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All About Foreign Licensing

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 25 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
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You’ve invented your product, tested it and had it manufactured in the United Kingdom where it has been selling well. But you don’t want to stop there; the next step is to licence your invention for production in other countries so that many others can benefit from it. But how do you do it and what is it?

What is Foreign Licensing?

Foreign licensing is the arrangement between you and another company or companies to manufacture, distribute and sell your product in countries outside of the United Kingdom. The granting of a licence means that you, as the inventor, give consent for these companies to carry out the manufacturing, distribution and selling of your product abroad for a set amount per unit.

Foreign licensing allows you to decide who is able to work with your product and how much you want to make and want them to make also. It also ensures that at no time throughout the process of production abroad can your invention or its copyright be infringed upon. This is especially important if you cannot devote all of your time to working with your overseas partners.

Why Work with Companies Abroad?

If you have already begun to sell your product in your own country – let’s suppose you are in the United Kingdom – then if you plan to sell overseas you need to have a strong customer base at home. It is important to remember that while you are looking for new clients you should have existing ones that will continue to supply you with orders than will allow the cash flow to continue whilst you endeavour to break into the overseas market.

It is essential to have an overseas partner; someone who has contacts in the countries in which you plan to launch your product and someone who has a network of distribution points which can stock and ship your product thus keeping shipping and delivery costs down.

Copyright and Foreign Licensing

Before selling or contemplating the sale of your invention abroad you should ensure that all patents and copyrights are in place before you do so. It is not unheard of for inventors to market their products abroad before patents and copyrights have been issued – when this happens it makes it much easier for counterfeiters to reproduce your design and sell it as their own. Also when it comes to applying for foreign licenses the whole procedure is made a lot more straightforward if copyrights and all patents are in place.

What Else Should You Know?

If you are in any doubt when it comes to foreign licensing as to how you should proceed it is best if you seek expert advice. At the very least you should liaise with someone who has already carried out the process and find out from them how difficult it is.

It is also worth making sure that your legal representation is able to deal with all matters relating to the issuing and supervision of foreign licenses as they will be required to deal with all other companies and manufacturers who wish to partake in any foreign licensing agreements.

Overall though you should be fully conversant with the rules and regulations of the licensing laws within the countries you are dealing with as what may apply in the United Kingdom may differ wildly in other territories.

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