Q: Can new [patented] products limit their legal, public usage if intended for advertising?

Have a product idea, but wondering about some marketing kickbacks, so I'm going to use an example to explain what I mean...

Pretend I invented baseball caps and patent the product. Everyone decides they like them, so people buy and use them. Suddenly, a large corporation wants to put their logo on one and have athletes wear them on TV (they'll just stitch their logo on). Players agree on a sponsorship amount that the company will pay them for wearing the hat.

As the inventor of the hat, you are cut out of the deal b/c it's simple enough to modify the hat for this opportunity. If you had your way, you would get a cut of that sponsorship because the ability to market a company or brand in this way didn't exist until you invented (and patented) the hat. Without you, this specific type of sponsorship and advertising medium would not exist.

Without limiting individual sales, can you limit the usage of your product in marketing or advertising by those seeking sponsorship?

1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Pittsboro, NC

A: If you have sufficient bargaining power, you can sell your product to individuals with a different deal to different groups.

So you can license one company to get the hats with a logo but you might control that you would be paid to apply to logo to the hat and build the profit margin in.

This happens in certain rare cases such as a company with a patent on a research tool to find important drugs. Their license to allow others to use this tool may include a royalty stream on the drugs found using the tool.

This intensive set of individualized licenses is the exception rather than the rule as most products do not justify creating an expensive license for each deal.

Once you let hats out into the marketplace, you have already been paid for the hat and the use of the hat by others is normally going to be beyond your control, just as I can repaint my car another color after buying a car covered by many patents.

I hope that this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

1 user found this answer helpful

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