Help With Selling An Invention Idea
Most inventors have their eyes on the prize:
When you get that new idea of how you can build something the world hasn't seen before but solves a common problem, you know that the ultimate goal is to profitably sell the idea to a big company.
But you might not know how to do it.
We'll help you answer some of the questions you may have about selling your big idea.
Tips To Help You Sell Your Invention Idea
First of all, not targeting the appropriate contacts or the right department within a large company before sending details about your invention idea can be a mistake.
The company you submit to may choose to toss your idea submission without even opening or reviewing any of the documents that you sent.
Here are four tips that you can use to give your invention idea a reasonable chance of being reviewed while avoiding the trash bin or rejection pile.
Tip #1: Make Contact First
Get in touch with the company that you are submitting your idea to prior to submitting your idea.
You should never submit any details about your invention ahead of establishing a line of communication with the company that you want to distribute information to.
Establishing contact signifies that there is an open communication between you as the inventor submitting the idea and the company the receiving your idea. It shows you have intent and you are serious.
Before submitting your idea, you want to make sure the company is accepting invention submissions. You want to be certain that they are prepared to get the information you are about to present or submit about your invention.
Tip #2: Use An Invention Submission Agreement
Inventors must understand and adhere to an invention submission agreement if they don't want to be taken advantage of by big companies.
A submission agreement gives you legal protection and ensures you:
- Prohibit disclosure and keep your ideas confidential
- Are able to choose between an exclusive or non-exclusive arrangement (meaning you can have the ability to sell to more than one company)
- Have what you need to maximize your chances of being paid for your invention idea
Submission guidelines and agreements are designed to ensure reasonable fairness and safeguard your interests and those of the company that you are submitting your invention idea to.
Submission guidelines are generally made up of 3 measures:
A license agreement or intellectual property transfer will take place soon after the idea evaluation if the company determines your idea valuable enough to buy.
Be sure to recognize and follow every step of the process - if not, it's one of those things that will bite later.
Try to put together information about your invention that will be valuable to the company throughout each step of the submission process.
Tip #3: Secure A Non-Disclosure Agreement
You should ask the company - or the business may ask you - to sign a legal non-disclosure agreement between you as the inventor and the company evaluating your invention idea.
The agreement's purpose is to provide an understanding as well as a safeguard between the company and the inventor.
This agreement should define terms and conditions around the disclosure of confidential ideas as well as non-competitive clauses. The non-disclosure establishes the required ownership of your idea.
The agreement may also disclose use of the invention details presented by the inventor.
With your agreement, the company may have the right to make and keep, for reporting purposes, copies of any descriptions, drawings, prototypes, models or any other technical specifications submitted at the time of idea submission or in the foreseeable future. This is normal and you should feel comfortable doing so.
If the agreement is non-confidential, consider not including certain information or details you consider proprietary or confidential that pertain to your invention.
You should still be able to sell the idea without disclosing everything, i.e. the processes and methods. In some situations it may only be necessary to provide the company with the essential information and details that they need to effectively evaluate your invention idea without releasing the proprietary details.
Tip #4: Create A Business Plan To Help You Sell Your Invention Idea
Inventors aren't always entrepreneurs.
And even if you have a strong invention mind and duly complement it with a good head for business, you probably prefer to spend your time to develop new ideas to sell rather than share the time to launch a full-scale business.
That's why you're selling your idea.
But to give yourself the best odds, you'll need a plan. One route is to consider licensing your invention idea.
Licensing Your Invention Idea
Licensing your invention gives you less worry over what happens to the sale of your invention or invention idea when it hits the shelves.
By licensing, you are selling your invention idea to a manufacturer or company that takes the responsibility of development, marketing, and sales.
The company you sell the idea to takes on all the related tasks - and the risks - that are involved in launching a new consumer product.
Apart from giving you all the free time you need to move on to the next invention, licensing is also a great option for inventors with meagre or limited financial resources.
Selling your ideas can be a stress-free process if you choose to follow the smart ways of licensing your invention or idea. As with starting your own business, there are steps to follow when licensing your invention.
Source For and Gather Relevant Information
You can never go wrong by being armed with enough information about your industry and enough knowledge of current business ethics.
The more information you have, the more successful you will be in your licensing endeavors.
When approaching prospective companies, be sure you know enough about your market by arming yourself with relevant feedback on your own idea and invention.
One idea is to employ focus group testing and seek feedbacks from your friends and family.
It is also crucial to have information about products similar to yours. Always know the competition.
Also, even if you're just selling the idea, do a search for the patentability of your invention or invention idea, and arm yourself with information about relevant regulatory issues and legal steps.
You should also be aware of the processes involved in the production of your invention and any special needs, materials or techniques.
Professionally Prepare Your Presentation
Armed with relevant information, the next task is to professionally prepare your presentation.
You have to get it right when pitching to potential licensors.
With the aid of a 3D prototype model of your invention, you should be able to comfortably come up with a simple sell sheet that carries all the gathered information.
Your one- to two-page sell sheet document should clearly state what problem your product solves, its benefits and features, the market, and the invention’s legal status.
Identify Your Targets Within The Company You Want To Sell To
With the gathered and prepared information, you will then need to identify the right contacts.
It is recommended you identify up to fifty prospective targets at different companies you want to sell to.
Generally, the more prospects you have, the better off you will be. For an effective result, it is better to have a focused list of prospects.
With effective market research, it is easy to identify companies that will be a good fit for your invention or product. Apart from this, identifying prospective manufacturers can be achieved by researching and identifying the trade association which serves your product’s industry.
Once identified, you can go to their websites and check their member’s list or look up leadership or management at the company. LinkedIn is a great source for finding prospects as well.
Effect The Sales
Armed with relevant info, succinct presentation materials, and your pristine list of potential prospects, you are on your way to negotiating a favorable licensing deal and effecting the sales of your invention idea.
It is important at this stage to set a realistic target and have a tempered expectation. With that in mind, ensure that you get as much as possible from the deal.
Don’t sit back...aim for the jugular.
And at the end, ensure that you are comfortable with the deal.