How to License Your Invention

The adage that if you “build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door” has long been discredited. The reality is that it takes money and proactive effort to manufacture, market and distribute a new product, even if it is the proverbial better mousetrap.

Given the effort required, many inventors either don’t have the resources or are just not interested in taking their invention to market. They’re inventors, after all, not business tycoons. How then does an inventor profit from his or her patents? One way is through licensing.

Difference Between Licensing and Assignment

A license is a contract between the patent owner and another party in which the patent owner promises not to sue the other party for using the invention as long as the other party uses the invention according to the terms of the contract as you can read from The patent owner still owns the patent and is merely extending certain limited rights to the other party, usually in exchange for fees or royalties of one form or another.

An assignment, on the other hand, is a transfer of ownership interest in the patent. If an inventor assigns a patent to another party, the inventor has no further rights in the patent. A patent can be assigned in whole or in part, and it can be assigned conditionally or unconditionally. When assigned, the assignee becomes the new patent owner and you can read more about it from

Who Will License Your Invention?

Because an invention must be useful to be patented, it shouldn’t be difficult to identify who would find it useful.

For example, if your invention is a consumer product, then a manufacturer of similar consumer products may want your new product to add to their catalog and boost their sales.

If you’ve perfected some industrial product or process, then companies in that industry may want to take advantage of what you’ve created to lower their costs or gain a competitive advantage.

It may take research, but if you can uncover 40 to 50 companies who can financially benefit from your invention, you have a good chance of finding at least one who is interested in licensing it from you.

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