In licensing, it’s not where the market is today but where it’s going. Licensing is about spotting where an industry and companies are going, and capitalizing on it with your IP. That’s why licensing is such an ideal strategy.
Many startups I speak with often tell me their IP has other market applications, but they just aren’t ready to go after them now. They are concentrating on one market, building sales and then, at some future point (which they don’t know), they’ll move into another market. The problem is innovation moves very fast. Customers and markets don’t wait for innovation.
Licensing is a low risk and low-cost way to plant your flag internationally. It’s less expensive than launching joint ventures or wholly owned subsidiaries. Licensing is an especially good strategy if you’re a startup or small business with limited financial resources. Licensing offers a number of strategies for entering international markets. Which one you use depends on your IP and business goals.
For many startups, going all the way from IP development to market launch is often capital intensive. Many times funding is hard to get because of the high costs and risks involved. That’s where the licensing route is one of best strategies to use.
R&D is an expensive undertaking…especially for certain industries such as bio-sciences or pharmaceuticals. But sometimes your know-how, such as an R&D process, can turn into a licensable (and valuable) intellectual property that others can use to develop their IP.
One example is a small pharmaceutical company, who licenses its antibody R&D platform to other drug companies. In return for rights to use the R&D platform, licensees pay fees to use it and royalties on sales from each product incorporating its antibody technology.