Outlier Patent Attorneys

Best Practices for Pitching Your Invention to Potential Licensees


Pitching your invention to potential licensees is a crucial step in the process of commercialization. A successful pitch could lead to lucrative deals, while a poorly executed one could mean missed opportunities. Here's a guide to some best practices, pitfalls to avoid, and lesser-known secrets to help you prepare an effective pitch.

Best Practices

  1. Research the Licensee: Understand their product range, market focus, and strategic interests. Tailor your pitch to align with their goals.

  2. Clearly Define the Problem and Solution: Start with the problem your invention solves and then explain how your invention is the solution.

  3. Use a Sell Sheet or One-Pager: This should be a visually compelling, easy-to-read document highlighting the features and benefits of your invention.

  4. Be Ready with a Prototype or Demo: A working model or simulation can make your pitch more compelling.

  5. Keep It Short and Focused: Aim for a pitch that lasts no more than 10-15 minutes but thoroughly covers key points.

  6. Discuss Market Potential: Use data to show market size, customer demand, and how your invention fits in.

  7. Cover Intellectual Property (IP) Status: Clarify the patent status and any other intellectual property protections you have.

  8. Be Clear about What You Want: Whether it’s licensing, partnership, or investment, be explicit about what you’re looking for.

Pitfalls to Avoid

  1. Overcomplicating the Message: Keep jargon to a minimum and explain your invention in terms that a layperson can understand.

  2. Being Too Secretive: While it’s good to protect your idea, being overly secretive can turn off potential licensees.

  3. Unpreparedness: Not having answers to questions or not having a demo can send signals that you’re not serious or ready for market.

  4. Ignoring the Business Aspect: Licensees want to make a profit. Failing to discuss the business case is a missed opportunity.

  5. Lacking Enthusiasm: Your passion can be infectious; lack of it can be a deal-breaker.

Little-Known Secrets

  1. Follow the "10/20/30 Rule": 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font. This is a guideline offered by venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki for keeping pitches concise and impactful.

  2. Tell a Story: Humans are wired to remember stories. Weave a narrative around your invention to make your pitch more memorable.

  3. Use the “Foot-in-the-Door” Technique: Before asking for a licensing agreement, ask for something smaller like a second meeting, pilot test, or NDA. This can increase the likelihood of compliance with the larger request later.

  4. The Power of Silence: After making an important point or asking a question, allow for a moment of silence. People often fill silence with additional information or concessions.

  5. Record Your Practice Pitches: You can pick up on subtle nuances in your tone, pace, and body language that could make or break your pitch.

  6. Talk Less, Listen More: Sometimes the questions asked by potential licensees will reveal what they are truly interested in, which can help you tailor your pitch in real-time.

  7. The 'Puppy Dog' Close: If appropriate, leave a prototype behind for them to "play" with. The idea is that they’ll become emotionally invested in it, similar to taking a 'puppy' home for a night.

  8. Never End with the Pitch: Always have a next step planned—whether it’s a follow-up meeting, a prototype demonstration, or the initiation of contractual discussions.

By incorporating these elements, you increase the chances of not just capturing the interest of potential licensees but also moving towards a successful partnership. Remember, preparation and practice make perfect, so hone your pitch until it's a true reflection of both the utility and potential of your invention.