Fast Money from Inventing

Is it possible to make money quickly by selling or licensing an invention idea?

Only under a lucky alignment of circumstances.

IF you have an invention that solves a problem that a company is actively seeking to solve AND you can find that particular company AND that company is open to innovation from outside of the organization AND you have a prototype that can be evaluated then, yes, it is possible to see money in the form of a royalty advance or a buyout once a deal is negotiated and signed. There's a small chance the process could be completed in three months from the time the licensee is first contacted. But an evaluation period is needed and other obligations slow things down. 9-12 months is a more reasonable expectation. An issued patent is not necessary for a deal but a pending patent is almost always needed before entering negotiations.

Black & Decker paid WorkTools a royalty advance worth nearly $250,000 (in 2016 dollars) when it licensed the invention that became the PowerShot® Staple Gun. From initial contact to money in the bank took about a year. But that doesn't count the three years of development, multiple prototypes and pending patents that preceded that initial contact. You can read the B&D story and learn more about licensing here.

If your goal is to make money quickly with a single undeveloped invention idea, you would be better off playing the lottery. The odds are about the same and the lottery payout would likely be higher.

On the other hand, the odds of a payout from inventions are many, many, many times better than the lottery. Inventing is indeed a form of gambling, but if you place your bets carefully on multiple inventions and spend the time necessary, the odds are in your favor.

- Mike

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