So much time, money, and effort is spent applying for a patent that it could seem unimaginable to sell it once you secured one. You may have nurtured the idea, brainstormed the possibilities, fleshed out the concept into reality, and birthed it into existence.

But alas, sometimes you can’t bring your idea to fruition and your best option is to move on. Maybe you can’t raise the funding to fully back the potential success of your business or your career has taken an unexpected detour. Regardless of your reasons, selling your patent could be a viable option to obtain funding or recoup some of your investment.

In order to find a buyer for your patent, you must first think about the market for it. Determine where you can find like-minded businesses and individual in your industry. From there you can attend trade shows, email manufacturers who produce the same type of products or contact other business owners through a little research on the Internet.

If you’re still having a hard time finding interest, try advertising the patent that you wish to sell. The Patent Trade Office offers a publication where inventors can advertise for about $25. There are also websites available that are dedicated to selling patents. Some charge a flat fee and others request payment if your patent sells. However, check with the United Inventors Association to ensure that you are working with a reputable company.

Now if these two options haven’t worked, you might want to consider a higher effort alternative. Finding the right venture capitalist can help you to launch your product while partnering with an existing company. The second choice is to find a contingent fee broker who will market your invention to manufacturers. He or she will receive payment for services if the product is sold, usually in the form of a percentage of royalties or percentage of the sale.  If they want to charge you up front, walk away as this is not standard practice and may be a scam.

Another important word of caution is to avoid the ads on television that say if you submit your invention idea, they’ll send you a booklet to show you how to make your millions. Countless inventors have spent thousands of their dollars on these scams without getting a cent back. Many of these types of companies have been charged with fraud from the Attorney General, so check the Better Business Bureau before even considering contacting one of these businesses.

Finally, there is another small window of opportunity presented by Google. Recently they announced that they are considering buying some promising patents for a short amount of time. “From May 8, 2015 through May 22, 2015, we’ll open a streamlined portal for patent holders to tell Google about patents they’re willing to sell at a price they set. As soon as the portal closes, we’ll review all the submissions, and let the submitters know whether we’re interested in buying their patents by June 26, 2015.” Interested? Check out the Google Patents Site.

Whichever option you choose to go with to sell your patent, be sure to meet with your business lawyer or patent lawyer first. There could be a lot at stake, so partner with a reputable attorney to guarantee that your rights, intellectual property and finances are protected.


About the author


Christina Morales

Christina helps provide useful business and legal tips on UpCounsel for our customers and visitors. Having over a decade of writing experience in a variety of industries, she has also been very close to the legal space from a young age with family members who continue to practice business and tax law.

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