believe that this is the #1 issue with most new inventions
- closing in on 7 million patents; it's a very crowded field.
Nevertheless, for an inventor that's part of the game.
feeling is that if you have something that you KNOW has value,
and you've done a thorough patent search and have a good understanding
of the prior art, you should be able to justify the expense
of a patent application. Then you can approach your potential
manufacturers from a position of confidence. All this dancing
around with non-disclosure agreements, trying to decide whether
your idea is worth anything or not, seems to be putting the
cart before the horse.
It might take a little patient educating on your part, but
if you have something useful, someone will eventually recognize
the fact and be anxious to work with you. Select and research
the companies you'd like to work with, then carefully court
them. Be persistent without being a nuisance. Just remember
it's a lot of work for a company to add a new product to their
line. You have to appreciate how big a decision it is for
them to work with you - but they will!
also runs a bona fide invention promotion company, as opposed
to all the bogus invention submission companies out there.
Remember they're like stockbrokers - they get paid regardless
of results, which are usually negligible. Docie's background,
interest and reputation ensure an honest and knowledgeable
effort, and preclude any of the funny business that is inherent
in the other outfits. The essential idea of an invention promotion
company is quite valid, which unfortunately gives the bogus
outfits their impetus.
you have developed your invention to the stage where it is
"proven to be functional and is sound from an engineering
standpoint", how do you license a company to manufacture
and market it? This book may provide you with the information
needed for you to license your invention.
The author points out that while every case is unique, generally
speaking, licensing an invention is an easier route to go
than outright sale or attempting to manufacture your product
explains how your "know how" may be an important
ingredient in your licensing deal. In fact, you may make more
money from consulting fees than from the patent itself.
Docie stresses the importance of using common sense and that
communicating effectively is vital to your success. He points
out there is a vast amount of information out there that can
be had -- and often at very low cost.
is placed on the value of locating the key people in the industry
that would use your invention and of finding "champions"
within the companies who will support your efforts to license
your invention. Each industry has its own system of distribution.
You can and must determine how your invention fits into the
scheme of distribution. Understanding how distributors, buyers
and manufacturer agents function in your invention's industry
is critical to your progress. Also, understanding how the
needs of catalog or mail-order markets differ from retail
channels can be a key bit of knowledge.
trade shows can yield important information as to who the
key decision makers are at various companies. Docie gives
tips as to how attending these trade shows can be done on
a surprisingly low budget.
Once your have determined possible licensees, which are the
ones to contact? He gives an 8-point check list for selecting
potential licensees and a list of 7 cautions to guide you
in your first conversations with the key decision makers.
This is followed by a list of 26 questions regarding market
information (such as how a company has worked with outside
inventors), what their manufacturing capabilities are and
company background questions. He cautions you must clearly
explain your invention but at the same time not give away
any trade secrets or confidential information.
subject of confidentiality agreements is discussed from various
standpoints including the author's view after over 20 years'
of experience. A disclosure agreement form that has served
him well is reproduced.
The book suggests ways to realistically calculate manufacturing
costs and why "approaching the engineering department
may be the kiss of death". The pros and cons of the new
patent office system of provisional patent applications are
given. An example of an actual submission letter used by Docie
Marketing is reproduced. A sample of a non-exclusive license
contract is also reproduced. Various licensing strategies,
factors and how to negotiate licensing agreements are discussed.
These include how to maintain licensees' quality standards
and how to monitor their sales.
His chapter 7, Industry Survey of Invention Evaluation and
Marketing Firms, is a must read for every inventor. The author
does not pull any punches. He includes in the "rip-off"
category some patent attorneys who fail to point out to their
clients that their patent claims may be so weak as to make
their patent commercially worthless. He lists 13 factors inventors
should consider in selecting an evaluation service firm.
Three case histories give, in detail, examples of the chills,
fevers and glories that can take place when you go down the
road negotiating a license to your invention. For example,
how should you deal with the shock of a patent office rejection
of your application for a patent? How would you deal with
18 companies copying your item? The author found himself in
exactly that situation and came up with a solution. How do
you decide when or if your patience and persistence are stretched
to the point of violating common sense?
author suggests many inventors could learn a lot from television
detective Columbo -- ask a lot of questions, listen and say
no more than necessary.
last chapter has 11 pages of up-to-date resources available
this book, or any book, will not make you a licensing expert,
but it will alert you to many of the landmines out there.
The book is down-to-earth and is based on the author's practical
hands-on experience in the real world. The pretentious vocabulary
some writers seem prone to is avoided.
the definitive book on product licensing for the independent
I've been looking for a book like this since we started this
network almost ten years ago. The best I'd found previously
was Tom Mosley's Marketing Your Invention. That's a good book
-- it does a good job of arguing the case for licensing and
in presenting the mechanics of marketing intellectual property.
But it doesn't do a good job of conveying the "art"
of making a deal -- which is the very essence of selling anything,
and especially intellectual property.
I was looking for was something more analogous to David Pressman's
Patent It Yourself. Pressman does such a great job of conveying
the "art" of invention patenting that, by the time
you finish the book, you thoroughly understand what a patent
attorney does -- and although you may now know "how"
to do what the patent attorney does, you also understand why
he can do it so much better than you. And that's what Docie's
book does in conveying the "art" of invention marketing.
He shows you step by step -- with examples -- how to find
and put together invention-licensing deals. If you follow
the steps that he lays out -- and do them all well -- if there's
any chance of your invention licensing, you'll find it and
do the deal. And if there's no chance of its licensing, you'll
also find that out -- quickly and efficiently.
the trick of course is "doing all [the steps] well".
That's the "art" of invention marketing -- and that's
what Docie conveys so well in this book. If you seriously
study his book, you will absolutely know "how" to
go about marketing your (or anybody else's) invention. But...
just because you know "how" to do it doesn't mean
you "can" do it. Competent invention marketing requires
a good deal of business knowledge and common sense, a degree
of extroversion, chutzpah and initiative and, perhaps most
important, the ability to listen and react productively. These
-- and especially the last -- are not particularly strong
attributes of the average independent inventor.
Pressman, Docie figures that once you understand how a professional
(like him) goes about marketing an invention, you'll likewise
understand why he can do it so much better than you.
why buy a book whose goal is to convince you to hire a professional?
For the same reason you bought Pressman -- to understand the
methods and skills professionals bring to the problem. Given
that understanding, if you decide to try to do the work yourself,
you'll at least know what you're up against. And if you decide
to hire a professional, you'll at least know how to communicate
with him and what to expect from him.
Should you hire a professional to market your invention? If
you want to give your invention its best shot -- absolutely!
A competent professional will give your invention its best
chance. The problem comes in judging whether the person you're
hiring really is "competent". This book gives you
a fighting chance at making a rational judgment. If they're
following the procedures Docie outlines -- and aren't taking
forever doing so -- you can be pretty sure they know "how"
to do it. (There's still a question whether they "can"
do it. But that's a problem you face when you hire any professional
-- there's little to go on other than their past "success"
record.) If you go this way, make sure you divide the work
up into small manageable chunks -- each with a clear goal
-- costing no more than you're willing to swallow if the goal
A couple of years ago, I did an article, The Provisional Application,
which outlined a low-cost approach to invention marketing
that most inventors can do on their own. Your odds (of successfully
licensing) using that strategy are definitely lower than if
you use a competent marketing professional. It basically comes
down to the old saw, "Nothing sells itself".
But like all rules, there are exceptions in the extremes.
If you come up with a business-to-business product that really
solves a long-standing problem in a particular industry --
or saves the producers in that industry significant costs
-- your "selling" doesn't have to be much more than
simply "presenting" the product. You have an educated
profit-motivated customer set who are actively looking for
what you have to sell -- and if it's "real", will
literally sell themselves. Likewise with licensing intellectual
property. If you have the exceptional product or process,
your customer set (the prospective licensees you approach)
will recognize it and try to deal for it. In fact, they're
likely to more readily recognize it as "exceptional"
-- simply because they're more familiar with their industry
and their market than the typical inventor. In any event,
simply "presenting" it to them. as proposed in the
Provisional Application article, provides the independent
inventor with much better odds than either not trying at all
or spending a bunch of patent money and then waiting for someone
to contact them simply because the patent issued.
So... if you want to maximize your odds of licensing -- and
you have the money -- and you take great care (and accept
the risk) that that money buys you the "competence"
you need -- then go with the invention marketing professional.
-- please -- if you plan to go this route, bring him in early
-- earlier in fact than a patent attorney. With a few phone
calls, he can save you the cost of the 95 of 100 patents that
would never license anyway -- even if you had them. And the
competent invention marketer -- stress "competent"
-- frequently doesn't need a patent to make a deal. He'll
recommend a patent only if it's necessary to make a deal or
it's likely to make possible a much better deal.
Whichever direction you decide to go, you really oughta get
and study Docie's book.