Licensing is a dynamic market and you never know what’s going on behind the scenes. That’s one reason licensing is very lucrative. Some of the worlds largest companies have so much IP development going on they can’t commercialize it all. In many cases, they look to outside companies to license it. And this can lead to a goldmine of opportunity for your small business.
P&G is one company who uses licensing extensively. In fact, they have an innovation out reach program specifically for partnering up with businesses of all sizes, not only to license out their brands but also to collaborate with them in developing new products. And for many innovative small businesses this is exactly the type of licensing opportunity that can take your business from zero to millions, literally in a matter of months. I’ve seen this first hand licensing entertainment properties, but it can also happen with the right brand and product combination.
When P&G wanted to expand into the sunglasses category, they licensed their Cover Girl brand to a small sunglasses company. With this well-known brand, sales took off and the sunglasses quickly rose to the number one seller at retail in its first year. In another case, a small company invented a fabric softener and licensed it to P&G, who did some internal R&D on it, and created Bounce, which became one of the best-selling fabric softeners in the world.
It takes time to find the right IP and licensing opportunity or partner. It’s a dynamic process, that requires you be actively in the market, whether it’s licensing out your IP or finding one to license in. Some of my clients retain me as their “eyes and ears” and help them find IP to license in. Entertainment properties are one example. I’ve worked with several clients who wanted to license popular movie franchises. This is a tough IP to license, because these properties are often locked up in long-term license deals between the studios and large manufacturers. But sometimes we were there at the right time, and licensed rights to a new product category and territory that was just opening up.
Growing your business doesn’t mean spending lots of time and money trying to sell more products or services. In today’s IP rich market, licensing is a lucrative strategy for expanding your business. But success in licensing requires taking action and making it part of your daily business activities. Remember,the best licensing opportunities go to those companies that make licensing a part of their short and long-term strategy.
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.