In the cutthroat world of invention and innovation, having your own patent can be a useful weapon to have in your arsenal. But what steps should you take once you’ve made the decision to sell that patent? It is possible that putting it up for sale on the open market will not produce the desired results. So, let’s take a page from the annals of history and use the story of the Trojan Horse. In this article, we will discuss five “Trojan Horse” strategies that can make the process of selling your patents simpler and possibly result in higher profits.
The story of the Trojan Horse originates from the end of the Trojan War, when the Greeks, in an attempt to deceive the city of Troy and win the war, presented them with a large wooden horse as a gift. Inside the horse, the Greeks concealed their soldiers. When the Greek soldiers emerged once the horse was inside the city walls, they caught the city off guard and took it by surprise. In a similar manner, selling your patents may necessitate the use of a circuitous strategy, in which you initially approach potential purchasers with a different intention and then, at a later time, reveal that purchasing your patents is the optimal course of action.
This strategy for selling patents, known as the Trojan Horse approach, aims to initiate a business relationship or conversation on a different topic in order to give you the opportunity to covertly showcase your patent. As the relationship progresses, the potential buyer may reach the conclusion that the purchase of the patent is the next logical step. It’s all about creating the right conditions and opportunities that can lead to a profitable sale of a patent. Here are five different strategies involving Trojan Horses that can assist you in accomplishing this goal.
Start with the Suggestion to Sell Your business
Taking this step necessitates communicating with mergers and acquisitions (M&A) professionals and indicating to them that you are considering selling your business. During the course of conducting due diligence, the value of your patent (or patents) will become clear. Because of the potential of the patent, the M&A team might suggest purchasing just the patent rather than the entire company.
Propose a Joint Venture (JV)
This strategy entails making potential business partners aware of a joint venture opportunity, which in turn necessitates conversations regarding your patent. As the conversation moves forward, the business development team may come to the conclusion that it would be beneficial for them to own the patent themselves and make a proposal to buy them instead.
Offering a partnership arrangement allows you to engage with procurement and product development teams, very similarly to the JV approach. As these teams gain a better understanding of the implications and benefits of your patent, they may come to realize the value in owning them, which could lead to a potential purchase on their part.
Exchange patent for equity in a smaller company
It’s possible that the small company will be able to acquire the patent outright if it makes the request of asking for a significant equity stake first. This strategy has the potential to be especially useful when dealing with new ventures and smaller companies, as these types of companies are more likely to recognize the direct value of the patent.
Offer a product or prototype for review
You engage a potential partner in order to co-develop or establish supply relationships when you use this approach. The patent or patents at issue become a topic of discussion, and the prospective purchaser may decide that buying your portfolio outright is the easiest way to move forward with the transaction.
It’s crucial to seek expert advice throughout this process. Experts can guide you and add a layer of “cover,” ensuring that you maintain a strategic advantage. The Trojan Horse strategy may seem indirect, but its effectiveness lies in its subtlety, and the chance it offers to showcase the true value of your patent portfolio to potential buyers. So, unleash your inner Greek strategist, and consider using a Trojan Horse strategy to sell your patents.