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GOLD! The Licensing Game

Rearden

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Awesome Thread! Thank you @Vigilante
I have licensed some of my own inventions and I was looking at selling the rights to the IP and the license. I have looked into the agreement and it allows this. Have you heard of any private equity firms or other entity buying out deals? And I am looking at doing this in the future so I am trying to make this opportunity as appealing as possible to the buyer. Do you know what they would be looking for?
 

ThirtyOne

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@Vigilante this thread has been eye-opening and inspiring. Thank you.

Will I get weaseled out of a deal if I want to connect a big brand in a specific category to a big manufacturer in another category? The only value I can add is preparing the details of the deal for them (cost to manu, pricing, packaging, etc) and submitting my own visual designs for the product. I have no IP claims here at all.
 

Rearden

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@Vigilante this thread has been eye-opening and inspiring. Thank you.

Will I get weaseled out of a deal if I want to connect a big brand in a specific category to a big manufacturer in another category? The only value I can add is preparing the details of the deal for them (cost to manu, pricing, packaging, etc) and submitting my own visual designs for the product. I have no IP claims here at all.


So it depends on what you are pitching, if you are just pitching a connection, then it might be tough to protect…I don’t think any licensing deal is impossible. A lot of getting a deal is how you pitch it. So I guess can you give some more details on what you are bringing to the table.

If you are submitting visual designs of a product that means to me that on some level it's different than other products on the market and that’s VALUE. I have licensed 2 products that were not patentable, but the company saw value in what I was bringing them so they licensed them.
 

ThirtyOne

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So it depends on what you are pitching, if you are just pitching a connection, then it might be tough to protect…I don’t think any licensing deal is impossible. A lot of getting a deal is how you pitch it. So I guess can you give some more details on what you are bringing to the table.

If you are submitting visual designs of a product that means to me that on some level it's different than other products on the market and that’s VALUE. I have licensed 2 products that were not patentable, but the company saw value in what I was bringing them so they licensed them.
first off, congrats! any details you can share?

For this idea, I think you are right--submitting original visual designs is the way to go.
 

garyjsmith

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it spawned a second (Tony Stewart) GPS that was less successful.
Did you [or your friend] draft that idea to make the Tony Stewart or did NASCAR decide to pursue? If the company decided to build a spin-off or addition to the original idea, do you receive royalties at the same rate, are terms renegotiated? Or do you just get cut out of the deal? More questions to come :) (still reading)
 

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Did you [or your friend] draft that idea to make the Tony Stewart or did NASCAR decide to pursue? If the company decided to build a spin-off or addition to the original idea, do you receive royalties at the same rate, are terms renegotiated? Or do you just get cut out of the deal? More questions to come :) (still reading)
We did it.

What you will find about licensors (like NASCAR) is they are not manufacturers. These deals move pretty quickly. The last thing NASCAR is going to do is shop around for a second, similar agreement on a comparable product with a separate manufacturer. Licensors are not interested in the pain in the a$$ factor. All they want is a check.

We don't do deals that have potential for us to get cut out. We're the cutters, not the cutt-ees.
 

BrooklynHustle

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A friend of mine licensed the Curtis Mathis brand. He then assigned his exclusive license to Kmart Corporation. Kmart then under the license agreement made Curtis Mathis televisions. The guy did nothing but sit back and watch it happen. He made several million dollars over three years. The girl who was the subject of my original post is trying to sell her idea and her exclusive license now to a retailer.
F*cking brilliant!
 

BrooklynHustle

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I was wondering about this and I see this thread is a year old but have you ever considered someone like a Snoop Dog type character with a voice-over:

"Left up here on Michnichols, bitches" and then you hear a bic flick or something that keeps the "presence" in the vehicle. I guess I just see some entertainment value with this.
I saw this done in the Waze navigation app with a few different personalities, including Colonel Sanders :rofl:
 

garyjsmith

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My deal with NASCAR and Dale Jr. was a LICENSE DEAL, not an endorsement deal. In a license deal, I got to use Dale's logo, signature, images, some digital content. My merchandise was branded as Dale Jr. merchandise.
I said I'd have more questions. This one is about order.

Let's say you had a idea that was not in production -- just a concept -- and you wanted to include (make money for) NASCAR and Dale Jr. Would you present NASCAR with a prototype or sell sheet and let their organization figure out how to manufacture the item, or would you first figure out how the item would be produced before including the celebrity? If the latter, would that require licensing to a company who could produce the product and somehow tying in the celebrity?

Edit: I feel like in the second scenario, the licensing company [of the product] could say "nah, we aren't interested in working with that celebrity. We'll be marketing/developing the product how we see fit."
 

Rearden

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first off, congrats! any details you can share?

For this idea, I think you are right--submitting original visual designs is the way to go.
Hi Jakinaka

Of course and anything, I can do to help.
I licensed 2 of my products in short:
I researched the market to make sure there wasn’t anything else out there like my product and inevitable there was but I was doing it in a better way. So I developed a prototype and shot a quick 60 sec video of the demonstration. Then filed a PPA (provisional patent application) on my own (couldn’t afford an attorney at the time). Then got on the phone and started calling. One of the products I called 80 or so companies and got 79 No’s. The other was a shorter list but a longer period of time. Once I found the company that wanted it and had the resources to execute we put together a deal. Now I have royalties coming in every month J


So that’s the broad over view and it sounds like roses but here is some of the truth behind it and following in @mjdemarco foot steps of telling the real story. It took me 9 years of work to get to the point where royalties can pay the mortgage (I was a slow learner and was not the best at taking action to start). The time when MJ talks about the echo period of darkness that was 3 years for me before I got feedback. So know in some cases licensing can be a long-term play and even though royalties are cool, you loose control of the income and now I have no idea if they are going to pull my product off the shelf or put more promotion dollars into another product and my sales are going to tail off. So when you are looking to jump into the invention licensing game know it can take a lot of time to start producing income and you loose your C ( for the most part).
 

Vigilante

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I said I'd have more questions. This one is about order.

Let's say you had a idea that was not in production -- just a concept -- and you wanted to include (make money for) NASCAR and Dale Jr. Would you present NASCAR with a prototype or sell sheet and let their organization figure out how to manufacture the item, or would you first figure out how the item would be produced before including the celebrity? If the latter, would that require licensing to a company who could produce the product and somehow tying in the celebrity?

Edit: I feel like in the second scenario, the licensing company [of the product] could say "nah, we aren't interested in working with that celebrity. We'll be marketing/developing the product how we see fit."
In all of the deals I have done, I have married an existing product I had control of to a brand or celebrity that didn't exist in that space. So, I am not the best one to answer your specific scenario, but I feel that Steven Key did a good job of that in One Simple Idea.
 

ThirtyOne

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Hi Jakinaka

Of course and anything, I can do to help.
I licensed 2 of my products in short:
I researched the market to make sure there wasn’t anything else out there like my product and inevitable there was but I was doing it in a better way. So I developed a prototype and shot a quick 60 sec video of the demonstration. Then filed a PPA (provisional patent application) on my own (couldn’t afford an attorney at the time). Then got on the phone and started calling. One of the products I called 80 or so companies and got 79 No’s. The other was a shorter list but a longer period of time. Once I found the company that wanted it and had the resources to execute we put together a deal. Now I have royalties coming in every month J


So that’s the broad over view and it sounds like roses but here is some of the truth behind it and following in @mjdemarco foot steps of telling the real story. It took me 9 years of work to get to the point where royalties can pay the mortgage (I was a slow learner and was not the best at taking action to start). The time when MJ talks about the echo period of darkness that was 3 years for me before I got feedback. So know in some cases licensing can be a long-term play and even though royalties are cool, you loose control of the income and now I have no idea if they are going to pull my product off the shelf or put more promotion dollars into another product and my sales are going to tail off. So when you are looking to jump into the invention licensing game know it can take a lot of time to start producing income and you loose your C ( for the most part).
Thanks for the detailed reply. So it sounds like your two patents were not design patents, but utility patents, since that's the only one you can file a PPA for.

My specific idea right now is opening a new category of print art onto a current product. So, I couldn't even file a design patent on it, since it's just surface art. I do have offensive rights to the art under copyright law, but copyrights are so specific that they can be designed around and cut me out. It sounds like my current project needs to be more protectable or I'm outta luck.

However, your reply was still very helpful and informative. Thank you for sharing your experience and giving me a healthy dose of reality. Licensing is a grind!
 

ThirtyOne

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In all of the deals I have done, I have married an existing product I had control of to a brand or celebrity that didn't exist in that space. So, I am not the best one to answer your specific scenario, but I feel that Steven Key did a good job of that in One Simple Idea.
Impressive that there's so much opportunity there. Super cool.
 

Vigilante

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I have a huge licensing meeting Tuesday. When I get this one done it should be a game changer for a sub-industry/specialized product.

Why?

While your competitors are reacting to what you did yesterday, you should always be working on tomorrow. Everyone wants to take what you have. I wrote an article a few days back in which I quoted that generally everything is usually either growing or dying.

Best Buy has reinvented itself multiple times, fighting back from irrelevancy and capitalizing on emerging trends. You’re about to see Best Buy do it again as the digital products era yeilds to entertainment on demand and Best Buy morphs into a solutions provider for what you and I don’t even know we need yet. Watch Best Buy do it again, while Toys “r” Us locations become retail ghost towns, ironically many in the shadows of defunct Circuit City locations.

Whats the difference? Best Buy reinvented itself. Best Buy didn't rest where it was at.

The reason for my meeting Tuesday is that until I am dead, we're never done. There's always another mountain to climb. There's always a better way.

I am the hunter, not the hunted. I won't be able to post the specifics of the license deal I finish this week until it is made public, but I will pop back in here to tell you that I got the deal done. And... I will... get the deal done.
 

Vigilante

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Anyone heading to the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas next week? I will be in town but for less than 24 hours.
 

samsig03

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I am relatively new to the licensing game. Been trying to license 3 ideas for 3 years now, no major success...... yet.

I am interested in the Licensing Expo. Is it worth it and what can you expect from it? Thanks
 

LynetteP

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@Vigilante this thread has been eye-opening and inspiring. Thank you.

Will I get weaseled out of a deal if I want to connect a big brand in a specific category to a big manufacturer in another category? The only value I can add is preparing the details of the deal for them (cost to manu, pricing, packaging, etc) and submitting my own visual designs for the product. I have no IP claims here at all.
I believe you can do an entire catalog of items and register the copyright for the entire thing for about $70 (this price as long as it's all in the same catalog). I'm not sure if the items have to be related to each other, but I don't think so. It's just a deterrent, but better than nothing! Look on USPTO under copyrights. It will explain what it protects.
 

LynetteP

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Listened to this interview today.

BLEW MY MIND!

I have a simple license idea that I've wasted time talking with manufacturers on Alibaba about and Brandon has a SIMPLE way to get a mockup of your idea to start pitching companies. All for under $50.

I won't give it away, you need to listen:

I know this was posted a long time ago, but I'm still going to say thanks for posting this video! This was an ***excellent*** summary of protecting and licensing an idea, mostly for items that would need a (utility) PPA. Most resources don't mention talking to retail buyers- I had to figure that out myself. Very useful as an introduction to licensing!
 

Arun Siva

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Ironically, his movie Tak3n (Taken 3) was hot in the theaters.
LOL.
Matt Damon bastard did the same exact thing and yet people only remember him from (ironically) BOURNE trilogy... Dont you just love these hypocritical self-centered celebs?
 

Arun Siva

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If I wanted to get a hold of an executive at Staples, I might call or send a proposal to the president of Staples. NOT because I think he will be the guy (or gal) to help me, but he will always, 100% of the time, get me to the highest ranking executive at the company with direct oversight for my inquiry. If you start at the bottom, there are mechanisms in place to stop you, screen you, and refuse you. When you start at the top, not only are those same mechanisms not in place, but the doors open.
+1

Never fall in love with your merchandise
Great Mantra.

there's usually one weak hand in any proposed partnership.
Another nugget that goes a long way
 

Yussef

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I know this was posted a long time ago, but I'm still going to say thanks for posting this video! This was an ***excellent*** summary of protecting and licensing an idea, mostly for items that would need a (utility) PPA. Most resources don't mention talking to retail buyers- I had to figure that out myself. Very useful as an introduction to licensing!

Curious about why you would speak to Alibaba manufacturer about an idea you want to license?
 

BrettA

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Great thread (years alter) Thanks @Vigilante and everyone else who contributed.

I'm going more the the Stephen Key route but this was still worth reading.
 

LynetteP

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Curious about why you would speak to Alibaba manufacturer about an idea you want to license?
I wouldn’t- sorry if that was unclear!
 

Elbert Dockery

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WOW....I cant believe i have missed this thread after all this time. thanks everyone for all your contributions. my mind is flowing with ideas specifically, combining licensing with SAAS.
 

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