Licensing your idea

Last updated: 20 April 2017

Licensing could be a way to make money from your idea. You can use licensing if you own intellectual property rights. This includes:

Licensing gives another business the right to use your idea. In return they pay you a fee.

Licensing your idea could mean you:

  • avoid the expense of manufacturing, marketing and selling your idea
  • can reach markets you might not have direct access to
  • still benefit even if you don't have the time, resources, skills or experience to deliver an idea yourself

The person licensing an idea from you could benefit by:

  • having access to a wider range of ideas (than their own)
  • avoiding the expense of research and development
  • being quicker to get products or services to market
  • getting a competitive advantage and new ways of making money

You can find more information on licensing on GOV.UK.

Licensors and licensees

If it's your idea you'll be known as the 'licensor'. The person licensing the idea from you is known as the 'licensee'.

There can be more than one licensor or licensee.

Licence of right

If you have a patent for your idea, you can apply to the Intellectual Property Office for a 'licence of right'.

A 'licence of right' lets people know you're happy for anyone to license your idea. This is recorded in the register of patents.

You'll still be free to agree any terms and a fee for the licence yourself. You can cancel a licence of right at any time. If you cancel a licence of right, you'll need to pay a fee.

The Intellectual Property Office reduce renewal fees on all patents with a licence of right.

You can find more information on applying for a licence of right at GOV.UK.