How to Sell an Idea for an Invention

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Selling an idea for an invention is most easily accomplished through licensing agreements established with large companies. This is a great way to make money from your invention with very little upfront cost. Licensing agreements give a company the right to manufacture, market and sell your invention at a predetermined set price and set number of years in exchange for payments to you. In other words, you are signing over all your rights to your invention to the company for a certain number of years. Before you look for companies to license your invention, make sure you file a Provisional Patent Application (PPA) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This gives you one year of protection while you explore your licensing options.

Create a working prototype of your invention. You can make the invention at home or hire an invention development company to do it for you. A professional-looking computer drawing may even suffice if the invention is unique and marketable.

Find companies that make products similar to yours or at least in the same genre as your invention.

Call those companies and ask if they accept unsolicited invention ideas from private inventors. If the answer is yes, get the name of the person in charge of reviewing invention ideas.

Write and mail a letter of inquiry that presents your invention idea.

Follow up with a phone call a few days later, asking for the contact person.

Arrange a meeting with you, your attorney and the interested company to discuss the licensing deal.

License your invention idea to the company for a negotiable price and for a negotiable number of years. Hire your attorney to do the negotiating for you to ensure your interests are protected.


  • Visit to see if one of the companies they represent might be a good fit for your invention idea. Edison Nation arranges licensing deals between large companies and private inventors.