Submitting ideas is free and easy, and in no way impacts ownership of your intellectual property. You own your ideas. You can submit as many ideas as you want. It’s always free. When you initially submit your ideas, we ask that you not disclose any confidential information about your invention until we have a confidentiality agreement in place, which we will prompt you to if we select your idea for further consideration. In order to submit an idea, you will first sign up for the Inventor’s Circle, in which case you will be given a profile in our online portal, called the ThinkBank™.
The ThinkBank™ is custom software that we developed ourselves to manage all of the ideas that come our way, as well as our own. It is a database which keeps all the information related to an idea in one spot. There is a questionnaire that asks for all the pertinent information around IP (intellectual property) and level of development, etc., there is a place to upload images and files, a place to upload links to relevant websites, and a place to keep notes related to the project.
Information that is uploaded to the ThinkBank™ is NOT automatically shared with the Trident Invents team. You have to manually click a button for us to see it. This means you can use the ThinkBank™ to manage all your ideas, whether you intend to share them with us or not. If you do decide to share an idea with us for consideration, you just hit submit and then we’ll be able to see it. Click here to read our detailed terms.
Ideas can be submitted in any state of completion, but we are much more apt to select ideas that are more developed, i.e. with completed CAD, patents or patents pending, prototypes and marketing presentations. If we determine that your idea is interesting to us but requires more development, we can connect you with resources to get there. Companies and individuals we have worked with ourselves and who are accustomed to working with inventors.
We review new submissions every week, and work to keep things moving through our process. We make every effort to be timely, however, we are a small operation (6 humans), and we have many ongoing and incoming projects, so please be patient with our responses. Unless we are very clear right away that the idea just isn’t a good fit for us, your idea will be talked over by at least two of our team, to determine if we have further interest.
We select an idea for further consideration based on how big the opportunity appears to us, how well it lines up with our existing network and expertise, how well-developed the concept is and the strength of any IP (Intellectual Property) that may exist. We pass on far more than we proceed with because we have far more opportunities than band-width, and since we work for free, we must be very selective. If you are not selected, please don’t take it personally.
Some items may have great merit, but need more work before they are ready for our licensing services. For these situations, we have a network of service providers who can support with every step of the process, including design, engineering, prototyping and video production.
If your idea is selected for further consideration, we will reach out to you for next steps. Often, this might be getting an NDA signed so that we can get more (confidential) details. Or, it might be a phone call to talk about your idea and explore the fit.
NDAs are sent and signed within the ThinkBank™ portal, so you (and we) never lose track of what’s been signed and what it covers. After an NDA is signed, you will have the opportunity to upload information in a confidential area of your portal, where only those who have signed the NDA can see. This is a good place to put pending patent applications, CAD files, etc..
After discussion, if there is mutual interest, we will send you an Agency Agreement through your ThinkBank™ portal. Just like with the NDAs, you (and we) will never lose track of the agreement and what it covers. The Agreement will outline the length and territory of our representation. It will outline the financial agreement and obligations of each party. It is straightforward and easy to understand, and functions similarly to a real estate agent agreement.
In our representation, the final license will always be between the inventor and the licensee company. The inventor will always own their intellectual property and have the final say in the licensing agreement terms. The agreement we use has been refined over decades of licensing to carefully balance the interests of the inventor and the licensee. This is important, because it means it is easy for legal departments to approve the contract. We can help you make the critical business decisions with clarity about your options, and expertise in negotiating license agreements.
Once we have an agreement in place, we will identify potential licensees by looking through our own database of contacts, looking online for prospects, and going to industry appropriate trade shows. You are welcome to offer potential targets, too! We are all in it together. We will then work on setting up opportunities to present your idea. Once we have reached out and set appointments, we will then present the product and attempt to create a deal.
If we receive interest from a company, we will then endeavor to reach terms with them, with your input on the negotiations on the back end. If we reach terms, we will then introduce you and the licensee and craft the license agreement. We will then present the agreement and negotiate the specific language of the various terms. Finally, once all details are agreed, we will work to get the contract signed.
After a deal is signed, we will work with you and the licensee to make sure the product is developed on schedule so that you can begin collecting royalties, we make sure they licensee pays their royalties on time and accurately, and collaborate with ideas to help drive sales.