Step #1 involves searching for manufacturers that might be interested in your invention’s patent rights. When locating manufacturers to send your marketing letter to, you should search for companies who already make products similar to your invention.

You should attempt to locate at least 20 to 100 manufacturers in the field of your invention. There are four places you can search for potential licensees:
  1. Your Local Store. You should search your local stores for manufacturers that make products similar to your product (i.e. if you product is a new type of toothbrush, you should go to Wal-Mart and get information about all of the manufacturers of toothbrushes and other similar dental products).

  2. Companies Seeking New Ideas. We have a list of Companies Seeking New Ideas that you should look through to see if there are any companies that are looking for products like yours.

  3. Trade Shows. Visiting a trade show with products similar to yours can be a very valuable resource for you not only for selling your idea, but also for getting suggestions on how to improve it. The Trade Show News Network is a good place to search for upcoming trade shows.

  4. Local Governmental Agencies. Local economic development agencies can be extremely helpful in locating regional manufacturers that might be interested in your idea.

  5. Magazine Advertisements. You should look through magazines that are in the area of your invention for manufacturers who advertise similar products (i.e. if your invention relates to golf, you will want to purchase various golf magazines which have many advertisers within).

  6. Internet Search Engines. Utilize a search engine to search for companies that make products similar to your product (i.e. if your product is a new type of toothbrush, you would type in “toothbrush” in a search engine such as Google).

  7. Local Library. Go to your local library for reference books on different types of manufacturers. There are several books that provide a wealth of information about manufacturers across the United States (e.g. American Business Directories; Thomas Register).

  8. Internet Databases. There are many good databases on the Internet that you can search, such as:

    • Hoovers – Find companies by name, geography and industry.
    • Kompass – Search over 2.3 million companies in 70 countries.
    • ThomasNet – Search for companies by industry type.
You should have no problem locating 20 to 100 manufacturers with these resources at no cost except your time. After locating 20 – 100 manufacturers that would potentially buy or license your patent rights, you should then rank the manufacturers into a list based upon which manufacturers you want to approach first.

You should also contact the companies and ask if there is a specific person or department you should mail your marketing letter to. Step #2 is to prepare your Marketing Letter