You have questions? We've got answers!
All submissions are confidential. However, the initial submission is NOT covered by an Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Therefore, only submit those details that you feel comfortable revealing without an NDA. If we want to learn more, we will sign an NDA with you and invite you to submit more information.
You do! Submitting ideas in no way impacts your intellectual property rights.
We work as your licensing agent on a contingency-fee basis which means we only get paid if you make money. You are responsible for your own expenses like product development and patents.
You can submit ideas in rough idea form, but the more complete it is, the better. The closer the idea is to marketability, the closer it is to manufacturability, the easier it is to license and the more attractive it is to our licensing team. There may be situations where we need to see more than a description or rough sketch to fully review your submission.
Licensing is how inventors make money from their ideas. Starting a company to make and sell a product is taking on the journey of becoming an entrepreneur, and is a lifestyle choice that is much more life-altering than licensing. While it is true that you could potentially make more money as an entrepreneur, it is also true that you will invest much more time and money to find out. There are many advantages to licensing.
Like any service, you could likely do it yourself if you invest enough time (and have enough time) to learn the technical information, learn the ropes, find the contacts, make the calls, make the presentations, and close the deals. While it is possible, it is also quite challenging. Individual inventors usually struggle to penetrate larger organizations, and are unsure of what to do if they get inside. We have a vast network of contacts and attend numerous industry trade shows every year. We have years of experience, training and an excellent track record. We have a dedicated team of talented professionals to leverage for your project. We empower inventors with resources and skills they need so they can focus on generating their next great idea!
We do not. We focus our investments on finding your product a licensing home and developing a better service for our clients.
We try to be responsive, but we are also a very small team processing a lot of submissions. Our goal is to get back to everyone within 1-2 weeks. Every idea gets consideration, but depending on our workload, it could be anywhere between a few days and several weeks before you hear back. Please bear with us if we are taking longer than ideal.
We choose based on many factors: our belief in our ability to be successful with the product, how exciting the product is to us, how well we understand the product’s market, how close the product development is to complete, how easy it is to work with the inventor, how likely we think it is that one of our key partners would say “yes”, how well it synergizes with the other projects we are working on at that time, how busy we are, our gut.
Trident is a boutique commercialization consultancy, and we deliver a personalized experience with a high level of professionalism, experience and expertise. We love what we do and are passionate about supporting our clients. We see it as a privilege to be in the business of inventing the future, and are excited to work with an amazing array of skillful inventors of all stripes. We are selective about the projects we get involved with, and If we express interest in collaborating, it is because we believe in your idea and are willing to invest our time and energy in your venture. We play win/win; we are clear that we provide enormous advantage to the inventors for whom it makes sense for us to work with and we are always looking for the next great idea to put our resources behind.
Since licensing is based on a percentage of wholesale sales, licensing makes sense for products that could at least conceivably create significant wholesale revenues. This means that a low cost item must have the possibility of high volume to be worthy of the investment to develop. So low cost niche items usually don’t make attractive licensing prospects. The cost to develop an item must also be within your reach. Complicated items, or ideas that employ electronics or software, can be quite expensive to develop, even to the first prototype. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start simple!
It is easiest to license products in markets and industries that are accustomed to licensing as a standard course of business. Most consumer product markets, such as housewares, hardware, consumer electronics, and toys, are used to licensing ideas from inventors. They know what to expect and treat their inventors fairly. There are, of course, companies that are individual exceptions in every industry. Business to business ideas, auto industry ideas, industrial ideas, and high tech ideas, are more typically entrepreneurial opportunities rather than licensing opportunities, and these would require capital raises and much more investment in time and energy.
A typical license agreement is 3%-7%, depending on the IP, the idea, the industry and the other factors. You can do the math: a million dollar product would yield $50,000 on a 5% royalty, before any was paid out to an agent. Most products never create a million dollars wholesale, and for any that do that is a great victory. Some products, of course, do much more than that, and 5% of $5,000,000 is a nice royalty, especially considering it is passive income. Caution, however; many inventors overestimate the likelihood and scale of their idea’s success. Inventing is a high risk, high reward game, and many stars have to align to create a win. That said, we have had the fortune of participating in several.
We actually don’t think they are. A well-run manufacturing business at scale might make a bottom line profit of 10%-15%, after the cost of goods sold, sales commissions, warehousing, freight, administrative staff, etc.. An inventor receiving a 5% royalty is making ½ to ⅓ what the licensee, who is taking ALL the risk, is making. In fact, these royalty figures are a very good deal for the inventor and a true win/win. The companies are willing to be so generous because they need more great ideas!
You do! We would offer our suggestions, but ultimately you must agree to the deal and have final say on what you will agree to. We will discuss in advance of each negotiation our target terms, and consult with you at each interval to make sure we are on the same page.
This depends on the deal. Usually, the inventor covers patenting costs, and once a license is in place, the licensee takes on all additional development costs. Sometimes it can be negotiated that the licensee handles patenting costs as well. Trident is never responsible for any expenses unless explicitly agreed on in advance.
Watch our videos and read our ebooks and learn what makes a successful product, and apply the learning. Create a superb design, craft a compelling prototype, author a compelling presentation, be humble and execute each aspect with excellence. Carry it as far forward as you can on your own, but don’t over invest.
You don’t! Though generally speaking it is very supportive to have at the very least a provisional patent pending. If you don’t have a patent pending, it is much harder and you show up less serious to potential licensees, who now are wondering what they are paying for. You don’t want to rush into the patent process. However, you should wait until you have a compelling prototype to make sure you are patenting the right invention. Feel free to submit to Trident without a patent pending and we will let you know if we think you are ready for one.
No we don’t. We can refer you to some we have worked with. Also, we can support you in working with yours. We have lots of experience navigating the process if you are just getting started. Ask us about our Patent Concierge service where we can go on calls with you and your attorney to support you in going through this expensive and confusing process.
It can take anywhere from 1 month to three years. Once a product is licensed, it can take a similar range of time to get to market. This is most definitely NOT a get rich quick game. Most new inventors vastly underestimate how long it will take to get a return on their investment. It usually takes several years from idea to market. Getting to market isn’t the end of the journey, either. It takes time for distribution to grow and markets to develop.
This depends on countless factors, the most important one being your idea and the compellingness of its value proposition. It is also true that there are a finite number of reasonable candidates for any product, and there are factors that cannot be predicted or controlled. You never know how a company is doing behind the scenes. You don’t know what their internal initiatives are. You don’t know who the people who work there are. In addition, you face the resistance innate to any organization to ideas from outsiders. Even open-minded companies prefer internal ideas. Most companies have all of their budgets spoken for, and your project must take away from another one. Ultimately, we see success with about 15% of the products we represent to the markets we know. If we fail to get your product placed, you can continue to try! We aren’t the final word.