Finding a licensing partner takes time. But there are resources that make it a more efficient process. The trick is knowing where to look.

Most often it’s through word-of-mouth networking and research. Other resources include law firms, university IP offices, and investment forums. In addition, the Internet with its vast resources and powerful search engines is also making it easier to find potential partners all over the world.

The first step is to identify and qualify them. This includes determining if your IP fits their product line, is right for their customers, and they have the capabilities to commercialize your intellectual property.

Here’s a list of the 5 top resources for finding a licensing partner:

  1. The Internet is a great starting point for quick research. Start with general search terms, such as toys or medical devices, to find companies and their websites. You can dig down from there and start to qualify them.
  2. On-line Directories, such as Hoovers and Thompson offer databases with detailed information about a company, including operations, products, locations etc. Some of these are free and some paid. You can visit a local library and get access to most of these databases for free.
  3. Trade Shows are one of the best and fastest ways to meet and make contact with potential partners. It’s a great opportunity to see their products and talk to their sales reps. There are trade shows for just about any type of product, service or technology. Most of the trade shows provide websites, where you can find out what companies are exhibiting and learn more about the industry.
  4. Third Party Consultants and Agents can manage the whole process for a fee and or percentage. The biggest benefit to using one of these professionals is their expertise and contact database of potential licensing partners. Often times, they can speed up the licensing process because they will know which companies will be best suited for (and interested in) your IP. Before engaging a consultant or agent, do thorough due diligence on these companies and understand what they will do and how the get compensated.
  5. Networking is one of the best tools for learning about and making the right contacts. You’ll find networking opportunities at local business events, industry conferences and trade shows. Meeting in person gives you an opportunity to learn about the company and their interest in licensing your IP.

Finding a licensing partner can be challenging. The key is to use a variety of these resources to identify and qualify potential partners. Keep in mind you don’t have to restrict your search to your own back yard. Some of your best licensing opportunities could be in other countries around the world.

Mr. Brenner has over 30 years IP management and licensing experience with various industries including consumer products, food, entertainment, software,health technology, medical devices and digital media. He has led international licensing programs as both licensee and licensor, and through consulting projects focused on strategy and management, outbound / inbound licensing initiatives, and IP audits and due diligence.. He has developed and managed deals with Fortune 1000 companies including Universal Studios, Fox Interactive, Sony Pictures, Dow, Cargill, SmithKline Glaxo, Ranir, Coca Cola, Kellogg’s, Hasbro, Mattel, and others. He is a public speaker and published writer, and has taught classes at the university level. His speaking events have included UC Irvine, Tritech/SBDC, Irvine Chamber, Fast Start Studios, ICFO Investors Conference, San Diego Investment Conference, Westlaw Legal Center (NYC), National Speakers Association, and the Hong Kong FilmArt Expo. He has written several articles on licensing intellectual property which have appeared in the Licensing Journal, Intellectual Property Magazine, and License India.

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