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Companies license many reasons, but a major one is FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). FOMO is an investor term but applies equally to companies, they fear missing out a major market shift, which happens whenever there is a major market shift.
There is a major market trend occurring right now due to Covid 19 – working from home. While this was thought originally to be a short term trend, now it is becoming more permanent as companies have discovered that working from home creates more productive employees. The switch is on big time. Companies that provide technology to helpers from home have skyrocketing prices on the stock market.
But that still leaves a market wide open for inventors for products that assist work at home workers. Home product and office supply companies are looking products to support work at home inventors and are ideal licensing candidates for Inventors who want to pursue this market.
Steps to Take
- See what products target people working from home. Here are just a few of the many products:
desks that change height so people can go from sitting to standing.;
exercise products, some like fancy riding bikes, but others for a quick five minute break
devices for supporting users backs or necks;
lap desks, fold away or stationary;
phone holders so you can easily see the screen;
foot rests, possibly massaging;
atmosphere enhancing products, light, fountains, plant holders are a few;
products that moisturize the air.
There are probably dozens of other product ideas that you can come up with that help people work at home, the point is that it is an enormous market and the winning products are yet to be determined.
- Choose one or more product categories that interest you, an existing category or a brand new category, and make a list of what users want from that category, and what products if any serve that category now.
- List what benefits users want from that category, and what products in that category lack. Don’t rely on just your own input. Get out an interview people who are working from home and get their input to see if it matches yours. Also be sure to ask people what are the two or three new products they’d like to see to make working from home easier. You might find users are passionate about one or more products and those comments might lead you to a new potential product.
- Now is the time to apply your ingenuity and come up with several new product concepts. I recommend inventors to create a prototype(s) if possible within their budget or a sell sheet for their idea(s) and take then around to people who work at home to get input from them. This is especially useful when inventors are trying to license a product. You’ll find companies more receptive to your licensing approach if you keep detailed notes on your conversations with end users.
- Consider your patenting options. You really don’t have a product to license if you don’t have a patent, as without one you don’t have an intellectual property to license. Your choices are a design patent, a provisional patent, and a utility patent. A provisional patent doesn’t give you any property rights but it establishes a priority date and allows you to say you are patent pending. Companies might sign an agreement with you based patent pending status with a clause that you will work with due diligence to obtain a patent. Design patents are applicable to products with a distinctive look, and utility patents are applicable when you product has unique features.
- Look for licensing candidates. Go back to your original list of product in step and make a list of the manufactures serving the same or similar products as yours. Be sure to list more than products in your exact companies as those companies may consider you a competitor. If you have a desk lamp, look for companies that make desk organizers to phone holders, as those companies will look at your product as one that expands you product line.
- Find employees to approach within the company. I find that sales and marketing people are the most helpful You can find company personnel by using LinkedIn (www.linkenin.com) , by checking the names of marketing people who might be listed in press releases, by looking at company names listed in directories for industry trade shows, o r by looking at industry association membership lists.
- Prepare sales sheets for your product and send them out to the employees you’ve identified and try to set up a meeting to discuss your idea.