The Best Advice on Children's Products

Working With A Licensing Agent

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by Andrew Berton
Excel Development Group, Inc.

Why Do I Need A Licensing Agent?
No one willingly shares their potential royalties with someone else but many toy executives don’t have the time to work with new designers. Instead they look at these ideas through an inventor representative, e.g., a bona fide toy licensing agent.

How Do I Choose A Licensing Agent?

There are a handful of reputable agents in the US listed with the major toy companies and most work in a similar way, i.e., charge a fee to review a new idea. Apart from the evaluation process you should choose your licensing agent carefully; he or she will be working on your behalf, so trustworthiness and honesty is absolutely critical.

What Qualities Should Look For In A Licensing Agent?
Call and talk with as many agents as you feel comfortable. Some are focused solely on toys and games, others handle additional categories like novelties and gifts. Does the agent travel overseas and meet with international companies? How many trips a year? Etc. Remember that a good idea can be launched elsewhere in the world and work its way back into the US market.

What Charges Should I Expect To Pay?
A competent toy agent works on a contingent basis, i.e., under a risk-reward arrangement. You should never pay fees for presenting your idea to a company. Entities that charge for this type of service are marketing companies and restricted from operating in several States. While the percentage charged by a good agent is typically 40%-50% the old adage applies: “You get what you pay for!”

What Other Services Are Necessary?
Not all agents provide additional services, some work exclusively on the idea in its presented format. If your prototype needs further development most agents can recommend experienced subcontractors. Some agents have in-house facilities but remember your goal is to invest the bare minimum.

What About Confidentiality?
Most toy agents work under some type of legal agreement. Beware of Non-Disclosure forms in which you waive all your rights. A good agent should provide you with a comprehensive and fair Confidentiality Agreement. Note: You should not be contractually obligated to send them all your ideas in the future.

What Are Toy Companies Looking For?, How Much Can I Earn? Etc.
Many of these questions and more can be answered by visiting our website: You can also call Andrew Berton or Adam Wolff at Excel Development Group, Inc. (612)-374-3233

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