There are three main ways of getting your invention to market:
- producing and selling it yourself
- collaborating with another business or with a university
You could also decide to sell your invention outright. This will give you a one-off payment but will not generate any long-term income.
When you license the use of your intellectual property, you sell the rights either to an individual or group of individuals, or to a company. They will either pay you a set amount at the outset or, more usually, pay royalties whenever the idea is used, as set out in a legal agreement.
The best way to find a potential licensee is to research businesses that could have a use for your intellectual property. Take care when approaching them and ask them to sign a confidentiality agreement before revealing your idea. See our guide on non-disclosure agreements.
Licensing enables inventors to gain income without investing resource and time into producing the product themselves.
In addition, a licensor will often have more industry knowledge and ready access to markets.
Collaborating with a business or university allows you to share the costs and work, although it may mean you’ll have to split the profits. However, there is a variety of grant funding available to encourage collaboration between businesses and academic institutions. For more information read our guide on how to work with UK universities and colleges or speak to your local Business Link adviser. Find your local Business Link through our Contacts Directory.
Another possibility is to develop and produce the invention yourself. This option is likely to be expensive but all profits and success will belong to you. You may be able to attract funding, but to do this you will need a business plan. See our guide on how to prepare a business plan. You could also see our guide on how to use your business plan to get funding.
Sources of funding include grants, tax relief and credits, and venture capital. For more information see the page in this guide on how to attract funding for your invention.