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Inventing New Products/Inventions/LICENSING AN INVENTION TO A COMPANY

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Question
Can you clarify something for me? If I have an invention that I have a patent or patent pending on, and I present it to an interested company,does the company then takeover the manufacturing of the new invention? In other words,if I've only got one invention/finished prototype,would they make more?

Answer
Hi Jennifer,

In answer to your question: it depends.

Do you have a manufacturing-ready (engineering drawings) prototype? If so, research what type of machinery or equipment will it take to mass produce it? You should know this and you should research Licensing companies targeting contracts in the field of your invention. A suggestion would be to go to http://productsourcing.thomasnet.com/ to try to figure out which companies in the US produce products "like" yours (in the same product category). I would be a lucky strike if you could also figure out who they get their orders from, eh? It may take a few phone calls to find out from them or someone in their operation. I mean, it could mean future business for them. After all, it could be a retailer works with a specific supplier(s) in which case one or more may be Licensees and maybe not. You just have to figure out how to work the channel backwards.

Most of these types of person's or companies or what I call "outfits", IMO, take anything while others are "focused" on specific products so know who is looking for what in their current field. If a company (an "outfit" or person wants money upfront - stay clear would be advice. They look for "marks" they clean out.

Licensing agents, IMO, who really are licensing agents and not so-called invention marketing -companies - scammers - take NO or LITTLE money up front ($150-$250) but make it from licensing deals they secure. I know of one licensing exec for whom toy execs fly to his location once or twice a year to look at the latest products he has under a Licensing deal such as their "Wish Lists" specify. He accepts only a couple of hundred dollars from inventors initially to determine if a product fits his field of expertise and retail outlets. If it does not or if the agent determines it is not viable market-wise he'll also submit back to inventors a bevy of research to help inventors understand why their invention would not be economically viable.

As to a Licensing company, take "some" As Seen On TV outfits, they "may" have their own manufacturing facility or they may sub it out. You find out if they are also a "contract" manufacturer (has a dedicated factory, plant or facility somewhere). You can generally find that online. I'd speculate a majority of Licensees have working relationships with Contract manufacturers vs have their own manufacturing facility too. Let's take Walmart, they have (allegedly) factories in China who produce their products under their name (likely they went into partnership with prior owners). In other words Walmart "controls" point A-Z to include design, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, sales and marketing; as well as having a fleet of trucks and warehouses all over the U.S. (and maybe elsewhere?); a so-called "vertical" operation.

In your product area a question arises, who has equipment able to produce what you have without significant changes to (a) their machinery or (b) your invention requiring, perhaps, it be specially designed or re-designed (machinery/invention) to accommodate their equipment. In other words, find this out before they "tweak" what you have and produce it themselves or patent what they add or remove from your "invention" to be produced on their equipment.

There are other variables that spring to my mind too. If all you've got is a Provisional, it offers no protection. Only issued patents provide Intellectual Property protection for the idea that's laid out (clearly defined and has Claims issued) in the issued patent. If you "ain't" got a patent tread carefully as today the US is a "File to File" (no longer "First to Invent") country now making (IMO) Provisionals virtually worthless ------ as I see it.

Regards,
Penny  

Inventing New Products/Inventions

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Penny Ballou

Expertise

The Invention Process; Royalties; Licensing Inventions/Products; Pricing; Direct to Market; Marketing/Promotions; Patent Searching; DIY patent writing; Types of patents/costs/how to's; Funding (grants and Angel investors); Prototyping; Off-Shore sourcing.

Experience

I am founder of an inventors group; Advisory Board President of www.inventored.org; former Licensing Executive Society member; researcher for www.piausa.org and a consultant; plus moderate and contribute to several online inventor discussion groups.

Publications
Enter my email address into any search engine to find them.

Education/Credentials
Invention development: well-studied and applied in all aspects of the process and an inventor myself with one invention in patent pending and others ramping up. Lived and attended schools in Mainland China and the UK.

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