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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

JD: So, I have a utility patent on a product. Kudos to you! I’d like to sell the patent. If my product is considered valuable and I hire someone to assist me in selling it, I’m curious about the procedure. I wonder if it’s like selling a property. Can I get the agent to give me their estimate of the value? Would they show it to various potential buyers and get the highest bid? Would they receive a commission on the sale? How does it work?

JD: Here at Bold, we used to make referrals. We have a group of people, individuals and sometimes companies, called patent brokers. What they do is find deals—they’ll find buyers or licensors, whether big companies or small, that want to buy or sell your patent portfolio.

JD: We actually brought in Jim DeBetta, who’s been doing this for 25 years, last year. This is his second year now working at Bold. My understanding is that this is the whole patent commercialization piece. So, to answer your question, yes, the person who will help you find a deal can work on either a flat fee or on commission.

JD: Instead of estimating the value, they’ll identify companies and individuals at those companies you want to reach out to based on the market demand for your product and its best positioning. We’ll put together a simple one-pager, called a sell sheet, and typically, that’s all you need to start the initial reach-out to see if there’s interest from companies.

JD: Valuation, separate from the patent broker discussion, is really challenging, especially for a pre-revenue patent. One thing to consider is that you can get insurance on a granted patent, and even on a pending application. The way this works is that the patent insurance companies will do their own analysis of the market to see if there are any other companies that might be infringing on your patent.

JD: It’s kind of counterintuitive for some inventors to think that infringement makes a patent more valuable, but the answer is yes. It means there’s a market—people want to be in business selling what you have patented. The fact that you can go after them and enforce your patent is up to you, of course. Knowing that there’s another company and customers willing to pay for your invention is a good thing. So, they’ll evaluate potential infringements and the use of your inventions to help raise the valuation of your patent portfolio.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at https://boldip.com/contact/