Licensing mobile apps is big business. Some mobile apps have become big brands, generating revenues from licensed merchandise. A prime example is Angry Birds, which has over 200 licensing partners.


If you go the licensing route, make sure you have your IP protected. One option is to apply for a provisional patent. Before presenting your app, get a signed NDA.

When deciding how to license your mobile app, you have a number of options. A geographic mobile app license is a good strategy to expand into other countries. You can license to companies in each market or on a broader basis to one company for several markets.

A second strategy is to license your app to brand marketers or other developers to offset the development and marketing costs. Companies are often looking for a quality app to re-use or re-brand under their own brand. I have a client who used a variation of this “white label” license strategy to launch their new app into the automotive aftermarket industry.

When you’re ready to negotiate a deal, keep these important points in mind. Make sure you are clear on exactly what rights the licensee will get. Do some due diligence on the licensee to make sure you can work with them. Before signing any licensing agreement, consult with an IP attorney. They will make sure your agreement is structured to prevent any future problems between you and your licensing partner.

Depending on your app, you could generate more revenue licensing than from app store sales. Licensing lets you control everything from usage terms (e.g., feature-based, time-limited) to operational aspects (e.g., activation and back-end integration). You can use licensing to launch your app or expand into new marketplaces by partnering with other marketers or developers who can take your app to the next level.

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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