Unless you’ve decided to go into business for yourself, chances are good that the best way to make money off your newly minted patent is by licensing it out to a company that’s interested in your invention.
However, negotiating a license deal isn’t a simple process. No two patents are the same (which is half the point of patents in the first place), and an idea that’s worth a million dollars to one company may be worth less than five figures to another.
On top of that, your negotiating partner is trying to get the best possible bargain, so you’ll need to keep a careful eye on all the clauses and concessions in the licensing contract. Considering how complex the process is, then, it’s no wonder so many people hire professionals to help them throughout the process.
Finding The Right Licensee
The first step in the process is to find the client or company out there who’s willing to pay the most for your patent, and straight away a professional service can help. With the right connections to the right industries, a patent law firm or patent service agency can shop your idea around to see who’s interested and how much they’re willing to pay. They may even be able to drive the price up some by hinting about the highest bidder when talking to their competition.
Negotiating The Right Price
Do you read all the text in a software license before you click “Accept?” Do you read all the small print that came with your credit card before you activated it? Because even if you do, it’s even more important that you read every line in your patent licensing representation. Since every patent is unique, there really isn’t such a thing as a standard-form patent license. There are certainly some basic standards that can change depending on the exact industry, but there’s always room to iron out the details.
That’s why it helps to have someone familiar with patent law and the rules of negotiation on your side. You may have to pay a commission for their help, but you’ll still likely come out ahead compared to if you went in alone.
The United States legal system is plenty complicated on its own, but when you add in corporate lawyers looking to squeeze the most out of you with as little cost to them as possible, it can be all too easy to get lost in the legalese and end up letting them taking advantage of you. If you want a fair deal, it pays to hire a professional.