rights to sell to the designated distributor, and generate more sales without having to spend the time and resources to expand into a new territory. Because the distributor licensee does not incur the product development costs, they benefit from higher profit margins.
A designated distributor arrangement offers the IP owner a way to expand the licensing program into new channels and territories. For the licensee, this is a good option to license an expensive IP at a lower cost.
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Rand Brenner is President / CEO of Licensing Consulting Group, an intellectual property management and licensing company specializing in assisting clients in IP Management, Strategic Consulting, Acquisition of Licensing Rights, and Property Representation. Rand has licensed some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters, including “Batman” and the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”, both of which generated billions of dollars in worldwide merchandise sales. He has lead various international licensing programs as both licensee and licensor, and through consulting projects focused on licensing strategy, brand development, sponsorship sales and property representation.