Are investors interested in patents?

Three ways of patent exploitation: founding, licensing, selling

The Own a patent does not automatically result in an income, on the contrary: protection costs annual fees. Ideally, when you were working on your invention, you had already thought about how you would like to use it. You have three options: You use the patent yourself and market your invention within the framework of your own company, you make it available to others for a license fee or you sell it completely.

Patent exploitation in your own company

Most probably plan to exploit it themselves and already have a specific use in mind when they invented it. You already have an idea of ​​how to get out of it marketable product want to develop and who their customer could be. You are starting your own company. The patent or utility model initially grants them protection from imitators and a temporary monopoly. Many inventors have successfully followed this path. The effort and costs for the development and the patent application have paid off for them. In order to build an economically successful company from an invention, technical expertise alone is not enough. You also need Skills in business administration, marketing and sales. But you don't have to do everything in your own company: it can be done too Outsource parts of production or sales to suitable cooperation partners.

Reasons against your own exploitation

Whether you can actually exploit your patent yourself as an entrepreneur depends on many factors. In some cases fails the implementation in own direction because of financally reasons. The individual patents may also not be sufficient to develop a marketable product from themthat can be sold economically. And even a good product has a hard time if the competition has great market power and an enormous marketing effort would be required to make it known. Perhaps the inventors are in a phase of life in which they simply cannot spend as much time as it would be necessary to start a company. And not everyone feels called to be an entrepreneur.

Sell ​​a patent or license its use

Even if you don't want to become an entrepreneur yourself, you can still exploit your patent - by getting one Sell ​​license for the use or the complete invention including patent protection. You should, however don't wait too long, because the technical development is known to continue. It is helpful for sales if you thought about the application at an early stage. If the benefit itself is in the patent, it also promotes its usability. Trading in intellectual property is, however, much more complicated than trading in real assets. For one thing, it is much more difficult to find the right customer. And fixing a reasonable price is like trying to predict the future: How will the buyer benefit from your invention and what profit can he get from it? Without professional help, it's hard to come to an agreement that satisfies you. It has been shown to be common it is easier to offer more than just sell a single patent. These additional assets can be "know-how", "brands", other patents, customer contacts, prototypes or the like. One such Total package is therefore often perceived as more attractive.

Patent exploitation: make contacts

Whether you are planning your own implementation or whether you are thinking of selling your patent: This is a good address to make contacts Inventors fair iENA (international trade fair for ideas, inventions and innovations) in Nuremberg or the Inventors fair in Geneva. Also the Trade fairs in your industry can be helpful in finding out who might be interested in your invention. There are now online platforms on which you can share your Offer a patent or utility model for saleas we fromBluepatent. Special patent brokers or patent exploiters bring inventors and interested parties together, but can also pay for this service. Which path leads to success for you depends not least on your invention. Is it easy to do? For whom does it solve a problem - for the end user or for a manufacturer? How big is this problem? Who also offers solutions for this?

Find the right target group for the patent

Inventors hoping to make big money through sales or licensing need to realize that companies have by no means been waiting for them. It is true that trade in intellectual property - patents, utility models or trademarks - has increased significantly. But big companies prefer to invent themselves and are seldom interested in buying anything. Instead, large companies are increasingly exploiting patents from their portfolios themselves. Because the invention that an employee makes during his working hours "belongs" to the company. However, the inventor is entitled to remuneration and is named in the document. Midsize businesses often use patent brokers to make money on their inventions. If your invention has potential, don't let the effort put you off. But it is important to find someone who could benefit from your invention. It could be a brave founder who just lacked the right idea, or a Company for which your invention means an improvement or addition to its product range.

License granted

This is how granting a license works: You allow a prospect to use your patented invention to manufacture and market a product. For that you can either a price per piece or a percentage of sales or profits desire. With this you secure an income as long as a company uses your invention and the patent protection exists. In order for a company to be interested in a license, you must have it convince of the advantages. That sets a good preparation ahead, similar to the pitch, with which a founder tries to convince banks and investors. If you manage to interest a company in your invention, it is important to negotiate one negotiate reasonable price. For this it is helpful comparable examples from the industry to have at hand. Data on this can be found in, for example Judgments on employee inventions. For negotiations, you should also use the Help from an experienced lawyer so as not to be unpleasantly surprised by the details of the agreement later.

Sell ​​patent

The company may also want to buy your patent right away. If the patent is sold, you no longer have to pay the fees that the protection costs you over the 20 years. In doing so, however, you are also finally relinquishing the right to do so. The price you can charge for it depends to a large extent on the advantages for the interested company and in which countries your patent is valid. If you solve a really big problem for the company, your chances of getting a good price are significantly better than with an invention with uncertain marketing prospects. The time window for a patent exploitation through sale or licensing is limited, however, as the state of the art advances rapidly. So it is important to silver an invention before it belongs to the scrap iron.

Conclusion: think about recycling at an early stage

With good reason the patent office requires a commercial use for the invention. Inventors should take this to heart from the start. Anyone who already thinks about the later exploitation during the development has a better chance of refinancing the workload and the costs of the patent application. This applies both to the exploitation in your own company and to the granting of a license or the sale of the patent.

Patent exploitation checklist:

  1. Later recovery in development concerns and record in the patent application
  2. Chances of recovery Check in your own company: financial resources, skills in the team, prospects for profitability, personal situation
  3. Exploitation through sale or licensing: Identify target group, work out advantages for them, do not wait too long and do not go into negotiations without a specialist lawyer