Ok, so I'm looking for ways to create a steady stream of income with my business as things are rough when you're just starting out and I had heard about licensing. But after reading into it, it sounds like I would need to have invented something in order to do so, and need a patent. Is this true? I'd like to find a way to get my unique stylish accessories into the millions of style-savvy diabetics around the world, but not with all the large corporate headaches, but still have design control and say. Is this really possible??

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First let me start by saying great site - stylish and very inviting!

As for your legal question: “…it sounds like I would need to have invented something in order to do so, and need a patent. Is this true?”

No. You do not need to have invented something and have a patent for you to license your product. A licensing agreement is simply a contract that gives the “licensee” the right for use, and the “licensor” the right to receive compensation for that use. However, when it economically makes sense, it would be best to protect your business by investigating whether you can place a patent or copyright on your product. Without a patent or copyright, someone could view your website and replicate your business idea themselves. My advice to you is to consult an intellectual property attorney to investigate whether your product can be protected under patent or copyright law so that you have legal recourse against infringement.

Until your patent or copyright is finalized, you can ward off some infringement by stating that your products are “patent pending” or using the © symbol next to your products. Also, when you sit down with potential licensees, make sure you bring a non-disclosure non-compete agreement that they must sign before you start revealing information about your product and business.
Thank you very much for that insightful answer, and for the compliemt ;) I guess my real issue is that I want to grow my company into a multi-million dollar force...but not sure how I could do that without the funding, the network or the know-how??? That's what got me thinking about licensing. But certainly your information will be put into my 'go with me everywhere little pink book'

Thank you again.
As a new Member, I have only just come across this Thread, and it has obviously become a little cold.

However, since I note that you are seeking "world domination", it is worth mentioning that you will have automatic (that means: free, costs you zilch, and you don't need to file anything to get it) Design Right in Europe for 3 years from the date the design was first made known to the relevant circles in Europe (in effect from the date you first showed your Designs to European potential purchasers or they had the opportunity to buy through an outlet).

In addition you can validly file a European Community Design Registration, giving you up to 25 years ownershiop of the Design, up to one year after the Design has been made known to the interested circles in Europe.

So: see if it sells in Europe, then file for a Community Design within one year of first disclosure.
As a rule of thumb, to license something, you do need to have it registered with the government. Depending upon what it is, it may be a trademark, copyright, design patent, or utility patent. Trademarks can cover unique names or logos, copyrights can cover unique printed designs. Design patents can cover unique decorative aspects of functional products, and utility patents can cover unique functional aspects of your product. As another rule of thumb, register with the government before trying to license, as otherwise your product can be more easily copied, and/or you may be at risk of losing the rights to your idea.
....but not in Europe for protection of designs (appearance rather than function), as noted in my contribution of 27th January 2009. Few US businesses appreciate the low cost and speed with which a Registered Community Design Registration can be obtained in Europe (Grant within days), and that they can validly apply up to one year after commercialisation; or that they have a measure of protection against copying by Unregistered Design Right for 3 years for free!

There's not much you get for nothing these days, but the fact is that you do in Europe.

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