I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it happen. An inventor is in the process of negotiating a contract and loving life – they think they have a done deal, a sure thing, a commitment. But more often than not, that contract may never see the light of day. It’s crushing, but it happens. Maybe someone changed jobs. Maybe there was a change in the marketplace. Maybe too much momentum on the project was lost. For whatever reason, the deal falls apart and the inventor is blindsided.
There are no sure things! Until a contract is signed, you must keep your options open. Many of us, including myself, stop communicating with other potential licensees when we began to negotiate a contract. But if you let months go by and then a contract falls through, you have to start up the process all over again. You’ve lost momentum and positioning. And to make matters more challenging, you’re probably crushed and feeling defeated.
But the truth is, you have to understand that contracts often fall through. A failed contract isn’t the end of the world or your product. Don’t let it beat you down or steal your enthusiasm and confidence. In order to maximize your leverage and security, keep your options open! Make a large potential licensee hit list in the beginning and pursue all of those companies. Realize that not all deals are the same. Get to know all of the major (and minor!) players in your industry. You may not have a lot of leverage on your first contract, but if you truly understand the potential of your product (as seen through all those other potential licensees) you will be in a much greater position of power.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 25 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight, a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas and the skills needed to succeed. You can ask questions and get advice on the inventRight forum, check out the resource center, and listen to the weekly radio show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media outlets find you for news stories.