The speaker at Manchester Inventors Group last Tuesday was Steven Reece. Steve is managing director of two companies:
- Vici Entertainment: "a challenging marketing consultancy" and "a fresh internet business consultancy; and
- Richinventor: an agency which licenses inventions.
His talk was entitled "Top 11 Mistakes Inventors Make in Selling their Inventions" a summary of which can be downloaded from his website.
Steve's advice was on the whole very sensible though it seemed to be focused on licensing, particularly to the toys and games industry. That is understandable given his background in marketing and his experience at Hasbro but I don't think licensing is always the best option. I would go so far as to say that nearly all the private inventors of my acquaintance who have made livings from their inventions have done so manufacturing, or at least outsourcing the manufacture of. their inventions.
One point that I did put to him in questions and answers was that those negotiating on behalf of licensees owe their first loyalty to their shareholders and management rather than to their inventors. As in any other negotiations their duty is to get the best possible deal for their company. In that regard the inventor is in exactly the same position as any other suppler. Contracts drafted by licensees have to be watched for get-out clauses, ownership of intellectual proper rights in improvements, sub-licences and so on. For that sort of thing it is absolutely essential to get good professional advice from a lawyer with expertise in licensing.
The other big event at the Tuesday meeting was a presentation to Chris Brown, the patent librarian of Manchester City Library which I mentioned in my Inventors Club blog. This was the first time I had been to the Manchester Inventors Group for several months and it was good to see some old friends again. After the meeting some of us retired to The Bank on Mosley Street which is one of the landmarks of Manchester. The Group meets at the City Library on 151 Deansgate at 18:00 on the first Tuesday of most months and its meetings are well worth attending.