A UK-based online grocery shopping company licensed its e-commerce platform to a major Canadian supermarket chain. The grocery chain will get exclusive rights to the system, which automates the inventory and ordering of all types of food products. Its ability to sort and route trucks for delivery makes it very efficient for being able to deliver customer orders within one hour.

But this isn’t just a one-off license. This UK company is using its IP to capitalize on a big problem –  the rapidly changing market competition from major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Amazon. Canadian grocery stores are just now recognizing the competitive threat these retailers present with their online ordering, delivery and pickup systems.

In this case, the UK company strategy is to become an innovation company and grow its revenue base by licensing its technology to grocery chains in other countries. The value proposition is what their online grocery shopping technology does – manage inventory, take orders, organize and schedule deliveries – making it a very effective solution for a licensing partner. And that makes for a very successful licensing deal.

This is a great example of one of the best licensing opportunities – solving big problems for an industry. In the case of these Canadian grocery chains, they were caught by surprise and are now under competitive pressure from Wal-Mart and Amazon. They don’t have the time to develop their own online inventory management and shopping platforms.

That’s where licensing is an effective strategy for these grocery retailers to acquire the market ready technology and deploy it immediately. It gives them a step up competitively and adds value not only to the organization but to their customers. Rather than falling behind as the online grocery shopping market evolves in Canada, licensing in a market-tested technology gives them the ability to stay competitive.

This is a great example of how to spot new opportunities and markets for your IP. And one of the best ways is to look for other markets that face similar problems. Your IP is more than just the foundation for your products or services. You most likely created it to solve a problem or meet customer demand. If it solves a problem for you and it works, then it can solve a problem for other companies in a different market or industry.

That’s a golden licensing opportunity and it should be part of your business strategy. Today the markets are changing very quickly. For those companies not actively developing new IP, licensing in a proven technology is the fastest way to keep them competitive in their own market. And that spells a big opportunity for your company to generate new revenues through licensing.

Rand Brenner is an IP professional whose passion is helping inventors, startups, and businesses of all sizes use licensing to turn their IP into income-producing products, services, and technologies. His decades of experience run the gamut from medical devices to food technology to consumer products. He’s licensed some of the biggest Hollywood entertainment blockbusters including the Batman Movies (1 and 2), and the number one kid’s action TV show, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Rand speaks about licensing and is a featured speaker at investment conferences, trade shows, colleges and startup events.  He’s a published writer with articles appearing in several prestigious trade magazine including The Licensing Journal, Intellectual Property Magazine, and License India. Rand also mentors at the Cal State Fullerton School of Business and Economics and is a judge for their startup business plan competitions.

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