So you have been doing some research on a niche and have come up with a potentially new invention idea, or you have and invention idea based on a problem you have encountered. At some point either during your research or at the point when you have everything ready including your sell sheet you need a list of companies who you feel might be interested in licensing your idea. Below are 8 ways of finding potential licensing contacts.
1. Check the Labels in the Shops Online and Off
One method of finding potential licensees is to simply find similar products in the shops and to take notes from the labels to see who makes the products. Quite often the labels will also tell you the web address of the company for further research. This is a method advocated by successful inventors Roger Brown and Stephen Key. You can also search online shops to see who make products in your niche.
2. Use sites like Alibaba
Use sites like Alibaba to search for manufacturers of similar products to your invention idea. You can choose which country you want to look for manufacturers in too. I wouldn’t suggest signing up with Alibaba, but just using it to do searches on company names and addresses and websites for example in the US and Europe.
3. Associations for your Niche
Find out if their is an association for your niche (google it) and then look through the list of members to find potential suitable companies.
Buy a magazine related to your niche and see what companies are advertising similar products to yours.
5. Trade Exhibitions
If you go to a trade exhibition you can collect company details for potential licencees, but even if don’t many will list their exhibitors on their website with some basic details about them.
Use these sites to help search for trade exhibitions
Once you have found company names using the methods above, you can drill down further to find out actual contact names of people at the companies. For example take your company name, and then in Google search Marketing Manager, Company Name. Try other search variations too like Sales Manager, Company Name. With any luck this will give you the appropriate names you need, so when you cold call the company you know who to ask for by name. Quite often when you search in google the results you find will be part of LinkedIn or similar sites like Jigsaw which hold business details.
Another thing you can also do once you have a contact name is google the name and company and sometimes you will be lucky enough to find a direct telephone number or email address too.
LinkedIn is great for finding company contact details and also for additional research. You can search through using either the people or company search. LinkedIn also has a huge range of groups which may be applicable to your niche. Try joining some of the groups for your invention niche (some groups are easier to join than others). Look through conversations in the discussions, and see if there are any people or companies that would make useful contacts. You can also post enquiries and ask for suggestions in the discussion groups regarding your invention idea.
Linked in also has several invention groups which are again useful for asking in the discussion groups suitable companies who are open to invention ideas in your niche.
8. List of Inventor Friendly companies
There are various places you can find lists of inventor friendly companies. Make sure you double check the terms and conditions of all the companies as some insist on patented inventions.
More suggestions from Readers and Twitter Followers
http://gb.kompass.com/ a company directory where you can search by type and location – suggested by @baplig http://www.businessandpatents.org who also have their own searchable databases if you are anywhere near Leeds UK