Here you are. You have come up with a great idea, an idea so great and innovative that you’ve had it recorded by U.S. Patent Office as yours. Now what? Patents and intellectual property are hot topic these days. Whether you’re looking to license the patents, sell them outright, and maybe even sell your business off, you want to go about this the right way. Today we’re going to look at 5 key tips related patents and selling those patents to enterprise companies.
Tip 1. Use a professional broker. We’re going to start right here and not just because that’s what we do. Look at this way. Have you ever had a friend who is looking to do something you know could change the rest of their life, like buy some real estate, start their own corporation, make a career change? One of the first things you may want to say is, seriously, speak to a professional about that. We’re starting in much the same way. Because we don’t want you to make any mistakes you’ll regret down the road. What’s the cost of a professional broker compared to the costs of signing a contract that winds up meaning not exactly what you thought it meant, or missing out on the true value of your patents? Trust us, you don’t even want to go there.
Tip 2. Consider the long-term value of your patent. Here in the United States, the pharmaceutical industry is famous, some might even say infamous when it comes to patenting and protecting those patents. That’s because they know the work that goes into making those patents and the value that comes from holding onto their exclusive rights. Before selling your patents, consider carefully. How much work did you put into this? Do you have more innovative ideas in the works? Make sure you’ve fully thought this out and have considered all your options. After all, once you’ve sold your patent, there is no coming back.
Tip 3. Research the field. We’re not just talking market research to see what similar products are out there. Have you seriously considered all possible uses for the idea you have patented? Yes, your patent broker will do much of this work for you, but no one knows your invention quite like you do. Especially if you have any specific ideas about how you do – and do not – want your invention to be used, make sure to keep apprised about other recent developments.
Tip 4. Make Sure You’re Getting the Deal You Want. There’s an old saying, measure twice and cut once. Once you have a deal in place, especially if you’ve decided to go against our earlier advice and embark on this deal alone, don’t be afraid to say “I need some time to review the contract.” Especially if they’re trying to play the old trick where this has to be done right now. Especially if you are really are eager to get this over with fast. Review the contract. Go over the fine print. Are you selling your patents? Make sure the payment terms are clearly spelled out and any contingencies are what you expected. Do you have caveats regarding how these patents are to be used? If so, make sure these caveats are enforceable. Actually, not to harp on an old point, but if you have any caveats like you do not want this used for military purposes, or you do not want the business to charge outrageous prices for your idea, then … yes we’re just going to say it. You really should be speaking to a professional.
Tip 5. Research the Buyer’s Competition. Every company has competition. The monopoly laws demand it of us, if nothing else. Before selling your patents, make sure you’ve looked at, preferably spoken to, the competition. Look at the big picture. Remember, this is your idea, your invention. Don’t be afraid to consider a slightly reduced offer from a company you like better, where you know you will be doing more business in the future. Conversely, don’t be afraid to consider a better offer from a company you don’t like, but is willing to bring it all to the table. After all, this is business.
Last but not least, don’t forget the option to sell your company, including your patents. If you’ve decided it’s time to cash out, then all of the tips above, and then some. Good luck!