Howard Fleischer - Why Hire a Licensing Agent for Toys & Games?

September 2, 2019

 

Why hire a Licensing Agent for Toys & Games?

 

Many people don’t understand the role of a Toy/Game Licensing Agent, especially since worldwide there are relatively few legitimate professional Agents in this business. My goal in writing this whitepaper is to help explain some of the advantages in working with an experienced Agent. 

 

Some key benefits:

  • An extensive network of long-time & trusted industry relationships with Inventor relations teams, Company executives, contract lawyers, accounting personnel, Brand managers, etc.

  • A broad understanding of the market and how things work

  • Resourceful knowledge and experience behind the scenes

  • Greater access to companies who only work with professional inventors

  • Expert acumen for contract negotiation, which protects and assures fairness between all parties

  • A steady flow of innovation presentations to many Toy companies

  • Allows creators to focus on developing new concepts while a reliable & trusted advocate is continuously presenting to the market

  • Have good insights for tweaking concept presentations

  • International presence, at industry events

  • They usually know which companies are not “inventor friendly” and who exploit them

Companies like to work with Professional Agents because it provides many benefits to them. 

  • They have a broad understanding of the industry and how things work,

  • Deals get done quicker and more efficiently, when the Agent has worked with the Company before.

  • Expert knowledge in contract negotiation

  • Established level of professional protocol in communications, presentations, conflict resolution, etc.

  • A potential to see a variety of concepts applicable to more than one category

  • Confidence that the concepts being presented are vetted, qualified and appropriate for the Company

There is a cost associated with handing your baby over to someone else. 

  • The royalty split can range from 50/50 and downward depending on any number of variables such as # of partners, quality & level of presentation & supporting assets

  • I don’t believe Agents should ever receive a higher % of the royalty split than the IP Creator.

  • Most Agents may charge a nominal review fee to offset the cost of due diligence for a submission

  • The inventor should never be asked to pay high fee’s upfront, or other fees for patent apps, design work etc. If it feels like an “upsell” this may be the only way they make money, so beware. 

  • Always check the Agents reputation online, with trade associations as well as industry insiders if possible.

  • An established Agent should have verifiable deals as proof that they actually have success in the industry!

  • Any Agent worth their salt, earns their money based on successfully getting deals done.

  • Nominal fee’s that are mutually agreed on for marketing a concept, if at all, should be kept to a minimum.

  • If you have several different concepts, you may want to limit the Agent to one item at a time.

I believe that inventors are visionaries who by definition see into the future. A great product will eventually find a home if it can stand the test of time. This was proven to me when I placed Scrabble Slam with Hasbro which they rejected 3 times earlier, then new circumstances arose & they bought it and went on to sell over 3 million decks the following year! This also happened with Power Quest which I pitched to companies on and off for close to 20 years.  I finally licensed it to a French manufacturer and the following year…it was France’s “Game of the year”!!!

 

Surprisingly many products have been picked up the second or third time they’ve been shown.  The point is that most professional Agents see the potential of a great concept and have “thick skin” even if it has to be shown to several companies more than once.

 

In summary, while you have many choices of presenting and hopefully licensing a new concept with a Company, working with a legitimate Agent, could be worthwhile. In reality, it will certainly save you time and prevent costly errors that may be avoided should you go it alone! Good luck with any direction you chose making sure that no matter what, you have fun along the way!