Gee, I Like Your IP! Let’s Talk: 3 Steps to the Dance

Situation:  The Company is moving from a specialty solution to a complete solution. They have identified a partner with intellectual property (IP) that will help them fulfill this vision. How should the CEO approach this company to access their IP?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • There are two aspects of any deal: technical feasibility that will produce value; and the emotional needs of the principals.
    • The technical aspects are the most straightforward and easiest to value.
    • Frequently, a favorable deal hinges not on technical feasibility, but on the desires of the principals and their ability to trust one-another.
  • If you are convinced of the value, you must convince the other party that their best option is to work with you. Then you can negotiate the specifics.
    • Sell your vision: the technologies together are much more valuable than they are alone: 1 + 1 = 5!
    • If control of the technology is an issue, you must negotiate an arrangement where they are comfortable with your control.
      • Do you and the other party have a trusted advisor in common or is there an individual who is respected by both of you? This person can help communicate your good intentions.
  • If your best efforts do not produce an appealing arrangement, your fall-back position may be a partnership. If the partnership is backed by modest investment with options for future purchase, this may be another way to for you to eventually gain control of the technology.

Key Words: IP, Intellectual Property, Negotiation, Emotional Needs, Feasibility, Deal, Partnership 

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