The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration
MIND: Documenting Invention

Inventing | Documenting | Things to Collect | Resources

Commercial Products

There are three typical ways in which inventors can benefit from the intellectual rights that have been granted by a patent. They can retain the rights and bear the cost of making and selling the invention themselves. They may sell the rights to a manufacturer to produce and sell the invention, in return for an immediate payment. Or inventors can license the rights to a manufacturer, in exchange for royalty payments for each item sold.

Most inventors choose to license their inventions rather than produce them themselves since licensing requires less investment by the inventor. Obviously, how closely an inventor is involved in the manufacturing and sales process depends on the method chosen, and helps determine the volume and types of records to be found among his or her papers.

See examples from the collections »

Last Update: 27 Oct 2010

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