Saturday, December 12, 2009

I want to sell my idea for $ 1 million, I just don’t know how to go about it?

You often hear someone bragged that they have this fantastic idea and they want to sell it for one million bucks! Or perhaps even you yourself have thought of it before. And why not, who would not want to be rich, right. But boasting it is of no use. First of all, having an idea that can be sold is not an easy thing. For one thing, it has to be documented, and preferably even filed as a patent. For another thing, disclosing it could give away the idea and kissing it goodbye. But in actuality, many ideas have been stolen from their rightful owner just because the owner did not know how to go about it. There is a proper and safe way to thread, but most people don’t know about it. It is like when you need to pass motion, then only you go and search for the loo! Or worse, just brag about it and tell the idea to all and sundry, and hope that someone will guide them to that pot of gold. Let us assume that you have indeed a good idea, an idea that can be commercially exploited for monetary gains. So how does one go about it?

There is this thing called intellectual property and there are proper procedures to get that idea of yours properly documented with the patent office. You can get your ideas written out as a document and filed as a patent or if it is a logo or a brand, you can get it registered as a trademark. If you have a book written, or a music score, you can get it properly copyrighted. Works of the mind are automatically deemed copyrighted once it is published, but you should have a proper record of it so that somebody else can’t steal your property. However, going the way of filing for your intellectual property is a long and costly process. Most people would feel uncomfortable to go this way, and if there is an easier way, they would certainly want to hear about it. There is of course an easier way, but if could reduce the value of that asset. Just what is the alternative to filing patents then?

One of the more practical ways is to sell that idea of yours to a company, assuming that you already got a patent grant on it. Here, you can sell the idea outright, or license the idea to a third party for manufacture and sale. Of course you will have to do some research first to identify who would likely need your idea. It all sounds easy right? Unfortunately, it is not, and it is more like looking for the needle in a haystack! For one thing, companies normally will not entertain unsolicited ideas. Just imagine, there are so many departments in a company, so which department door to knock at? There is normally no such a department as ‘ideas department’! If you go to the sales department, you will be disappointed because the sales people will not help you out. They will not want more products to sell! And if you go to the technical department and tell them your idea, they would have too big an ego to accept your outside idea, or worse off, they might just steal your idea and tell their boss that ‘they’ have come out with the idea! So, selling your idea to another company is an uphill task. If your idea is not properly documented, or waiting for grant of patent, the task of selling it off is even more difficult. Well, what then?

Luckily, there is another alternative. You can sell your idea, whether patented or not, through a patent broker or an intellectual property brokerage firm. These companies specialize in seeking buyers for your ideas. They act like middle man, and some of them have become so specialized that if you only give them a raw idea, they can use their professional expertise to size up the idea and sugar coat it so that it appeals to a buyer. They also act professionally to get the best price for you. However, not all brokers can offer you these kinds of services. They have to be technically competent, as well as idea creators themselves, and inventors of some kind. It is often the case that whatever the idea that you are touting; there is always an element of incompleteness somewhere. In order to sell an idea, you would need to know who your competitors out there are. To do a proper job, these professional brokers will need to do a proper research in terms of technicality, and prices. And who else have such qualifications? Yes, it is the patent agents! They know the implication of the ideas as they have been drafting patents all along. They also know who the competitors are out there because they have to research other people’s patents when they do patent drafting. However it is only recently that such professionals have come to the fore and hopefully, they will bring about a renaissance to the field of patent brokering. And if you are wondering whether that half-an-idea of yours can be sold, the answer is ‘YES’. How about half a million? It is better than just dreaming!

Sources: I. Videos Gone Viral, II. The Car Junky, III. The Tech Fanatic


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