How to Make Money Licensing Your Invention Idea
Inventions often come out of regular people who find simple solutions to
simple problems. Take Band-Aid® Bandages. The bandage was invented by a
Johnson & Johnson employee by the name of Earl Dickson. When Earl’s
accident prone wife cut herself, he set out to develop a bandage that
she could apply without help. So he stuck a small piece of gauze in the
center of a small piece of surgical tape, and voila – what we now know
today as the Band-Aid® was born!
I recently joined a local inventor’s group called the Innovators’
Resource Network out of nearby Springfield, Massachusetts. I don’t think
of myself as an inventor, but some of my clients are pretty creative, so
I thought I’d sit in and see what I could pick up on how to bring a
product idea to market. Boy, am I glad I did!
Barbara Winter talks about the need for people seeking to discover their
calling to identify their natural habitat. That’s the place you feel
most at home and alive. Barbara’s natural habitat is the classroom.
That night I found my natural habitat. It’s any place where
entrepreneurs converge. There must have been 60 people there and the
energy in that room was incredible! For one thing, you have to be a “Yes
You Can” kind of person to bring an idea to market and that night, the
room was teaming with them. For another, everyone was eager to offer
advice and encouragement to help their fellow entrepreneur succeed.
The group was the brainchild of product scouts Dave Cormier and Karyl
Lynch. What Dave and Karyl do is help manufacturing companies find
innovative products to bring to market. They do this by matching their
clients with independent inventors who hope the company will license
their product. What I found equally interesting is that not too long ago
Karyl and Dave had very different jobs – and lives. But I’ll get to that
in a moment.
First, here are some resources on how to bring a product to market that
can help launch you on the road to riches… and freedom.
1. “How to License Your Million Dollar Idea: Everything You Need to Know
to Turn a Simple Idea Into a Million Dollar Payday”
Harvey Reese, a successful new product developer, consultant, and
licensing agent, outlines his system for creating commercially
profitable ideas and his secrets for turning them into lucrative
licensing agreements. The book covers:
~ nuts-and-bolts information on the licensing process
~ recent changes in patent law and how the Internet has impacted
~ step-by-step process for formulating an idea that manufacturers are
willing to pay for, researching its authenticity, obtaining patents,
finding prospects, negotiating the deal, and beyond
~ examples of successful, well-known licensing ventures
~ appendix of sample patent forms, licensing agreements, disclosure
statements, publications, contact information, and more
For your convenience you can find this book in the
Changing Course Bookstore
2. The U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office offers useful information for first time visitors
including resources for inventors and how to do a patent search.
3. The United Inventors
Lots of resources including articles, steps for new
inventors, how to find an inventors group in your area, a program to
assess the feasibility of your invention, how to avoid being taken in by
inventor assistance schemes, and much more.
4. Finding A Distributor To Market Your Product
One place to find a
distributor to market your product is by attending trade shows related
to your industry. The companies at the booths are trying to sell to the
same market you are and may be interested in adding your invention to
their line. To find tradeshows go to
5. Inventors’ Conferences
These conferences and expos are a good place for inventors to show off
their products to companies seeking products to license. A few upcoming
INPEX attracts a lot of
foreign investors and potential licensors
Congress offers lots of
educational programs for inventors but according to
Entrepreneur magazine, the number of potential licensors is not
This magazine’s website lists other tradeshows and workshops, FAQs,
success stories and much more. The magazine is great for anyone serious
about earning money from their product ideas.
Two Invention Experts Who “Re-Invented” Their Lives
As I was saying, Karyl and Dave’s personal changing course story is as
interesting to me as the products they’ve helped bring to market. Not
too long ago, she was a college administrator and he developed software.
Over the course of six years the two essentially re-invented themselves
as product scouts.
Since then they’ve served as judges for two recent national new product
hunts: CBS’s “Not So Crazy Ideas” and “The Hunt for the Best New
Consumer Products,” sponsored by the United Inventors Association,
Inventors’ Digest magazine, and Proctor and Gamble.
Smart self-bossers are always on the look out for ways to turn knowledge
into income. And that’s exactly what Karyl did by parlaying her and
Dave’s experience starting the Innovators’
Resource Network into a book called “How to Start an Inventors’
Group” published by the United Inventors Association.
Karyn and Dave are also what Mark Henrick’s calls “Lifestyle
Entrepreneurs”… meaning they decided what kind of life they wanted first
and then chose a business that would allow them to have that life. It’s
what I call the Life First-Work Second approach to career change. In
Karyl and Dave’s case, creating the ideal life meant starting a business
that would allow them the flexibility to spend winters in the sunny
The first step to bringing a product idea to market is to get informed.
If your idea doesn’t get picked up right away, don’t get discouraged.
Executives at Parker Brothers turned down the game of Monopoly because
they said it had “52 fundamental errors,” one of which was that it took
too long to play. A copy of the game somehow wound up in the home of the
president of Parker Brothers and he stayed up until 1 a.m. to finish
playing it. He liked the game so much that he wrote to inventor Charles
Darrow the next day and offered to buy it!
Learn how you can Fast Track Your Dream of working at
what you love on your own terms.
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About the Author
"Profiting From Your Passions®" expert Valerie Young abandoned her corporate cubicle to become the Dreamer in Residence at ChangingCourse.com offering resources to help you discover your life mission and live it. Her career change tips have been cited in Kiplinger's, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today Weekend, Woman's Day, and elsewhere and on-line at MSN, CareerBuilder, and iVillage.com. An expert on the Impostor Syndrome, Valerie has spoken on the topic of How to Feel as Bright and Capable as Everyone Seems to Think You Are to such diverse organizations as Daimler Chrysler, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Harvard, and American Women in Radio and Television.
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