When it comes to intellectual property (IP), there is NO recession. During the past couple of months, I’ve been traveling the country speaking about the opportunities in IP licensing, and meeting entreprenuers and inventors with amazing IP. From industry shifting technologies to eco-friendly products to new on-line business models, the changing economy means opportunity, and demand has never been greater for innovative IP.
In this months issue we discusss how to find the right IP to create new products or expand market opportunities. Licensing is a partnership and a clear approval process verifies proper use of the IP. Despite the economic downturn, fashion licensing continues to be tremendous area of diversity and growth. Cause Related marketing is an overlooked strategy that can create a great promotional partnership between “for-profit” businesses and “non-profit” organizations. Green is growing and has spawned a home improvement retail chain.
Acquiring IP rights – or Licensing in – can offer a number of significant benefits to the licensee (i.e. company acquiring the IP rights). Acquiring rights to an IP can be used to create a new product line, revitalize a product category to attract new customers or increase profit margins. Licensed IP can also provide added value to a companies products or services by creating a position of differentiation (i.e. stand out) from the competition. Keep in mind that different types of IP properties have varying life spans – some are inherently short term, such as movie properties, and others offer a long term opportunity, such as established brands. Determining which type of property is the right fit should be based on what your organization seeks to achieve in the commercial marketplace. Interested in finding some IP? Check out this free LCG Special Report – 5 Sources for IP Licensing.
Key to all licensing deals is verifying that the licensee (the one who licensed in) is using the IP rights appropriately. This is done through the approval process, which requires the licensee to submit to the licensor (the IP rights owner) information about how the IP rights are being used. This can be in the form of printed materials (such as designs, brochures or packaging), product samples (prototypes or production) or service delivery (this could be on site or video verifying proper presentation of a workshop or seminar material). The approval process can vary depending upon how much or how little oversight the licensor wants to have or is needed to insure the licensee is using the IP rights appropriately.
From t-shirts and sneakers to contemporary sportswear and high street fashion, the market for apparel licensing continues to be a tremendous area of brand diversity and growth. Designer labels such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren continue to expand their reach into new consumer segments through licensing programs that into non-apparel product categories including accessories, baby wear, luggage, jewelry, home wares, interiors, pet products and even technology. Collaborations between retailers and brands has been growing – Marvel and Carrefour, Disney’s Hannah Montana and Wal-Mart, Avril Lavigne and Kohl’s, Hasbro and Steve & Barry’s, and Disney’s Camp Rock and Target – among others. Manufacturers are also licensing collaborative brand programs, from Reebok’s Kool-Aid sneaker collection to Adidas’ Dale Earnhart, Jr. line of apparel. Whether its branded merchandise tied to Hollywood’s hottest titles, designer labels,or a comprehensive direct-to-retail collection from a major sports franchise, consumers continue to take comfort in familiar celebrities, products and properties. Here are a couple of good resources for information on fashion and apparel licensing – Fashionnewspaper.com and Apparelsearch.com.
Cause marketing or cause-related marketing is a cooperative marketing program between a “for profit” business and a non-profit organization. It benefits both organizations in several ways: for a nonprofit organization, it can increase both its promotional activities and reach to new possible supporters; the “for profit” business receives positive public relations, improved customer relations, and additional marketing opportunities. Types of cause marketing include product, service, or transaction specific, common message, product licensing, endorsements, certifications, local partnerships and employee service programs. Check out Foundation Center and Cause Marketing Forum for more information on Cause Related Marketing.
Feel free to pass this newsletter along to friends and associates. You can visit www.licensingcg.com to view other free reports and presentations about licensing intellectual properties to create income opportunities. If you are ready to find out how Licensing Consulting Group can assist you in leveraging IP to accelerate your business opportunities, contact us at (800) 204-6584 or visit our website to learn more about our services.
President & CEO