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Selling Your Idea, Part One

Many inventors are not looking to launch a business to bring their idea to the market, but rather, are looking to sell their idea. In these videos, Rich explains the best strategies for doing this.

Secure your rights and then shop for buyers

The first thing to know about selling an idea is that you can’t sell an idea. What you can sell are your rights in the idea. But in order to have those rights, you first have to establish them.

One of the things you’ve probably heard before is: don’t go to a company first. And one of the reasons for this is obvious. You won’t be safe when you’re showing your idea to the company. If you show it to them, and then they go ahead with that idea without you, there isn’t much you can do about it.

But the other reason is not so obvious. And that is: if you show your idea to a company, and you don’t yet own the idea, you don’t really have anything to offer them. You see, they want to know what you own that they might be interested in purchasing. If you don’t own the idea, there’s not much more to talk about because the only thing they could conceivably buy from you are your intellectual property (IP) rights.

So before going to a company, you need to establish your rights. And the way that you establish your rights in an idea is by securing a patent or a trademark or a copyright. If you’ve reviewed the series for individual inventors on this website, then you already know what’s appropriate for protecting your type of idea.

Once you acquire the rights to the idea, then it’s a matter of finding someone who’s interested in that technology. Locating the ideal party isn’t always easy. But there are two things to keep in mind. The person that would be interested in buying your rights is a person who:

1) Is in the right industry to appreciate the value of the idea that you’ve created—the value of the solution provided by your idea or invention. They’ve seen other products in this industry and they know that yours is a superior solution, and that it overcomes many of the problems that other people have faced in the past, be they consumers or manufacturers.

2) Already has the manufacturing capabilities to produce your invention. They also have the distribution channels and other resources that would be necessary to move your idea forward. Taking your idea to a person who’s in the right industry is critical.

Selling your idea is a matter of owning the rights to the idea, and then finding a person who’s in the right industry to be able to value what you’ve created and help you make it happen.

Of course, there’s a lot more to know about selling your idea. Parts 2 and 3 of this series will go into more detail about this process.