Selling Your Patent: What You Need To Know

It all starts with an idea. You work tirelessly towards perfecting that idea and are able to finalize your invention. After confirming that you have a working design , you decide to register for a patent. Once you have filed your patent with the patent office, you are faced with the daunting task of commercializing your Intellectual Property (IP).

Patents provide exclusive rights to patent owners which allow them to benefit from their work for a fixed period of time. They encourage innovation among creators and promote development in the economy. Commercialization is an important step in both innovation and development of the economy. Without the ability to successfully commercialize, the invention holds little value to its owner.

Here’s a closer look at some of the steps involved in successfully selling a patent:

Know the Type of your Patent

Before selling your patent, it is important to understand its type and its commercial viability. Generally speaking, there are 5 types of patents, although these classifications are not rigid as some inventions can belong to more than one type:

  • a product
  • a composition
  • a machine
  • a process
  • an improvement on either of the above categories

Depending on the industry for which the invention is most feasible, you can determine the value of your patent and profit from your work accordingly. For example: a highly optimized designing software could find a viable market in the advertisement industry.

Know the Process

The process of patent registration, regulation and transference is controlled by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). While it is not required that you register a sale with CIPO for a sale to be valid, updating CIPO;s records can ensure that you do not miss out on important information being sent to patent owners. Updating CIPO’s records requires that you request the recordal of the transfer documents.

Consult a Lawyer/Agent

This is one of the most common mistakes inventors make with their patents. An experienced IP lawyer/agent can be invaluable during the commercialization of your patent. Common errors can be easily prevented or corrected with assistance. Your IP lawyer/agent will also be able to quickly and efficiently have the sale documents correctly recorded with CIPO.

A failure to correctly file a patent application may lead to its cancellation or rejection. An experienced IP lawyer/agent can assist in all your dealings with the patent office.

Analyze your Options

Most inventors are faced with three options to commercialize their patents gainfully:

  1. Licensing the patent – the inventor retains his ownership of the patent and allows the licensee to commercialize his work in exchange for a pre-determined royalty or payment plan.
  2. Assigning the patent – the inventor grants the buyer complete rights to his patent for a predetermined payment.
  3. Marketing their invention – the inventor earns from their patent directly by setting up the operations for commercialization.

Depending on the type, the commercial viability, the industry of sale and the valued price of the patent, an inventor needs to evaluate his options carefully and determine the method precisely suited for his patent.

Keep these tips on how to sell a patent in mind when looking to commercialize your work successfully. It is highly advisable to seek the counsel of a skilled IP lawyer before you make a sale or license your patent. A patent lawyer can assist you in selecting the best course of action for the commercialization of your patent.