Savvy IP owners are creating new, previously unthought-of ways to profit from their IP. They are finding new sources of income by re-purposing their IP for use in a different industry or product application.
That’s the strategy a dehydrated snack food company is using to expand its dehydration technology into the cannabis industry. It allows cannabis producers to quickly and uniformly dry cannabis plants, significantly shortening the time from harvest shelf. In addition to air and freeze-drying, what makes its technology valuable is its consistency and control that cuts the drying process from days to hours. The company is providing its technology through it’s drying equipment and licensing it to cannabis companies in return for a royalty percentage on product sales. In addition to signing a licensing deal with one of the largest cannabis producers in the US, the company is also licensing its technology to companies producing everything from edible cannabis products to industrial hemp.
That is an excellent example of a company using licensing to apply or adapt its IP to other markets. Rather than leaving money on the table or markets untapped, licensing lets you put your IP to work. It is a proven strategy for expanding into new industries or applications without the overhead and cost risk of trying to do it directly, especially if you’re going into markets that are quickly changing and with lots of unknowns such as the cannabis industry. Licensing lets you stake a claim in the industry by working with partners who established in the market. As their business expands using your IP, your revenue and business also grow.
If you have an IP that you’ve been unable to get into the commercial marketplace, instead of letting it sit, find other applications for it in different industries. Some interesting examples include Bubble Wrap, invented initially as wallpaper; Duct Tape, first used to seal WW2 ammunition cases. Sometimes you can discover new uses for an IP. One of the largest consumer products companies discovered a foam used for soundproofing and insulation was also a great cleaning tool when wet, and re-purposed it into the number one brand of cleaning sponges and mops. Another example is one of the most successful toy products in the world. The Super Soaker water gun was an industrial water pump.
So how do you figure out other market applications for your IP? One of the best ways is through an IP audit. It’s a management tool that helps you identify, organize, and manage your IP. An IP audit helps you discover new uses for your IP. You then turn these applications into new revenue by licensing into different markets, bundling with other IPs, or creating new non-competitive products or services. In 2014, the UK conducted an IP Audit study of small and mid-size businesses. The results found that three out of ten (31%) reported the audit identified new business opportunities, and over four in ten (43%) identified new opportunities to capitalize on their IP through licensing initiatives. (Check out the free special report on IP Audits for more information).
Your IP is a money-making asset that you can use in many ways. One strategy is creating sources of revenue from its hidden money opportunities – new applications or ways that your IP can be re-purposed for the commercial marketplace. Instead of letting revenue opportunities pass you by, licensing lets you put your re-purposed IP to work profiting from new markets such as the fast-growing cannabis industry.
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.