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If you have your patent, or have applied for it (known as patent pending), you can try to license your patent rights. You can also license an invention that has not been patented. Although slightly different steps would be required (steps not listed here), the marketing and research methods would be the same.

Finding Manufacturers

One of the first things you'll need to do is make a list of potential manufacturers that may be interested in your invention. You might want to check out this List of Manufacturers. In an earlier part of this article, I mentioned writing down patent assignees. You may now understand why you need them. Try to get at least 50.

Looking in stores or magazines that offer products similar to yours is a great way to find manufacturers as well as visiting tradeshows in your field. Online manufacturer databases can also be used to find companies that make products similar to yours. The Thomas Register is a good place to start. Google search (or your favorite internet search engine) may also bring in some results by just typing in "manufacturers". Your local library may also be a great source of reference.

Marketing Letters

Once you've found manufacturers, you'll want to send letters to each other. Make sure your letters are not generic or "merged". Although you may want to use the "mail merge" feature on your word processor, make sure they're professional looking and individually tailored to each company.

You want the letters to state that you would be willing to consider licensing or selling the patent on your invention. Be sure to include a website address and professional looking brochure so they can go and look at what you're offering. The brochure can be short (one page), but should be in color with photos and should include a good description of your invention as well as its many benefits. You may also want to send a copy of the patent drawings.

If you haven't heard anything in a month, give them a call to see if they're interested in your product.

Seriousness of Your Licensing Agreement

If you get to the point of needing a licensing agreement, it would be beneficial to get an experienced lawyer to help with negotiations. Do not try to negotiate your contract on your own because they are experienced in this – you are not.

The licensing agreement will include different provisions on royalty percentages, upfront payments, infringement issues and more. These are important issues in business and should be handled by someone that has your best interests at heart and is experienced.

You can choose to give an exclusive license for one person or a non-exclusive license to more than one. You also have the choice of setting a territory or time limit on the license if you wish.

The USPTO will publish a notice in their official gazette stating that you patent is available for licensing or sale for a fee.