Licensing, Can Somebody Do This For Me?
© By Stephen Paul Gnass
I agree that it would "seem very logical", that a professional
or a company, with experience in licensing products, can take
on your idea or product and go through the whole process of
licensing it for you.
In fact, this idea is so popular with the majority of people
throughout the country, that it has kept the invention
marketing scams in business for decades, raking in hundreds
of millions of dollars each year.
1. Legitimate licensing agents are rare and most of the
time, go "incognito"
What most people don't understand, or sometimes refuse
to accept or believe, is the fact that the amount of "legitimate"
licensing agents who are willing to work with independent
inventors, are so few and rare, that it's almost like finding
a needle in a haystack.
In addition to this, legitimate licensing agents often go "incognito",
meaning they hide and don't reveal that they are licensing agents,
because they don't want to be found and flooded with requests
from people who have raw undeveloped ideas, who are also not
knowledgeable about the process of licensing.
2. Why do legitimate licensing agents go incognito?
a) Independent inventors are known to be very difficult to
A few examples are:
Many inventors don't know what a good deal is, they have unrealistic expectations
Many inventors tend to change their minds after the licensing agent has done all the work to negotiate a deal
Inventors often get greedy and refuse good deals when they are at the table ready to sign a deal
Many times, inventors act unprofessionally, not returning calls or emails, being demanding, unreasonable, and sometimes rude
Due to the confusion about scams, sometimes inventors treat legitimate licensing agents as if they were scams, grilling them and being aggressive, which immediately turns off the licensing agent and kills any potential working relationship
b) Legitimate licensing agents must be careful with the time
they spend on projects.
Many inventors don't understand that it takes dedication, time,
and work to license a product. It takes time for licensing agents to
make contacts with companies, getting through to the right individuals,
and going through the whole submission process. Rarely do deals
take place weeks after signing on with the licensing agent.
It's not unusual for this phase to take 6 months to 1 year just to get to the
point where they finally have somebody interested and can even start
the negotiation phase. This phase can take many months of making
cold calls, sending emails and/or letters. Then, when the negotiation
phase is started, a deal may be in the works, but it is not guaranteed
until the agreement is signed by both parties. This can take another
3 to 6 months of going back and forth with the potential licensee.
Many things can, and do, go wrong or even kill a deal in this phase.
If the licensing agents don't get a deal, they don't get paid. So licensing
agents prefer to work with invention projects where the owners are
professional, return their calls, work with them to give them whatever
is needed to make a deal come about, know the process, and
understand what a good deal is, so that the licensing agent isn't
wasting his time, and will be compensated with a percentage of the
inventor's royalties for his hard work.
3. How to spot the scam licensing agents
I admit that it's hard to tell who's legitimate and who's a scam, but
that's only until you learn what the signs are. The scams "look good",
"sound good", "read good", and "talk good". So how can you tell
if any licensing agent companies are scams or legitimate?
a. Are They Hard Or Too Easy To Find?
Legitimate licensing agents are extremely difficult to find, they go
"incognito" in hiding, and don't want to have to deal with a lot of
people with ideas who are inexperienced. Plus, they only sign
"Confidentiality" agreements with someone if they have interest
in working with them, not with everyone who they come in contact
with, or who asks them to sign one.
The scam licensing agents are everywhere, they advertise on TV,
radio, magazines, web sites, etc., and have wide open doors to
anybody with ideas, especially when the inventor is inexperienced,
because they are na´ve and more vulnerable to paying the high fees.
They freely sign "confidentiality" agreements with everyone and
anyone, even when you're not working with them yet.
b. Do They Take Ideas In Any Or All Fields, Or Specialize In
The majority of the time, legitimate licensing agents specialize
in limited fields, for example, they may specialize in the toy industry,
and maybe some related industry like baby products. Usually this
is because they have experience in those areas and they have
established contacts in the field. Sometimes they may work in
fields outside of their experience, because they know the process,
but on a case-by-case basis after carefully reviewing what the
inventor's product is. Though rare, there are a handful who
The scam licensing agents take all products in all fields, no matter
what it is. Got a product that will transport you into another galaxy,
no problem, they take all ideas. Their criteria is, if you got the
money, they will accept your idea.
c. Are They Picky, Or Do They Take Anything?
Legitimate licensing agents are picky and take on a limited amount
of products, because their time is limited and very precious to them.
They can only succeed with licensing products if they devote enough
time to the products that they take on.
The scam licensing agents take on thousands of products each
year, and run them through a generic factory-like process without
any dedicated time to any of them. They send generic mass letters
to outdated lists, just to fulfill the services.
d. Do They Work On Contingency, Or Charge Large Upfront Fees?
Licensing agents work on contingency, taking a percentage of
what the inventor gets only if the product gets licensed.
The scam licensing agents charge $1,000s or $10,000s of dollars
of upfront fees, even charging more fees if the inventor is greedy
and wants to keep a bigger percentage of the royalties (that is,
keeping a bigger percentage of nothing).
4. So in essence, the scam licensing agents...
advertise everywhereThe results are that inventors end up with weak patents, poor
designs, weak reports, etc. and nothing ever happens. Once
inventors have paid their money, they "get no respect" (like
Rodney Dangerfield used to say). Their calls don't get returned, etc.
take anybody's products
charge a lot of upfront fees
offer a lot of services - patents, reports, prototypes, etc.
do the minimal work to stay within the law
But one result that is not usually taken into consideration
when inventors sign up with the scams, is that the scams lock
up their invention for a period of 1 or 2 years. Then after that,
the agreement gives the scams rights to collect royalties if the
inventor gets a licensing deal on his own, usually for a year
or more after the end of the contract.
5. So what does this mean for you?
I know that there are a lot of companies that are advertising their
inventor services on the internet, as well as on TV, radio, magazines,
etc., and that it's very tempting to want to hand over your invention
to one of these companies to license it for you.
But in recap, if you sign on with one of these scam companies,
they'll just take your money and provide the weakest of services,
and nothing will happen with your invention.
Finding a legitimate licensing agent and finding a licensee are similar
processes. But given that there are so few legitimate licensing agents
who are willing to work with inventors, it will most likely be very
difficult to find a licensing agent. So my recommendation is that the
inventor roll up his sleeves and act as his/her own licensing agent
and make the submissions himself to companies that could be
Either way, going solo and learning what a licensing agent does,
especially if you have somebody helping you through the process,
can eventually help you find a legitimate licensing agent, if that's
something you still want to do.
6. Going it Solo, BUT... With My Help and Guidance
My philosophy is that the inventor is the "Magic" person that can
make the invention succeed, that is, if the invention has true value
and worth in the marketplace. How do you know if the invention
has true value and worth? It's through the submission process and
getting feedback from the companies that could and should license
What I do is provide you with a venue to have your product seen, the Invention Connection® Cybershow, and one-on-one coaching, consulting,
advice to inventors, our clients, by phone sessions with email follow
up informaton as they go through the process of inventing. This is
very industry specific to the client's invention, and his or her unique
goals. In addition to this feedback, I also review letters, proposals,
agreements, provide referrals to organizations, resources, etc.
Some people need more help than others. How much help an
inventor gets depends on the particular invention, his business
experience and knowledge of the invention process as well as
what the invention is, and the inventor's personal goals.
Some inventors check in periodically, get advice and recommendations,
then they're off to implement their next step, where other inventors
check in frequently, and have me review letters they're sending out,
proposals, agreements, as they go through the steps.
I always say that inventing isn't rocket science, but there is a
methodology, it is a process that must be learned. One mistake
that I've seen many inventors make, is that after they let go of the
false illusion that a company will take on their product and license
it for them, they then take the complete opposite direction and
go it alone, solo, winging it, shooting from the hip, going through
the process without much knowledge or guidance.
So they often make lots of mistakes like approaching the wrong
companies, improperly making submissions, killing potential deals,
and occasionally end up with a bad deal or blow their chances
right out of the water with the right company(s), that's when
and if they do find them.
So going solo is my recommendation...but going "solo with guidance".
My consulting service in this respect, is unique. You go through
the process at your own pace, and can schedule phone consultations
whenever you're ready to make an appointment with me. You can
have me and my staff review any inquiries, proposals, agreements,
and other documents such as business plans, prospectus. I can
even review and assess your web site if you have one (does not
take away from a cyber-booth), and/or guide you to set one up
inexpensively, for little or no money.
I have many years of extensive experience with both intellectual
property and helping small businesses, so I can give you guidance
in a multitude of areas. I can cover any aspect of a start up business,
entrepreneuring, or developing, inventing and licensing a new product.
Of course, there are never any guarantees that your invention will
make it, even if you go through the submission process yourself,
and have guidance, but I believe that you will definitely increase
your chances of succeeding if your product has true value and worth,
and if you utilize my services as your mentor, coach, someone who
is here to guide and walk you through the process to help minimize
mistakes, going in the wrong direction, running into brick walls,
or going around in circles or spending money needlessly.
7. Are you being "penny-wise and pound-foolish"?
This phrase comes from the British folk whose "pound" is similar
to our "dollar" and they also use the penny in their monetary
system. So, in the U.S., it should be, are you penny-wise and
dollar-foolish? In other words, are you scrimping for pennies
but spending dollars foolishly?
Making mistakes with an invention can include getting a patent
too early, and then having to pay extra fees to the patent attorney
and the patent office for changes or amendments to the patent
later on. It can include getting a prototype done too early with
the same results where you have to pay more money to get an
updated prototype later on, or sometimes even re-do molds and
other expensive equipment. It can include buying services that
inventors don't really need, but that sounded good at the time
they were purchased.
For example, some inventors have paid tens of thousands of
dollars to manufacture thousands of units because a TV shopping
network was going to feature their product. But the inventor
had all the risk, and when the quota wasn't met for sales of the
product, the inventor was stuck with any refunds as well as having
the inventory shipped back from the cable producers. The inventor
was also stuck with the debt, and also stuck with paying for any
warehouse space unless he stored it in his garage.
The product may not have sold because maybe it was rushed into
production before the kinks were worked out, or maybe it wasn't
the kind of invention that sells well on TV. There can be many
reasons why a product doesn't do well on TV. In any case, the
product's failure on TV sometimes prevents it from being sold
in other markets and affects the product's future negatively.
We've seen this happen more than once.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to be "pound foolish"
in paying thousands of extra dollars, even tens of thousands
of dollars, because of mistakes that possibly could have been
corrected, had the inventors had an outside advisor. By having
me as a coach, mentor, sounding board and advisor, I can give
you guidance, but most importantly, any options to help steer
you away from taking the wrong direction.
8. My Philosophy In Working With Inventors Has Three Main Points
a) Spend Little or No Money
My philosophy is that almost all of the services and/or things you'll
need on your inventing path, can be obtained with little or no
money, the key here is "little or no money". Over the years I've
saved my clients thousands in needless expenses. I often say that
you can't buy success or fix any problem by throwing money at
it. So in essence, "little or no money" is the name of the game.
b) Life's Winners Always Have Someone Behind Them, Whether
It's Coaches, Mentors, Trainers, or Consultants
No one who has achieved success, has done it solely on their own
without some help, no matter what industry or field. Even in the
Olympics, where individuals compete for the Gold Medal, the
individuals don't do it alone. The athletes have a team of people
who are hired to coach, train and prepare them to win. In every
individual's success story, there's always someone behind the
scenes that is supportive, a wife or family member, someone
that's giving advice and direction, and success coaches, consultants,
mentors and guides. So why do you think you'll succeed, like
the Lone Ranger (Oops!, He had Tonto, didn't he!) without a
guide, angel, coach or consultant?
c) Increasing The Odds Of Your Success
My goal is to guide and direct you on your path to success i.e.
increasing your odds of success. This is my objective, this is my
goal. It's the same thing that the coaches, trainers and mentors
do for the Olympic athletes. They can't guarantee that the athlete
will win, but they push, motivate, and give him the proper tools
and skills he'll need to be able to aim for the Gold. It's this, plus
training, training, and more training, in the final analysis, that
increases the odds of success and determines whether the athlete
will win one of the prized medals at the Olympics. Remember
that the coach and support team doesn't get the medal, but
they do receive the joy in knowing that they were the inspiration
behind the scenes and knowing that their work really payed off
for the athlete.
In essence, this is what I do - guiding, whether I'm giving clients
tips, suggestions, recommendations. Whether clients are emailing
or calling me with a specific need i.e. they need me to review
contacts, proposals, an agreement, or need help in finding a lawyer,
or need to understand how distribution is done, or have questions
about whether they should manufacture it in China or the U.S.A
if they're going the entrepreneur route.
"It's All About Increasing the Odds of Your Success"
So I'm constantly asking myself every single day, how can I better
serve or assist my clients, helping them become better inventors.
Wouldn't you want someone on your team who has your best
interests at heart, who has no conflict of interest, and specializes
in guiding, coaching, and mentoring you, the inventor, to achieve
success, that is, if it's in the cards that he/she hits a home run
i.e. increasing the odds of your success?
Now that I've tooted my horn, there are:
9. Two Ways To Get Me On Your Team
1) CyberExhibiting with One-on-One Consulting:
The InventionConvention.com is a venue for showcasing your
invention so that interested parties, even "incognito" legitimate
licensing agents, can find your licensing opportunity. It's an online
advertisement which comes with several hours of one-on-one
consulting. You just send us information, and we'll write and
develop your cyber-booth for you. The basic package is $845
and includes 1 year of cyber-exhibiting along with 2 hours of
phone consultations, and 2 years of unlimited Quick Questions
(questions that can be answered in under 10 minutes by email
or phone.) If you're interested, here is the link with more
Invention Connection® Cybershow Exhibiting
2) One-on-One Consulting - By the Hour, or Packages of
Hours with Reduced Rates:
I can consult with you on an hourly basis. My consulting rates
for larger companies that are making a profit are $175 or $350
per hour. But for the independent inventor or entrepreneur,
the price drops to $99 per hour, or lower with a package of hours.
More detailed info is below and also at:
Frequently Asked Questions About My Consulting Services
About My Consulting Services
My final questions to you, is, are you being penny wise and
If you're committed and have a product that you feel has a
true market, I would enjoy working with you, with the criteria
that you're willing to do whatever it takes in order to succeed
and win at the game of inventing.