Patent Selling Strategies For Business

Just by owning a patent the inventor cannot generate dough. After turning your idea into a commercial product, there are certain things that you should do to make money from it. A patent, as is, will not do that for you. 

Here’s the hard truth. There are thousands of inventions that get patented every year. Do all of them make money? No. In fact, only a few of them generate profits. 

In this article, we are going to learn about a few patent selling strategies for businesses. 

 

  • Offer non-core patents to others:

Businesses that have a huge patent portfolio can sell off some of their patents to other companies. The only caveat is that the ones it plans to sell should not be key to its business. One of the main reasons why companies often do this is because they have to pay maintenance fees on patents over their 20-year lifespan. Companies that have thousands of patents might find it a wise idea to sell off those that aren’t making them money or if it doesn’t align with their goals. 

In one of its sales pitches to startups, IBM offered a variety of data analytics patents at $37,000 per patent. The technology giant holds more than 38,541 patents, and tops the list for companies that have the most number of patents in the US. 

 

  • Remove low-quality patents:

By removing low-quality patents, you will not only increase the value of your patent portfolio, you will also weed out patents that do not bring any value. How do you go about doing this? Companies should analyse their entire patent portfolio. Find out which are the patents that are of low-quality. Once you take a note of all the low-quality ones, decide which ones can be sold off without affecting your bottom line. 

If the company can find a chunk of low-quality patents, then it is better to sell it off as you are only going to spend on its maintenance fee. It is even worse if the patent doesn’t even give your business any form of protection from competitors. 

There are high chances that some patents which are related to old technologies have now become useless to the organization. They can be sold to startups that are still working in the same domain and might be able to find some uses with it. 

 

  • Outright patent sale:

When you sell a patent, you will get immediate payoff. But the question is at which stage is the patent being sold off. If the inventor has not built a commercially viable product yet, the sale might not fetch a lot of money. By selling it when there is no product yet, the inventor claims to give up the rights from future profits.

On the other hand, if the product has been in the market for a long time and is also popular amongst its customers, then it can be sold off at a substantial price. Deciding on when to sell the patent is the discretion of the inventor or the organization, based on the future goals and necessity for money. 

 

  • Licensing the rights:

Offering another entity the rights to make, use or sell your product is called licensing. It is one of the most profitable routes for most inventors or organizations that hold patents. The inventor not only retains the ownership of the patent, but also earns payments on each sale of the product made by the licensee. 

The best part about licensing the rights is that you can grant it to more than one company. If you sell the licensing rights to a big company, it will also increase the perceived value of your patent. The only downside to licensing is that there are no guarantees of financial riches. Your royalty checks will stop if the sales stop. You will get anywhere between 5 and 25 percent in terms of royalties from the sale of each product. 

Another headache with licensing is that you might have to face legal headaches. Ensure that you do due diligence before signing on someone as a licensee for your invention. 

 

  • Publicize your patent:

The good old method of using traditional marketing techniques still holds value in the patent industry. You can spread the word in trade publications and investors’ magazines to grab the attention of potential buyers. Patent offices will have a section which allows inventors to advertise their products for a fee. 

 

  • Patent marketplaces:

There are many marketplaces where you can sell off your patents by advertising on these platforms. While some of them are free, many of them do charge a fee. Marketplaces are online platforms where one can buy and sell patents. 

  • IP Marketplace, Inventorhaus Inc, PCTXS.com are some free platforms. 
  • IAM Market, Yet2.com, IPNexus.com, and IdeaConnection are some of the paid platforms. 

 

  • Find brokers:

In this field, you will find brokers who will spread the word about your invention to those who might be potentially interested. In lieu of this service, the broker gets paid in the form of royalties or a percentage of the sale. Before you hire the services of these brokers, ensure that they are reputed businesses. 

 

  • Sell patents that are in the right niche:

If you have a patent that is in a niche which is considered popular, it is the right time to sell it. When you hold a patent in an area where there is a lot of innovation happening or are making the right noises, you will find a lot of buyers as well. Hire the services of an IP firm like ResearchWire that will tell you the right value for your patent. 

For example, computer systems that were based on biological models were the fastest growing technology patent category in 2021, it rose by at least 67%, according to TechRepublic.

 

How to share the value of your invention to potential buyers? 

Communicating the value of  your invention to interested parties is a pivotal part of the selling process. You need to have the right mix of communication, negotiation, sales and marketing skills. Here are a few things you can do to share the kind of value that the buyer will get by buying your patent.

  • Represent the patent in a short, easy-to-understand manner that clearly helps the buyer understand the value of the invention
  • Use visual, audio and video modules to explain the invention

While not everyone will have these skills, you can hire IP firms that know the right strategies that you can use to share how your invention can affect their business positively. 

 

Conclusion:

The patent selling strategies that we have mentioned in this article can be the game-changer for your business. Your selling strategy should be based on your business objectives, and not because something is in vogue. By having a solid patent strategy, viable product, and the right kind of business advice, you can get good returns from your invention. 

If you are looking for end-to-end intellectual property services, ResearchWire is an IP firm that can provide you the best results. Our team of highly experienced IP experts and technologists allows us to gain a superior understanding of your industry with little effort. ResearchWire’s patent monetization services help inventors and businesses to get the right deal for their invention. 

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Patent Buying Strategies for Businesses

The Intellectual Property strategy that you have in place should have your best commercial interests in mind. It would be unwise to add patents to your portfolio just to add it to your repertoire. Most companies want to know where to invest using their R&D budgets. Many of them are on tenterhooks about buying patents because they wonder if it will become a burden in the future. 

In this article, we are going to learn patent buying strategies that businesses can use to get ahead in their industry. 

 

Patent buying strategies:

  • Patent Pool:

Think of patent pools as a partnership of at least two companies who have agreed to cross-license patents. The pooled patents are made available to the licensees and the licensing fees are shared among the parties based on each patent’s value. 

Many industries will cease to function without patent pools since the risk involved would be too high and reduces the need to negotiate with other patent holders. For example, the automobile industry shares patents to standardize components. 

 

  • Target companies that have filed bankruptcy:

The difficult business circumstances caused by Covid-19 has made multiple organizations file for bankruptcy. This presents a hotbed of opportunities for those who want to purchase assets at reduced costs, including intellectual property. You can get a heavy discount for patents, especially with companies that have filed bankruptcy. 

In the communications field, the bankrupt Nortel Networks sold their portion of patents to Sony, Microsoft, Apple and Research in Motion for $4.5 billion. Google was also fiercely fighting to get a piece of Nortel’s patent tranche. If Google had won the bid, they would have been able to protect Android from various patent infringement claims. 

 

  • Look for inventors:

There are many inventors who work alone or with a small team, and are not part of a business entity. These inventors are looking for someone to purchase or at least license their patents. It is also a chance for businesses to get patents at a reasonable price since the inventors know that their invention has a sell-by date. Businesses should always be on the lookout for investors who keep filing patents in their niche. 

 

  • Check out universities:

Universities spend a significant amount of money on their research and are always on the lookout for either buyers or funders. More often than not, universities are ignored when businesses are on the lookout to buy patents. The patent filing rate in universities has increased of late, and they are also aggressively looking out to license their inventions. If you are looking to acquire patents from a particular niche, we would advise you to contact the universities and take a look at the research that is being done. 

 

  • Defensive Patent Aggregation (DPA):

Purchasing patents or patent rights just to keep them off the hands of companies that would use them against operating companies is called defensive patent aggregation. Companies have to often defend themselves against claims of patent infringement, and sometimes, they must purchase patents in technologies which they use or develop. 

The opposite of DPA is called Offensive Patent Aggregation (OPA). In this, the patents are purchased in order to assert them against companies which would use the inventions protected by these patents and to provide licenses to get licensing fees or royalties. 

 

  • Patentleft:

It is the practice of licensing patents where they could use them royalty-free. The only condition is that the adopters create improvements under the same terms. Also called a copyleft-style patent license, it seeks “continuous growth of a universally accessible technology commons” from which everyone will benefit. 

The idea of such an open patent ecosystem is practiced by a group of research-oriented companies. It is worth noting that most of the businesses that follow this strategy are usually biological patents. 

 

  • Stick Licensing:

Licensing a patent or any form of intellectual property where the patent owner threatens litigation for patent infringement if the company does not take a license from them. The opposite of this is called carrot licensing where there is a friendly approach to adopt their invention to take a license. An example of carrot licensing would be universities that approach businesses to license or buy their patents. 

 

  • Assortment of patents:

The reason behind diversification is to reduce your risks to market conditions. The same goes for your patents as well, but it is not only to minimize the risks, but also to expand your research. 

Seattle-based retail giant Amazon is an example of a conglomerate that has a diversified patent portfolio. In 2010, they had less than 1,000 active patents, but by 2019, they had more than 10,000 of them. Their patent portfolio encompasses a wide array of technologies- cloud computing, machine learning, drones, retail, robotics- you name it. The reason why Amazon is aggressively diversifying its portfolio is because it gives them the leverage to enter any field that they want to. 

 

  • Fire Sale:

In April 2016, Yahoo transferred more than 3,000 of its current and pending patents to a new subsidiary called Excalibur. It was created exclusively to auction these patents. While the executives at Yahoo vehemently denied that it was a fire sale, nothing could be farther from the truth. 

What is a fire sale? It is the sale of goods at extremely discounted prices. Another example of a patent fire sale was Kodak selling off its patents for $527 million. It was estimated that their entire patent portfolio was valued anywhere between $2 and $3 billion. Google, Amazon, HTC, Facebook, Huawei, Apple and Samsung were able to buy it at such a discounted price because Kodak was forced to sell them to avoid bankruptcy. While you would not come across a fire sale often, you might get lucky if you closely monitor the conversations in your industry. 

 

Conclusion:

Patents can do a world of good for your business if you have the right patent strategy in place. The patent buying strategy that you employ should be in accordance with your company’s unique goals. Having patents can have a huge impact on how your potential customers and partners view you. 

If you are looking for help with any patent portfolio analysis or any other end-to-end intellectual property services, ResearchWire is the right partner for you. We are one of the world’s leading technology and intellectual property companies and offer assistance during each stage of the patent lifecycle. Get in touch with us to get an idea of how we can transform your IP strategy. 

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