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Selling your patent

19-03-2021

Selling a patent is usually not what an inventor wants to do. Still, selling can earn you a lot of money.

You do not need to register the sale of a patent in the Dutch patent register, but it is a good idea to do so. Registration informs third parties that the patent has been sold. This is known as ‘the third-party effect’. You can sell your patent for a one-time payment or, for example, for a percentage of earnings. When a patent is sold, the patent owner transfers all rights and duties to the buyer. You do not have to sell all your patents for your invention. For example, you could sell the American patent and keep the Dutch patent for yourself.

Advantages of selling your patent

  • Quick source of income without big investments.
  • There is little risk to you because you do not have to enforce (protect) the patent. This means you will not be involved in future lawsuits.
  • You need little entrepreneurial skill.
  • It is easy, because once you sell there is practically no work left for you to do.

Disadvantages of selling your patent

  • Once you have sold a patent, you no longer have any other options: done is done. Most other options (such as granting a licence) do allow you to change your mind later on.
  • If your patent is for a new stand-alone product, it can be difficult to find buyers for the patent. But developing a market all by yourself is not easy, either.
  • It is difficult to estimate the value of a patent. How a patent will affect the market – and therefore how successful it will be – is hard to predict as well.

Outsourcing the sale

Selling a patent is complicated and takes time. It might be worthwhile to outsource the sale to a specialised company. A specialised company with possibilities, knowledge and experience can probably get a better result than someone who is just getting started in the market. A patent auction can also be a good solution. Intangible value In addition to material value, inventions can have intangible value as well. A company that frequently launches new products will, over time, gain an image as an innovator in the market. This is true even when some of those new products sell less well. Because this image can be very valuable, a patent that improves this image is also very valuable.

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