What Do You Have and What Do You Need
Before you approach potential licensing partners, you first need to understand what type of help you need in bringing your invention to market. A solid understanding of what skills and resources you bring to the table will help you to find and make a good match in a licensing partner.
In other words, perhaps you need legal assistance, or engineering, or manufacturing. For many inventors, the most crucial piece of the invention puzzle that they lack is money. Without liquid capital, it can be very difficult to bring a patented invention onto the market. There are simply too many steps along the way to do it “on the cheap.” Cutting corners can be very costly in the long run.
Unless you are one of the few lucky inventors who has sufficient funds to launch your invention from the development stage right into the customers’ hands and all on your own, you would probably be smart to seek a licensing partner with the capital to get the job done right.
But, licensing partners bring more than just money to the table. There are several aspects of the manufacturing and distribution process that you have to consider. They include manufacturing ability, shipping, capital investment, connections to established retailers, marketing experience, business knowledge and experience, regional connections and most important of all – CREATIVE CAPITAL.
One reason licensing your patented invention can be so powerful and effective, is that few inventors have all of these skills and resources. A good licensing partner will help you to fill in the knowledge gap.
For example, you may want to manufacture your product in China or overseas. This is certainly an option for best price and quality, but it can be a huge challenge if you lack overseas connections.
The same applies to selling your product outside of the United States. When you sell products overseas, you need to have a complete understanding of the legal requirements and conditions in that country or region. Partnering with a firm that has these types of connections and experience can be a powerful way to leverage your strongest skills, while relying on your partners to bring their knowledge to the project.
So, before you move forward in your search for a licensing partner, do an honest assessment of what you hope to gain from the agreement. Make an inventory of what you need, what your invention requires, what you can do on your own, and what you need help with. This will allow you to find the best partner for you and your invention.