We have prepared Q & A about frequently asked questions from individuals who want to sell their inventions to companies.
We also accept specific individual consultations.

For inquiries, please use this inquiry form.

I think it's a groundbreaking idea. I wonder why I don't get a good response from companies.

From the experience in the IP department of a company, it tends to be harder to sell as a groundbreaking idea. This is because there is a high possibility that it will be a completely new business if it does not meet the business plan (* 1) of the company.

(* 1) The business plan set the deadline such as 1 year, 3 years, etc., and determines what kind of business will be carried out within that period. Companies principally follow this plan.

I think that starting a new business is a good opportunity for a company, but why aren't they interested in my idea?

In order to start a new business, they must consider various things such as whether the business is profitable, whether it has marketability, and whether they can acquire human resources and funds that can be invested.

It takes time and effort to consider them. As a result of the consideration, if your idea can not be realized as a new business, the time and effort taken up to that point, which are equivalent to cost, will be wasted. Therefore, companies must be cautious in starting consideration for your proposal. This tendency seems to be particularly strong in large companies.

What if selling my idea to small companies or ventures?

There is certainly a way to set small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as your main target. However, in the case of SMEs, income such as royalty will be small due to the scale of the business.

What are easy- to-sell ideas?

We recommend you focus on an idea that “a company wants” instead of an idea that "you want to sell". Specifically, an idea that slightly improves the product that a company already sells seems to be effective. Of course, it needs to be unique enough to be granted as a patent. In particular, the following conditions are effective.

(1) There is already a department related to your idea in the company, and no new human resources are required to estimate your idea.
(2) Related products already exist in the market, and ignoring your proposal can be a risk for the company.
(3) There are rival companies that sell similar products.
(4) There is no need to prepare a special group or production line in the company, and your idea can be realized within a normal business scope.

How can I find out about a company's product information?

It is an effective way to check the patent application status of the target company.
You can browse the specifications filed of patent publications using patent searching engine of various countries on the web. Patent specifications have the feature of a technical document, so reading a few specifications that are relevant to your idea will give you an idea of the technological trends of the company. Also, applying for patents are proof that the company is serious about the business. Even if the project is not currently implemented, if a lot of patents are extracted, the patented ideas are in line with a business plan and can be implemented in the future.

If you check the patents of other companies in the same industry, you can see the technological trends of the industry, which is effective.

If a company has a basic patent, is it effective to sell an improved invention to the company?

Even if the company has a basic patent, its improved idea can also be patented. If the company wants to implement the improved idea, the permission from its patentee is required. Since the effect of a patent right does not extend to the practice of an individual, if there is a sale from an individual inventor, the company cannot use the means of a cross license.
If a company wants to use an invention that has been sold by an individual, it has no choice but to pay for it or invalidate the patent if the invention becomes a patent. Since there is no guarantee that the patent can be invalidated, negotiations are likely to be successful.

Is it disadvantageous if my idea is not patented when selling?

The following is an explanation of the case of an improved invention, which companies are likely to be interested in.
The risk to a company is greater for unexamined ideas that are not yet patented than for already patented ideas. It takes a lot of time and effort to estimate which part of the technology described in the specification is patented, because it is necessary to consider not only the scope of claims but the entire specification. No matter how much it is considered, the risk will be remained. For this reason, it is easy to get the idea of getting permission if you can get permission cheaply. Of course, it may be a patent that has already been granted rights, but there is a risk that it will take time and cost to obtain a patent, and if the scope of rights is somewhat different from the company's concept, it will not be licensed. Considering that, I think it would be more economical to sell the improved invention in an unexamined state. In this case, there is also a way to request examination at the expense of the company and try to acquire the right together with the company.

If I cannot get a patent in the future, do I have to return the license fee I received?

It depends on the contract. The statement that the license fee shall not be returned is recommended to specify in the contract. Please contact us for details on the contract.

How about registering the copyright instead of applying for a patent?

Since patent applications are expensive, some people say that it is better to register the copyright first and apply for a patent after successful marketing, but this is extremely risky. Copyright does not protect your ideas. If you are relieved just because you have registered the copyright, the company that you went to may apply for a patent in a different expression. In addition, the copyright does not extend to the person who created it independently, so if the employee of the company creates the same idea as yours by himself, it becomes the right of the company. Especially when it comes to improvement ideas, not a few employees of the company can come to the same ideas. Therefore, it is necessary to first apply for a patent and secure the first-to-file right. However, there is a situation that copyright registration is effective depending on a target to be sold such as home appliances. Please contact us for details.

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