Absolute beginners

The licensing industry in Europe alone is worth billions of dollars. In simple terms it works by manufacturers buying rights (the license) to use the intellectual property of others (artwork, characters, graphics, brands, logos, sports, even movies and TV shows) on their products. From the basic application of a cartoon character to a T-shirt, right through to original high-tech creations of video games or complex toys, licensing can help all manufacturers boost sales and profits, and build awareness and profile with both consumers and trade.

So how do we go about this licensing business? How does it work, what are our basic steps? Licenses deal in intellectual property – and a good analogy is with real estate property. Suppose you want to buy a house. To find one, you go and talk to an estate agent. The estate agent will have lots of houses on his books, good, bad and indifferent. So you choose two or three likely properties and go and view them to decide which one is right for you. Make your choice, agree the price with the agent, get the legal side sorted, and its all done. Simple!