Guide

Find support for inventors

Commercialisation options for your invention

There are three main ways of getting your invention to market. Each dictates different levels of investment in research and development, as well as company structuring and marketing, and offers different levels of potential return on investment.

The three commercialisation options are:

  • licensing
  • producing and selling it yourself
  • collaborating with another business or with a university

You could also decide to sell your invention outright. This will give you a one-off payment but will not generate any long-term income.

1. Licensing your invention

Licensing the use of your intellectual property means selling the rights, either for a set amount at the outset or, more usually, for royalties whenever the idea is used, as set out in a legal agreement.

You may find a potential licensee by researching businesses that could use your intellectual property. Ask them to sign a confidentiality agreement before you reveal your idea. Read more about non-disclosure agreements.

Licensing enables inventors to gain income without investing resource and time into producing the product themselves. In addition, a licensor will often have more industry knowledge and ready access to markets.

2. Manufacturing and selling your product yourself

You could develop and produce the invention yourself. This is likely to be expensive but all profits and success will belong to you. You may be able to attract funding if you have a good business plan. See how to prepare a business plan and how to use your business plan to get funding.

Sources of funding include grants, tax relief and credits, and venture capital. Find out how to attract funding for your invention.

3. Working with others

Collaborating with another business or university allows you to share the costs and work, although it may mean you'll have to split the profits.

A variety of grant funding is available for collaboration between innovative businesses and academic institutions. Find out how to work with UK universities and colleges or speak to an adviser in Invest Northern Ireland.

Read more about Invest NI's collaborative working support.