Selling your Patent (associations)

One effective and often overlooked way of selling your patent is the use of associations. These are groups of inventors with similar goals, needs, and areas of expertise. By joining or consulting with such associations, your task of finding potential patent buyers can be made much easier. It offers you the ability to target and focus your efforts on only those who are truly involved in the field. Here's what one knowledgeable person had to say about inventors' associations:

Associations may be a good avenue to explore. These organizations will address many of the thoughts, questions and concerns you'll inevitably have as well as many you haven't anticipated yet.

There are several associations worth investigating and joining. One such association is the United Inventors Association, or UIA. Since 1995, the UIA has published the Inventor's Resource Guide, a synthesis of articles and resources designed to help those who are developing or marketing new product ideas. The Guide is available at each of the US Patent and Trademark Office's 83 Depository Libraries around the country. It is an invaluable resource for staying abreast of patent law changes, fee information, and practical tips and guidance on all aspects of product development. Aspiring inventors -- especially those looking to sell patents -- would do well to consult the advice in its pages.

Here is the UIA's mission statement from its website:

The mission of the United Inventors Association (UIA) is to coordinate individual inventors and inventor associations for the express purpose of actively addressing their issues and challenges at both the national (USA) and global level. As a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, UIA's principal focus is on providing inventor/entrepreneur information and support, as well as serving in an advisory capacity to public and private sector institutions.

The UIA also offers an invention listing service. This is a great way for inventors to market their ideas to fellow inventors and speed up the process. Since you are dealing with fellow inventors, everyone is more or less on the same page and knows how the various procedures work. It also reduces the possibility of idea theft, since the UIA is bound by a professional code of ethics.  The guidelines and instructions for using the posting service can be found at this URL.

There are also a number of worthwhile inventors' associations in specific areas of the country. One of them is the Inventors Association of New England, where inventors from that area can congregate, share ideas, and network with like-minded inventors. If your patent is specific to an industry in a particular region, scouting out associations from those regions can dramatically increase your chances of finding a buyer.

Here is the stated purpose of the Inventors Association of New England, as per their website:

IANE, founded on July 28, 1977, is a group of inventors having a common interest in helping fellow inventors get their inventions moving along the right track. Expert speakers and members are available to provide guidance to inventors in the patent protection area, marketing, product development, prototyping and other topics of interest to inventors. Many IANE members have decades of experience in inventing matters and can provide valuable insight into the often perplexing invention process.  Anyone interested in inventing should join IANE.

You can find a ready-made list of inventors groups from different parts of the United States and Canada by consulting this link.

Of course, no discussion of inventors associations would be complete without mentioning the International Federation of Inventors Associations. Based in Hungary, the IFTA is essentially a clearinghouse for groups that call themselves inventors associations. Its purpose is evaluating the effectiveness and trustworthiness of these groups, both to highlight high performers and shame unscrupulous bad actors so that inventors know to avoid them. The IFTA website is also home to helpful resources, such as learning the costs of obtaining international patents and tips on various IP regulations from around the world. If you are thinking of joining an association and want to make sure it is on the up and up, the IFTA website is a great place to do some sleuthing.

Of course, the point of joining any of these associations is to find potential buyers for your patent. All the associations listed will put you in prime position to do this because the other members are bound by a common purpose. If the idea of cold calling manufacturers and buying ad space in trade publications is not what you had in mind when you decided to become an inventor, joining these associations can be a very attractive alternative in your quest to sell your patent.

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