Dealing with companies

To deal effectively with a company interested in your idea, it helps to start by understanding what companies look for in new product ideas.

Their dream invention is one that gives them an enormous profit for no risk. They know they are unlikely to find such an invention, but they will definitely want ideas with as few costs and risks as possible. They will never look at your invention and say: ‘This is so good that we must do it, no matter what it costs us!'

Before risking any of their resources on an invention, they will want answers to key questions. These include:

  • The product
    Does it fit in with our longer-term business plans?
    How much more development does it need?
    Can it be manufactured cost effectively?
  • The market
    How many units can we sell?
    How much market advantage will it give us?
    How much will it cost us to enter the market?
  • The intellectual property
    How valuable is the IP?
    How strong is the IP?
  • The cost
    How will the whole project be financed?
    Will the cost pose a significant risk to the business?
  • Risk
    How soon will the product go into profit?
    How long will that profit last?
    What if we say no to the invention but a competitor says yes?

  Further points for inventors to think about include:

  • Rejection of an idea does not necessarily mean that the company thinks your idea will not succeed. It means they think it is not right for them.
  • Do not expect the company to do everything correctly. Smaller companies in particular may have relatively little experience of innovation.

  • For that reason, consider offering your own expertise or resources to the company if it helps persuade them to license the invention from you.

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