Hi, thank you very much for your question. I begin by providing some
warnings and recommendations for evaluating intervention marketing
companies. I then focus on market research, liscensing and maketing of
inventions in the post-patent stage. I hope this proves useful to you.
There are many books and much software out there on the process that
may also be useful. I have provided many link to many of these
products. Good luck!
*INVENTION MARKETING COMPANIES
This route could work- but you will have to be very careful about
which firm you choose to market your invention. Here are some
recommended criteria you should use when evaluatiing these companies:
"If you are considering going with an marketing company at all, ask them:
1. How many inventors have they represented in the last 5-10 years?
2. How many of these made more money through licensing obtained by
the company than they spent in having the invention marketed by them?
3. How many inventions were presented to them in the last 5-10 years?
4. How many of these inventions did they select to market?"
Brown & Michaels
I know you are a lawyer- but you may not be familiar with this law, it
could be beneficial to know when evaluating firms:
The American Inventors Protection Act of 1999
"The American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 gives you certain
rights when dealing with invention promoters. Before an invention
promoter can enter into a contract with you, it must disclose the
following information about its business practices during the past
* how many inventions it has evaluated,
* how many of those inventions got positive or negative evaluations,
* its total number of customers,
* how many of those customers received a net profit from the
promoter's services, and
* how many of those customers have licensed their inventions due
to the promoter's services."
Here is a good article on how to spot intention scams:
Spotting Sweet-Sounding Promises of Fraudulent Invention Promotion Firms
United States Patent and Trademark Office
"The USPTO will publish, at the request of a patent owner, a notice in
the Official Gazette that the patent is available for licensing or
sale. There is a fee for this service."
on the fee
Patent Official Gazette
Published complaints of invention marketing companies:
There is a "partial alphabetical list of companies which reportedly
have been the subject of legal action or against whom complaints have
been filed in the USPTO" here:
There is also federal information on invention marketing companies here:
Federal Trade Commission
"Market research comprises searching for similar products that are
currently on the market or that have been attempted to be marketed.
You should conduct your market research in (i) catalogs, (ii) the
Internet, (iii) stores, and (iv) magazines. You should also research
companies that make products similar to your invention to determine if
they manufacture products that would directly compete with your
invention or if they have a better product than your invention. Make
sure to check everything since a good percentage of inventions can be
eliminated simply by doing some solid market research."
Market Research Techniques:
by Andy Gibbs Saturday, January 15, 2000
This program seemed to have a solid reputation among the inventor
organizations that I researched- may be worth the investment:
From Patent to Profit
Odering the products:
*HIRING A MARKETING EXPERT
"One important factor leading to success is that early on you'll want
a marketing expert in the field of your invention on your team. This
could be your internal marketing department, external sales agency or
a potential licensee. This marketing partner is eminently important in
almost all that you do. Sales/marketing is the qualifier of your
product's design, which serves to validate market potential. Likewise,
it's the marketing expert's approval that drives your decision to most
Marketing expert is NOT an invention promotion company:
"By the way, your marketing expert is never an invention promotion
company. It must be an existing supplier in the field of your
invention. Be assured they'll want to work directly with you...not
through a middleman. From Patent to Profit shows you how to find these
experts, interview them and license them too."
Books on market research:
New Product Development
Managing And Forecasting For Strategic Success
by Robert J. Thomas
22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing
Violate Them At Your Own Risk
Market Research companies:
"AZtech is a full-service market research company offering a complete
range of services, including: focus groups, interviews, surveys,
literature searches, industry profiles and trends, technology
transfer, invention commercialization and business consulting. AZtech
provides professional services to businesses with strong support from
the consumers of assistive technology products."
This company will evaluate your idea for free and can assist in
marketing and liscensing:
"enturing: project formations, business plans, marketing plans,
and funding alternatives.
Divestitures & Acquisitions: product lines, technology, and
businesses . . . strategic moves.
Valuations: patents, products, technology, and companies.
Licensing: product or processing technology, business development,
prototype evaluations, and market assessments.
Positioning: products, businesses, and technology . . . maximizing value."
"If a very similar product is not located during the market and patent
research, you should then take an objective marketability test for
your invention. A good preliminary marketability test is the Wal-Mart
Innovation Network (WIN). For a fee of $175 WIN will evaluate your
invention based upon certain factors. You can contact WIN at (417)
836-5751 or visit their web site at www.wal-mart.com/win/
After you are finished conducting your market research, patent
research and marketability tests, you have to make a choice: (i)
proceed to Step #2, (ii) stop proceeding with the invention, or (iii)
place the invention on ?reserve? while you consider other inventions.
Remember, less than 50% of inventions should pass Step #1 if done
*LISCENSING YOUR PRODUCT
"Licensing your inventions can be a means to earn income and defray
most of the costs of development and marketing. This is one of the
foremost strategies successful inventors use to secure development
Simply put, patents give you the exclusive right to manufacture, use
and sell products falling under the scope of the patent. In turn, a
license conveys those rights to others. An inventor (patent owner) who
conveys these rights is referred to as the licensor. The company that
is receiving these rights is the licensee. The agreement between the
parties is called a license."
Liscensing vs. selling:
"A patent is INTANGIBLE property - not like an apartment building. So
while you can rent the apartment only once, you can license a patent
over and over. For instance, if you have a new gasoline engine filter,
you can license it to the auto industry, then the motorcycle, then
lawn mower, then off road vehicle industries, and so forth - doubling
or tripling you possible revenue compared to one "sale". This king of
licensing is called "limited exclusive" since you will only license to
one auto company, one motorcycle company ... you get the drift."
Rules to keep in mind:
"RULE 1: A licensing fee and royalty is always arrived at by backing
into the numbers - never by assuming the royalty will be ANY % of
sales, regardless of what royalty payments the inventor may have heard
of as being typical in the past. (Step 5, and in the Invention
RULE 2: The inability of an inventor to attract a substantial royalty
agreement is based on the inventor's inadequate market assessment,
incomplete competitive market analysis, and not discovering how the
potential buyer might profit before the inventor starts idea and
patent development. (Step 2, and in the Invention Starter Kit)
RULE 3: Companies do NOT license ideas - or even Patents. They license
MONEY. You, the inventor, must complete your business plan so that you
can REALISTICALLY estimate the possible sales, costs and profits a
licensing company can achieve if they license your patent (Back to
Steps #1 & #2).
RULE 4: The "competitors" you identified during your Step 2 market
research could be your best licensing candidates. Learn and understand
how they do business as well as their top managers do.
RULE 5: You only have one chance to make a first impression - and
there is only one "best" company to license to. Before you contact
that company to license your invention, have your best prototype, best
market research, and best-written patent ready to display in all their
glory. If you have not carefully prepared, you blow it. It's too late
for another chance, and you will start DOWN the ladder to possibly
less interested companies."
Types of liscenses
<<Generally speaking there are three common types of licenses. They
are: 1) Licenses to manufacture, use and sell; 2) Licenses to sell,
and; 3) Licenses to use (common when purchasing software). The most
common license for inventors and owners of patents is the first, "to
manufacture, use and sell".
With these types of licenses, there are two general variations. There
are both exclusive and non-exclusive licenses. The one that's best for
your invention will depend upon several factors.">>
Manufacturing vs. Sales Lisences:
"Often inventors think of "licensing manufacturers". This may be a
good approach if the invention is a manufacturing related process or
product, but otherwise it's usually a misguided approach. You see,
licensing a manufacturer is easy. But that won't necessarily make any
money for you. What good is a license if the product doesn't sell?
Thus, the chief focus of most licenses is sales, not "manufacturing".
That's what you want. Sales generate income, which in turn pays you
royalties. Nothing happens until sales are generated. Finding the
right marketing partners as licensees should be your chief objective.
Focus on sales/marketing. Remember, "show me the money"."
Licensing in and licensing out:
"When licensing out technologies, you would be wise to know what the
other party--your licensee--is going to be looking for. The licensee
is going to have a long list of criteria that you're patented, or
patent pending technology must meet. Do you know how to view your
patents from a licensee's perspective? You best find out, because when
these questions are asked, and the answers are insufficient, you'll be
leaving yourself, your patents and your invention vulnerable.
Likewise, when licensing in technology as a licensee, what do you look
for? You can't just willy-nilly take on projects and you can't rely
solely upon a legal decision. There are pertinent manufacturing,
marketing, engineering and finance decisions that must also be made.
Be prepared, because licensing in new technology may be the most
important step your company has ever taken!"
"After filing your self-drafted PPA with the USPTO, you should then
begin your ?licensing? research. It is recommended that you hire a
licensing agent who specializes with your type of product (toy
licensing agents, etc.). If you are unable to locate a licensing agent
who specializes with your type of product, you can either utilize a
general licensing agent or attempt to conduct the research yourself.
Your fees for the licensing agent should be less than $1,000 for all
During the licensing research you should first make a list of 5 ? 20
companies that manufacture products similar to your invention and that
may be potentially interested in licensing or buying your patent
rights. You should then try to contact these companies by telephone or
mail. Without describing your invention, you should tell the company
that you have an invention which solves a specific problem or does a
special function. You should inform them that you have ?patent
pending? on this unique product. You should then ask the company if
they would potentially be ?interested? in licensing or purchasing the
patent rights to your invention. If they request more information
about your invention this is a good indication that your invention is
potentially licensable. If the companies state that they already have
a product that adequately solves the problem or that does the special
function, this is an indication that your invention is not potentially
License your invention to get royalties.
The Royalty Myth
by Andy Gibbs Sunday, July 20, 1997
Licensing - The Intelligent Alternative
by Lawrence Udell Thursday, January 23, 2003
Finding the Right Company to License your Patent
by Greg Mills Monday, June 25, 2001
A book on how to leverage patents as a powerful competitive corporate tool.
Essentials of Patents
by Andy Gibbs (Author), Bob DeMatteis (Author)
The LESI Guide to Licensing Best Practices: Strategic Issues and
by Robert Goldscheider (Editor)
How To License Your Million Dollar Idea
Everything You Need To Know To Turn A Simple Idea Into A Million Dollar Payday
License Your Invention
Sell Your Idea And Protect Your Rights With A Solid Contract
This company is endorsed by many inventor organizations;
Lambert and Lambert (also provide marketing assistance)
"If you are an inventor with a patent or just someone who has one
great idea for a new invention, we can help you make it very
We are licensing agents in search of great inventions, both with
patents and without patents, to bring to market by way of a licensing
Simply put, we find manufacturers who will produce, package, and
distribute your invention and give you a generous royalty percentage
"Picking the right manufacturers to license your invention is crucial
in the first stages. Without knowing where to go you are destined to
endlessly search in the wrong places. There are essentially three
different "classes" of manufacturers, and only one of which you should
approach for licensing your invention."
The right one:
"The third type or class of manufacturer is the kind that you should
contact for licensing your invention. They are the ones that supply
the parts for Ford, GM, and even Toyota. These manufacturers have
established distribution channels and so licensing with these
companies is extremely profitable. They spend millions of dollars
every year on research and development and so are very open to new
ideas that will give them a competitive advantage. After you strike a
licensing agreement with one of these companies, your job is
essentially done! Obviously they will be interested in specifics
about the invention and technical support from the inventor, but you
do not need to worry about the marketing, packaging, or distribution.
All of that is taken care of. As a result, it is this type of
manufacturer that we contact if we represent your invention."
*MARKETING YOUR INVENTION:
Write a business plan:
You will need a solid business plan along with your patent to persuade
investors and/or companies.
Here is some software that may help:
Seek out investors
"If you need to find investors, understand that ANY serious investor
will DEMAND a business plan, so why not begin one now, and prove to
yourself that you have a marketable invention and business concept.
When you're ready to seek loans or investors, you can start by
researching the funding sources listed in the Patentcafe Directory.
Wouldn't it be great if you could just plug your idea into a machine,
and your new business pops out? You almost can."
Seek out manufacturers:
"Manufacturing: While you will probably not become a "manufacturer"
with thousands of square feet of manufacturing buildings, production
equipment, and so forth, you will "act" as the manufacturer. You would
hire the right contract manufacturer that can produce your parts.
Then, you would warehouse and sell the finished goods products as if
you had manufactured them.
How would you even begin to find a reliable, competitive manufacturer
capable of supplying your products - especially if they were overseas?
Choosing the wrong manufacturer can sink you - it's an important
issue, so we'll tell you how. The ProductBuilders have been
manufacturing high and low volume, high to low tech products for more
than 2 decades - and you can review the capabilities in the
Engineering and Product Development Center to see if they are right
for you. Quotations are free - so compare."
"To market your invention successfully, focus intensely on how to
bring your product to market - more so in the beginning than on how to
protect your idea.
But when it comes to the actual sales, where do you start? How do you
sell your product to Target stores? Ironman inventing and Business
Plan walks you through the process of locating and qualifying
manufacturers' sales agents who work on sales commission."
Investors and Inventions, Money and Markets: How to go from Idea to Market
by Andy Gibbs Monday, January 22, 2001
Market To Your Target
by Andy Gibbs Monday, March 19, 2001
How To Find the Markets for Your Invention
by Jeff Dobkin Monday, April 09, 2001
Invent something useful if you want to get paid for it!
by Greg Mills Wednesday, December 05, 2001
The Big Idea
by Steven Strauss Thursday, January 03, 2002
Marketing Your Invention
by Thomas E., Jr. Mosley
"In this book, Mosley, the new product developer at the Oklahoma
Department of Commerce, seeks to provide inventors with practical
information they need to market their new product ideas and inventions
for commercial successes."
Bringing Your Product To Market
(A title from the Entrepreneur Magazine Library series)
by Don Debelak
The Complete Idiot's Guide To Cashing In On Your Inventions
by Richard C Levy
The Inventor's Bible
How To Market And License Your Brilliant Ideas
by Ronald Louis Docie, Sr.
reviews of "The Inventor's Bible"
Stand Alone, Inventor!
And Make Money With Your New Product Ideas!
America's Inventor Online
United Inventors Association
Upcoming trade shows:
June 11, 12, 13, 2004
Minnesota Inventors Conference
Red Falls, Minnesota
Yankee Invention Expo
General Information Concerning Patents: FAQ
Basic Facts About Trademarks
Google Search Strategy:
"marketing an invention"
narrowing search terms
Thanks again for your question. I hope this helps. Please let me know
if you need any clarification of my response. Good luck!