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2018 Product Licensing Trends: inventRight Reviews the Year


Well, that went quick. As cliché and unbelievably predictable as it may be, I ask myself, “Where did the year go?” If you are an inventRight student or a follower of our content, hopefully a good portion of the year was spent with us in some form or another. Whether you were listening to our members-only webinars hosted by our incredible coaches, or taking advantage of our hundreds upon hundreds of videos on YouTube, I hope you were able to find time to sharpen your licensing knowledge and skills.

I can humbly but confidently assure you that our team is the leader in this space. There is no magic elixir we can provide which will guarantee success. However, what we can guarantee is that we will put you in the absolute best possible position to get your product licensed. We don’t do the work for you – in fact we don’t do any of it. What we do however, better than anybody, is empower you to take this journey. We will give you the tools necessary to present yourself and your product as only a professional product developer would. One of many things that set us apart is that we stay on top of industry trends and the ever-changing landscape of the licensing business.

Several months ago I had a conversation with Stephen Key (inventRight cofounder) regarding the above. He told me he had seen recent changes in the industry and expected things to continue to progress in that direction. As the year came to a close, I reached back out to Stephen and asked him to expand on these thoughts. I asked Stephen what he saw evolve and what he expects to see in 2019. 

Stephen saw an increase in an already large segment of the industry opening their doors to product developers. “More and more inventors are licensing their ideas. We see a signed licensing agreement from one of our students each and every week. Why? Because of better marketing material and the fact that more companies are opening their doors. And of course our one-on-one coaching and keeping people on track. Inventors and product developers are becoming professional,” Stephen said. 

Speed to market is essential, Stephen believes. With infringers licking their chops to take YOUR idea to market before you can, Stephen believes the speed to which licensing can get your product to market versus a traditional venture model is an absolute advantage. “I believe licensing is growing because it’s now speed to market. The best way to protect yourself is to license your product idea to a company. Crowdfunding is exploding but copycats are getting even faster and quicker at knocking you off,” he said. 

As one of the most recognizable faces in the industry, Stephen is proud to be instrumental in the founding of a newly formed inventor organization, Inventors Groups of America. For the first time ever, inventors are starting to unite in droves. There’s an emphasis on educating the inventor and putting their needs first. With knowledge comes power, and Stephen believes it will become increasingly more difficult to pull the wool over inventors’ eyes as inventor education continues at such a rapid pace in 2019. 

inventRight head coach Terry O’mara chimed in as well. Like Stephen, Terry has seen that more and more companies are opening their doors to open innovation. Not just more companies, but the type of companies he said. “I have also seen iR students licensing products in a wider variety of categories in 2018.” He did note however that companies want to see more. “More and more companies are asking the inventor to develop the product further then they have in the past,” he told me.

It is important to remember that we are competing against a pool of potentially dozens of other licensors who are reaching out to your potential licensee with an idea. Consider doing just a bit more. You have a great sell sheet and a fantastic one-line benefit statement, but can you develop the product just a bit more? Perhaps utilizing a 3D print or hiring a very inexpensive mechanical engineer on a crowdsourcing site like or might be just what you need. Run this thought by your inventRight coach and see if this is a strategy that may push your product over the top.

inventRight customer service manager Jon Corbett certainly thinks that such criteria became extremely important in 2018 and believes it will continue to trend in that direction in 2019. “I’ve noticed that companies are asking more from inventors. They want you to really know your product well. Mainly, what is your point of difference to what is out there, and how will it function. This helps if you have studied their brand to know how it will fit in with their product line,” Jon said.

inventRight coach Scott Putnam chimed in: “The one thing I’ve noticed more recently than before are companies looking for proof of demand for the product. I’ve had a few students recently questioned by companies about how much marketing they’ve done for their product. Asking for hard data to back up any claims. A question I’m seeing more often lately is, “How do I get marketing data to these companies asking for it?” 

I myself have noted that significant emphasis has been placed on marketing. In my opinion the days of ‘presenting an idea on a napkin’ are gone. And if they aren’t, they certainly should be!

We saw a completely revamped iR Design Studio in 2018. We are making some of the most beautiful and most affordable sell sheets, virtual prototypes, and videos you will find anywhere. Professional marketing material is not only advisable; it’s expected. You may be a novice inventor, but in 2018 and now 2019, there is absolutely no reason to present yourself as such.

2018 was great to iR students. My students Paula R., Stephen B., and Garth P. all licensed their product in the last quarter of 2018! Jennifer H. got her product on QVC and Wayne A. is throwing punches with the world’s largest barbecue products distributor. I am so proud of each and every one of them. Their incredible success feels like a success of my own. 

Your inventRight staff has spotted the industry trends and has done the research. Now it’s your job to capitalize on what we have uncovered. 

2019 is going to be a strong year for all of us.

Who’s next?

— inventRight Coach Ryan Diez 

If I Could Just Get On Shark Tank!
Trust The Process

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Comments 2

Guest on Thursday, 03 January 2019 09:29

Great insights Ryan! Happy New Year to you and the entire IR Team! Let's KEEP INVENTING!

Great insights Ryan! Happy New Year to you and the entire IR Team! Let's KEEP INVENTING!
Guest - Chato on Friday, 04 January 2019 20:09

Loved this insight!

Loved this insight!
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