Five Tips for Selecting a Patent Brokerage Firm

Selecting a patent broker to represent you is the single most important decision you will make regarding the sale or license of your patent, portfolio or other intellectual property! Here is what to look for in a patent brokerage firm.

1. Web Visibility: It is critically important that a buyer looking for a patent in your technology area be able to find the patent brokerage firm that represents your patent. Go to Google and search for “patent broker” and “patent brokerage firm.” If the firm you are considering does not show up on the first page of the Google search, how will any buyers find that broker? Only a broker that shows up in the first-page search results has the necessary visibility to make sure that buyers can find your broker…and your patent!

You know the answer to “What are the three keys to success in real estate?” It’s “Location, location and location.” In the business world today, a business’s location is not its street address, but where it ranks in an Internet search. A business that comes up on the first page of search results is at a premium location on Main Street in World Wide Webville where everyone and anyone can find it. A business that does not show up on the first page of search results is on some back street in Nowheresville where no one will find it.

2. Industry Visibility: Does the patent broker have visibility in the IP community and business press? Type the name of the patent brokerage firm you are considering into Google and see if any principals at the firm have written articles for IP or trade publications or if any IP or trade publications have written articles about the patent brokerage firm.

Remember the question from High School science class: “If a try falls down in the forest, but no one is there, does it make a sound?” If a patent broker does not rank high at Google and is not regularly covered in the IP and trade press, it does not make a sound. It is operating under the radar and is essentially invisible. You need your patent represented by a broker with high visibility!

3. Lists Its Patents for Sale: A successful patent broker will let the world know what patents it represents – and it should do so at a highly visible website. While the patent brokerage firm will promote your patent to as many prospective buyers as possible, it is simply impossible to determine on the front end what the entire universe of possible buyers or licensees will be.

Successful patent brokers will tell you that they get calls and e-mails on a regular basis about the patents listed at their website, often from companies that the broker and the client never ever considered to be a prospect! A patent broker that does NOT list the properties it represents at a visible website is to totally ignoring dozens – maybe hundreds – of prospective buyers and licensees!

4. Sales AND Marketing: Most patent brokerage firms talk about “marketing,” but very few do any real marketing. Most patent brokers just make cold calls! They come up with a list of prospects, and they work the phones and send out e-mails. And while that will sometimes result in a buyer or licensee for the patent, cold calling is time-consuming and generally ineffective.

A patent brokerage firm that puts together a REAL marketing program puts your patent or portfolio in front of thousands of prospects, while cold calling only puts your property in front of a few dozen prospects. A REAL marketing program will include some type of outreach to a prospect list, and it should include publicity such as coverage of the patent in trade publications.

The truly professional patent broker uses state-of-the-art marketing to cast a wide net that covers not just the most obvious buyers or licensees for your patent, but every business that might be a prospective buyer or licensee, as well as those in the IP and finance community – patent agents, patent attorneys, other patent brokers, licensing executives, venture capitalists, financiers, private equity firms and others – who can refer clients to your patent thanks to your broker’s marketing efforts.

Marketing is more cost-effective than cold calling, and it will produce results faster. The really effective patent brokerage firm uses BOTH marketing AND selling to get the best results for its clients!

5. Critical Intelligence! It is critically important that the patent brokerage firm you select has intelligence related to patent transactions. How will your patent broker know what a fair price is for your patent if it does not know what patents are selling for? How will your firm know what companies are buying patents, and in what technologies are they buying patents, if it has not done the research?

If a patent brokerage firm is NOT researching the marketplace, and does NOT know what patents are selling for, does NOT know who is buying patents, and does NOT know in what technologies these companies are buying patents, it is flying blind!

If the patent broker you are considering cannot produce data on patent transactions, how can it effectively represent your patent?