Monday, September 29, 2008

On A Break....

With a broken finger! Visit for all the details.
I'll get back as soon as I can!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Up To Date

At this point, we're waiting for our second round of prototypes to come back and to have a discussion about costs. Once we know how much one pair of gloves costs to make, we can factor in all the other costs and people (us!) who need to get paid, we can then know if the whole licensing deal is going to be profitable. We're still targeting a fall 2009 date for our gloves to be for sale in stores.

I'll keep you posted on our progress and you keep me in the loop with all of your great ideas!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Standard Advance

The standard advance in a licensing deal is an advance against future royalties. Most contracts are written this way so that they licensee is not paying up front and then again (read as "more") as sales start and increase.

My thoughts on this are if you can give your licensee a good reason to pay you up front without it being contingent on future sales, then you're already ahead of the game. Some of the thoughts I've bounced off my attorney are an up front payment to cease negotiations with other possible licensees (usually a competitor), or payment for valuable contacts already made by me to market and sell the product (QVC and national television publicity). Both of these examples work best in an exclusive license scenario, but if you spend some time thinking about this, you can come up with many ideas that build value in you and your product, make your licensee look good, and basically put and keep more of the money you're intending to make in your bank account.

One more note on this subject, my experience has shown that the potential licensees I've spoken with have been very happy that Dave and I want to work with them on the research (much of which I did before I called them), development, and marketing. All three that I've been in negotiations with have come right out and told me that the everyday inventors they speak with would love nothing more than to drop an idea at their door step and collect a paycheck. It's as if an idea with a provisional patent is a winning lottery ticket. Now let's be honest, we all secretly think this way and wish it were so. We've heard the story of the lady who had this idea, made it at her kitchen table, wore it out in public where someone with influence saw it, loved it, bought it, and made this lady millions. Just like Hollywood, this is not real life.

Large companies love people who are willing to work and do their share to earn their keep. Offer up your services and be willing to follow through. If they want to do it all and pay you, beware; if you're not there, you might be missing out.

Think of ways you can get some good faith consideration up front without it being an advance and remember, anythings possible! Take that for what it's worth and roll up your sleeves, it's time to get to work!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Anything Goes!

One of the things that appeals to me with the area of licensing is that anything goes in negotiating the contract. In fact, there are standards that many use in licensing deals, but from what I'm learning, you can ask for anything you want.

For example, I feel strongly that no one can sell the features and benefits of our gloves better than I can. I'm proposing to our licensee that Dave and I work for their company as contractors rolling out the new line of gloves. Dave and I both have solid backgrounds in sales and marketing so we're certainly qualified. Additionally, people love a mother of invention story. We will ask for an up front payment when we sign our agreement (not an advance as is usually the case - I'll explain this in more detail on Wednesday), and then we'd like to be put on the companies payroll to travel the country doing in-store retail promotions, snow festivals, and introducing the product on QVC. This might appear to be an expensive way to roll out the product line, when in fact, we feel we can sell many more pairs of gloves by sharing our story and allowing other moms, dads, and grandparents get to know us. They will relate to us as we're an average, everyday American family just like they are. This kind of deal not only gives us the down payment for our IP, but it also gives us an income for a year, the opportunity to travel the US as a family, and we don't have an advance coming out of our royalties when they start to roll in.

Will our licensee agree to this kind of arrangement? That's yet to be seen, but we'll certainly put it up for negotiation. Even if we don't get the whole kit and caboodle, we'll certainly get something more than the standard license agreement. Most importantly, it's my opinion that this kind of forward thinking earns respect and will have our business partner thinking just a little more of us as innovators and individuals.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's Never Fast Enough.

Once your willing to get out of your comfort zone and call the people who can help you get your product to market, the process will never happen as fast as it seems like it's happening. In my experience, every time someone said yes to me, I thought I'd made it.

With one of my potential business partners, every phone call we schedule gives me something to look forward to, and makes me feel like something will come of it. Something does, another step or plan and then (usually) several months before the next phone call. Hurry up and wait.

The reality is, this process is slow, and if you have a day job, keep it. You need to keep making your regular income but while you do, celebrate every single one of those moments that makes you feel like you made it. You only get to travel this road one time, you might bring other products to market, but you'll know the process and it won't ever be like this time again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Who Will Buy Your Idea?

Is your idea something brand new, or is it something already on the market that you've done better? Either way, you either have to go into business to make it and sell it, or find someone who will do all of that and pay you along the way. The latter is licensing.

The first thing I did was find the companies who make gloves for little hands. I bought their smallest pair and measured the placement of the thumb and then had my son see if he could put them on. As usual, he couldn't put them on so I did as much research as I could about the company to see if they are a prospect for a potential licensing deal.

If I thought they were, I called and asked to speak with someone in their product research department. The people in this area of the company have all picked up the phone and been willing to talk and share details. In all of my cases, they gave me the name and direct phone number to the person I needed to speak with about licensing our idea. Once these conversations started, the signing of NDA's was easy as pie and we were off and running.

If your not willing to make the initial contact with the companies you hope to be business partners with, there's not much hope that they'll call you. Pick up the phone and introduce yourself!

Monday, September 15, 2008

How Hard are You Willing to Work?

If I haven't learned anything else in my life, I've learned that if it's worth having, it's worth working for. In the game of licensing, I'm finding that the work comes in organization and being willing to reach out in unconventional ways.

I've had to get organized in not only creating our idea, but hiring an attorney to file for our patents, research the facts and figures, investigate the competition, and figure out how we can pay for all of the steps. Those are the obvious things, but then I have to put my salesmen hat on and start researching and cold calling. You can't be afraid to pick up the phone and call the places you think will have an interest and the wherewithal to pay you for your idea.

When you look at each little piece it seems like "one little thing." In reality, when you keep your log and you go back and see all those little things, you can see how they add up in hours in your days. I've met people who say they aren't sales people. To that, all I can say is you better find that sales guy in you or hire someone who gets your idea. Nobody will sell your idea like you will, so if I can offer some advice, find your inner sales professional and pick up your phone.

Friday, September 12, 2008

One More Day

I think I can get back to business as usual on Monday. I want to see if I can get through today without taking the prescription pain medication.

Dave has gone to Anaheim this morning so that leaves me alone with Mason attempting to not use my left hand. Wish me luck and I'll be back with bells on come Monday morning!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm Back...Sort of.

Well, I wanted to stay right in step and not let this broken finger hinder my blogging process. No such luck. Surgery is what it is, and certainly it's painful. I had my finger fixed on Tuesday. Wednesday was not so bad, but by the end of the day, I was miserable. This morning is okay, but I'm extremely aware of where my finger has been cut, messed with, and sewn back up. To say it's uncomfortable is an understatement.

So to try to stay on track, I want to mention a really good book about licensing your IP, How To License Your Million Dollar Idea by Harvey Reese. Harvey does a great job explaining what it means to license your idea and he shares some really clever ways to go about doing it. I will say from my personal experience, he makes it sound easier than it really is. With that said, I will talk more about what Harvey advises and what I've come to know as my experience trying to license our gloves.

You can buy the book on line from, and I think you can also buy the current edition on Harvey's website at See you tomorrow!

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Note From My Doctor

I'll pick back up where I left off on licensing hopefully on Wednesday, depending on what I learn after seeing the doctor today.

Yesterday while meeting a lady about our horse, I took a spill. I'm okay but got a pretty good goose egg on my head, some really sore muscles in my low back and hips, and I broke my finger. Dave took me to the ER and the CT scan showed my brain looks like "it's never been used" (how exactly is one suppose to take a statement like that?), and my spine is in tact just fine. My finger however is not. I have to see a hand guy first thing tomorrow morning and will likely be having surgery on Tuesday. You can see the actual x-ray at on or around 9/8/08.

With that said, I'm still a little woozy and it's likely that I'll be pretty sore after a nights sleep. More importantly, I may not be so good with my keyboard after the doc gets done messing with my hand. I'll keep you posted but in the meantime, I'm extremely grateful that I'm only sore, with a bump on my head, and a broken finger (my first broken bone ever).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Other Options

There is more than one way to create an income from your invention or intellectual property (IP). Most people invent a product and it becomes like a new baby in the household, a real member of the family. They bring it to life, create a business, sell it and work really, really hard keeping it alive. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one who believes in free or easy money, but I do believe you can work smarter, not harder.

One of the ways other than producing and selling your product yourself is to license it to a company that already does something similar. With our gloves, we are in negotiations with several glove companies who already have established relationships with off shore manufacturers and distribution channels for retail sales. Next week I will talk about what I know of the licensing process and how you can determine if could consider this a viable option as well.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you Monday!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Finishing Up With Patents

This first thing people think when they come up with their big idea is that they need a patent. Maybe yes, maybe no, but you won't know if you don't do your homework. The very first thing you need to do is google your idea. If the search brings up pages and pages of similar products, you may not be the first to discover the need for this great thing. Do the on line searches several times with many different key words, you will be surprised what doesn't come up in the first search will come up in search number 25. Next, go to to do a patent search. This step can be daunting but you have to do it. Go to the patents section, then search both sections, patents pending, and patents issued. This again is one of those steps that will take some time. Use as many words as you can think of that may be part of whatever your idea is. If you can't find your idea in a web search or a preliminary patent search, then you're probably good to go to the next step.

I've made mention already that you need to create some kind of prototype to see your idea in real life. You need to know if it really will work. After you do that, you need to decide if you will pay an attorney to do a professional patent search or move ahead with just your research. Some attorneys will not file your application unless they do the search for you (you'll pay of course), as they have to represent you to the examiner at the patent office. They want to be as sure as they can be that they are going to get the patent issued.

You can do this yourself and for many things you don't need a patent. If you feel like you have a great idea that's not already on the market, get to manufacturing, producing, and selling your great product! You can do it. Remember, whatever you think, you're right!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day
More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Since we all work so hard, take today off and do something fun!