Licensing agents will save you time, money and resources.

agent

If you’re an intellectual property owner who is not familiar with the licensing process or you don’t want to manage your own licensing program, then you should use a licensing agent. Although an agent adds to the cost of a licensing program, they bring experience, know-how and resources.

An agent provides critical licensing services including identifying new business opportunities, conducting due diligence on potential licensees, ensuring compliance with contract terms, facilitating the transfer of IP assets, monitoring quality control, and collecting royalty payments due.

Licensing agents also offer consulting services to help you develop and position your intellectual property so it’s attractive to potential licensees. I often work with clients to identify their IP assets and assist them in making sure their rights are secure. Then I create a licensing strategy that details the money making opportunities for those IP assets.

Most licensing agents will want to be exclusive, meaning they are the only agent that can represent your IP. Commissions for licensing agents generally average between 30% to 40% of gross licensing revenue, and may run as high as 50%. Agents require the IP owner to pay certain expenses such as trade show costs, costs of creating promotional packages and display and solicitation materials, travel costs and legal fees.

A minimum initial term of two or three years is typical, since it often takes that long to develop a property, find licensees and begin to receive royalties. In addition, an agent will want a option to renew the agreement for one or more additional terms. Typical renewal options include automatic renewal, at agents option, or performance based on the agent achieving a certain amount of royalty income.

If the agent agreement term ends (and is not renewed) or terminates early, the IP owner will still have to pay commissions to the agent. Typically this includes all licensing deals completed and in “active negotiation” that close within a certain time, such as six months after the termination. Renewals and extensions are often paid at a reduced commission rate, and can include a sliding scale (e.g., 40% for the first year after termination, 30% for the second year, and 20% for the remaining years).

Licensing agents(and most licensees) rarely get involved with raw idea concepts that are un-researched, unprotected, and untested. An intellectual property still in the idea stage is the wrong time to seek out a licensing agent. These idea concepts have little or no value. The right time to approach the licensing agent is with a ready-to-go IP, that is tested and has the necessary research to back up its true value.

If you are new to licensing, or don’t have the expertise or industry relationships, a licensing agent will save you time, money and resources. Their expertise and knowledge of the licensing business can help you identify, manage and successfully monetize the full value of your IP assets.

 

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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.

2 Replies to “How to Work with Licensing Agents”

    1. You’ve got a good product and a lot of ways you could license it. It depends on who is the best market for the product. Ideally if you’ve got sales data and customer feedback, you can use that to help identify potential licensing partners. If you have the budget, you can retain a licensing agent such as myself. If you’re interested in more do-it-yourself information on licensing, visit my other website, http://www.licensing4profits.com.

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