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Licensing Your Product Grow by granting others permission to utilize your concept.

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If you attended or watched the Olympic Games in Atlanta lastsummer, you noticed plenty of T-shirts, hats, coffee mugs and othersouvenirs bearing the distinctive five-ring logo. The AtlantaCommittee for the Olympic Games sold to the manufacturers of thoseitems the right to use that logo, reaping huge revenues for theCommittee and the U.S. teams it supports.

Your business doesn't have to be a gold-medal winner toprofit from the sale of your products or ideas. You can trade totalcontrol for profit if you have a proprietary technology (such as asoftware program you developed and to which you own the exclusiverights), or a unique product or process that has value to anothercompany. "You have this little treasure-trove of value, andlicensing is the key to unlocking it," comments RichardHarris, an attorney in the Intellectual Property Group at Day,Berry & Howard, a law firm in Hartford, Connecticut. Yourone-of-a-kind formula for modeling clay, for instance, or thatgreat idea for a video game, can be your company'streasure-trove.

To find a licensee, consider the niche your product fills in aparticular industry, and think about which companies might benefitfrom holding a license to use it. But before you begin your searchto find an appropriate licensee, ask yourself the three questionsbelow, heed our experts' advice, and listen to how a successfulstart-up tapped into a gold mine of its own.

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