What is a patent broker?

When a large company obtains a patent, they frequently have the resources that are required to put it to use. That is, they have a manufacturing division that will be building the new product. Or, perhaps the patent covers a small refinement to an existing product. In this case as well, the company will simply incorporate the new component into their assembly process.

However, it is not only multi-national conglomerates that obtain patents. Some patents are owned by individuals or a very small new business that is just getting started. What can you do with a patent when you don’t also own a factory and a warehouse?

Many options are available, such as licensing your patent rights to a company that wants to make your product or incorporate it into their existing product.

Another option is to sell your patent rights through a patent broker.

What Is a Patent Broker?

Imagine that you own a home that you would like to sell. In order to save yourself some money on Realtor commissions, you decide to list the home yourself.

The problem with this approach is that it’s quite a bit of work. Despite staging the home and holding several “open house” events, several weeks or even months go by without anyone making an offer on the property.

You start to get worried. A great deal of time and money has been spent trying to get this house sold, but nothing is happening.

Would it have been better to engage a Realtor in the first place?

A patent broker is kind of a like a Realtor for a patent. They use their business connections to try to sell your patent. Sometimes, this happens in an auction.

This sounds like the ideal set up, and in some cases, it can work. However, working with a patent broker usually isn’t the best option for a number of reasons.

Potential Problems with Patent Brokers

As in any profession, some patent brokers are more trustworthy than others. This is problematic because it can be difficult to know which broker can be relied upon and which one is really just looking after his own interests.

Consider that a patent broker is allowed to represent both the buyer and the seller in any transaction. This means that the broker isn’t wholly vested in making certain that you, the seller, gets the best possible deal. Obviously, this can be bad news for the patent owner.

Another problem is that patent brokers sometimes offer to buy a patent at one price, but then sell the patent to someone else at a much higher dollar amount. This represents a nice profit for the broker, though it hardly seems fair to the original patent owner.

Moreover, patent brokers may collect a finder’s fee from the buyer of the patent, which may again cause them to put their interests above those of the seller.

It’s also possible that patent brokers may share privileged or confidential information with a potential buyer. If you have data that you prefer to keep confidential, then you may not want to work with a broker.

Working with a Patent Attorney Is Different

When you engage a patent attorney, they are legally and ethically bound to solely protect your interests. Your attorney may represent you in a transaction, but he most certainly will not also be representing the other side, which would be a clear conflict of interest. The result is that you are much more likely to close a fair deal.

You attorney will always keep your confidential information private, even while negotiating a purchase contract, which means that you don’t have to worry about proprietary data getting into the wrong hands.

Just as critically, a patent attorney can provide you with valuable legal advice regarding the scope of your invention so that it can be implemented without infringing someone else’s patent.

Intellectual property lawyers even can assist you to explore patent monetization strategies that can help you put your patent to work while cutting out the expense and potential pitfalls of working with broker.

Work with Williams IP Law

If you have obtained a patent, then it’s vital to realize that this is a valuable asset to you or your business. Getting a patent is costly and time-consuming, which means that you are probably excited about the opportunity to actually start making a profit from all of your hard work.

Is engaging a patent broker the right step? It might be, but in most cases it is wiser to work with an experienced patent attorney like Jeff Williams who can provide the sensible guidance that you need.

If you are looking for a way to monetize your patent, contact the Law Office of Jeff Williams today.

Author: Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams is an experienced mechanical engineer and lawyer that consults closely with clients in a strait forward and clear manner.  He brings a particular set of strengths and unique perspectives to the firm.    
 Jeff received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University in 2005.  He was an engineer for a number of years at a number of large corporations before pursuing his law degree.  He graduated from Texas A&M University School of Law (formerly Texas Wesleyan University School of Law) with a J.D. in 2010.  By combining his education and prior work experience into the field of intellectual property law, Jeff has developed key skills to fully assist clients.