The information in the subheadings below can help an inventor know how to proceed with obtaining a License Agreement for his invention. It is important however that an inventor first take steps for protecting his invention under a patent pending before offering his invention for licensing. A companion to this article is one titled: “Methods for Licensing Inventions”.
Making a Prototype
When manufacturing/marketing companies are approached with a new product idea by an inventor, they prefer to have a working model or sample-design submitted to them. This is called a “prototype” and an inventor can make the sample himself or if it is a somewhat complicated product, he can have a manufacturing firm or machine shop, sewing factory, etc. put one together for him.
It is better if an inventor is able to produce a prototype on his own if possible because this reduces the chances of early exposure of an invention and will save on the expense of having a prototype made by a manufacturer.
Non-Disclosure Non-Use Agreements
If an inventor has to use an outside source to get a sample (prototype) made, he should have them sign a “Non-Disclosure Non-Use Agreement”, which is an agreement that simply states that upon disclosure of the invention to them, for the purpose of producing a prototype, they agree not to publicly disclose the invention to third parties or to make any further samples of the product for their own use. The inventor has them sign such an agreement so that they do not expose an invention publicly sooner than it is ready to be launched onto the market.
Letterhead and Submission Materials
It is important to look as professional in the efforts to secure a licensee/manufacturer as possible. An inventor needs to have a professional looking letter of request that is sent out to interest companies in seeing a presentation of a product/invention, with a letterhead at the top of it that includes contact information for interested parties.
It is important to put together the best submission materials possible. These type items can include the following:
- A brochure that describes and highlights an invention
- a demonstration video
- a chart that can be pointed to and referred to
- printed results from any positive test-marketing that has been done
In other words, anything that presents an invention to a reviewing company in the best possible light is a good thing to have with when making a presentation for an invention.
License Agreement Proposal
Most manufacturers that express interest in an invention want the inventor to set their desired terms so that they can make a final consideration before entering into a License Agreement to market an invention. Manufacturers like to see inventors who know what they want out of their invention rather than having an inventor say to them, “Whatever you guys think.” They prefer to have a more detailed proposal placed in front of them so that they can negotiate from that point.
An inventor can find a local attorney to help them compose a License Agreement proposal or they can find one on the internet using a search term such as “sample license agreements,” etc. Once one has a general contract in hand, they can customize it to their liking.
The most likely term/condition that requires some time in negotiating with a licensee is the amount of royalty they will be required to pay on units sold for an invention under a licensing. Royalties paid on inventions can vary but according to some sources, a majority of inventions that are licensed receive a royalty between 2% and 10%.
These suggestions can help an inventor to generally know how to pursue and prepare a License Agreement but one factor that is also of great importance is an inventor’s ambition. A positive attitude and confidence in pursuing a License Agreement for an invention is a key factor. Inventors who remain confident, ambitious and who don’t give up if they initially fail to interest the companies they first make presentations to, are the ones who succeed in eventually getting their inventions marketed.