Timing is everything when it comes to licensing. You often hear the term “ahead of the curve.” It’s the case for many intellectual properties, especially something that changes a marketplace or is a game-changer. Think of search engines and social media as two examples.
That’s why it’s important to be consistent in your licensing activities. Because tomorrow something can happen that triggers an opportunity for your IP. The pandemic is a global example of market dynamics. When it hit, the demand for everything from masks, devices, formulas, and vaccines skyrocketed, creating huge licensing opportunities.
Another example is content such as entertainment, books, or computer games. Some of these appear to be overnight licensing phenomena, but in reality, the market dynamics changed. The big entertainment properties I licensed while at the studios weren’t overnight hits. They’d been around for decades, as a book, comic, or even TV show. But something in the market shifted, and suddenly, they went from no interest to million-dollar licensing deals.
Any number of things impact the opportunity for your IP – trends, fads, crises, and more. Many times it breaths new life into your IP. Retro brands are a good example. Many of these “old” brands were gone from the public site. But then something shifted in the marketplace, such as demographics looking for nostalgia. Suddenly, these “nostalgic brands” are back in demand, creating new licensing opportunities for companies to capitalize on.
Or an IP that failed in one form or market can be changed to create new market demand. When the market for its Blackberry devices took a nosedive, the company reinvented itself by licensing its brand and security technology to other companies expanding their brand name into new product categories and markets.
Remember, timing is everything. The marketplace is very dynamic. It’s always changing. What is cold today can be hot tomorrow. But if you’re not proactive with your licensing activities, you can wind up missing your window of opportunity.