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So you’ve had a brilliant thought that you’re sure people will pay good money for…but now it’s a question of just how to sell your ideas to actually make money from this stroke of genius.

Well, it’s time to find some companies that pay for invention ideas so they can buy yours!

That is, if you’re the kind of person that has amazing ideas all the time but are never sure how to put them into action to make some extra money for yourself, finding out how to sell ideas to companies in this article could be just what you need.

It’s worth mentioning that convincing companies to buy ideas isn’t necessarily the easiest way to make money. In particular, it will definitely take a dash of creativity combined with a knack for seeing gaps in the market or problems that you think you know how to solve.

But working with these companies that pay for ideas – especially if you’re sure you’ve had a great stroke of brilliance – can definitely be a way to make some serious extra cash.

And one of the best possible outcomes of selling your invention to companies that buy ideas is if you get paid royalties on an ongoing basis. 

This is ideal for anyone who has an invention idea but no money to bring it to market.

It also means you could find yourself being able to get paid for your ideas on an ongoing basis with no extra work needed on your part – which is the very definition of passive income!

Table of Contents

Companies that pay for invention ideas

No matter which market your stroke of genius falls under, there’s likely to be a company that buys ideas willing to pay you for it.

After all, they all want to make money too – and your idea may be just what they need to do so.

1. Sharper Image

Sharper Image provides the latest in toys, gadgets and other technology – but in order to stay ahead of the competition, they regularly need new ideas.

This is why they have a team dedicated to looking into ideas that are submitted to them by the public.

When submitting your idea, you’ll have to provide:

  • A description of your product
  • Photos (if you’ve already developed a sample)
  • Mock-up drawings (if the product hasn’t been developed yet)

They also pay for ideas of products that have already started to be sold (unless you’ve already sold the idea to another company, of course). This could be a good option for you if you’ve sold some pieces of your idea that you’ve made yourself somewhere like Etsy, eBay or in-person at a market.

a team brainstorming for companies that pay for ideas

If this is the case for your idea, you’ll also have to provide information like:

  • Where you’ve sold the item
  • How many have been sold
  • How much money you’ve made

2. 3M

You’ve probably heard of 3M given that it sells items in a range of categories. Its main focuses are on office supplies and electronics, but it also ventures into things like healthcare products.

3M is always looking to expand its product line, which is why it welcomes the submission of new ideas for it to buy.

You can submit information about your idea, and see the terms that apply to your submission, here.

two woman working to make money for companies that pay for ideas

3. Henkel

Henkel owns, among other things, the company responsible for producing Dial soap and Right Guard deodorant, although its subsidiary companies also sell a range of other products primarily in the areas of beauty care, laundry and home care, and “adhesive technologies”.

They’re also very interested in new ideas for innovation in these areas. This can include ideas for brand new products or solutions to issues with existing product formulation, packaging and processes.

a woman thinking what companies pay for ideas

Interestingly, they specifically emphasize that they’re interested in ideas from students and customers in particular, which could be perfect for any college student looking for an online job.

Click here to find out more information.

4. Dorman Products, Inc.

Dorman is dedicated to products in the homeware, hardware and automotive categories and is always looking for new ideas in these areas. 

This can include brand new ideas or ways to improve their existing product line.

Contact them here to find out more.

woman writing her idea in a notebook to take to a company that pays for invention ideas

5. BD

BD is in the field of developing and selling medical technology and is always open to hearing new ideas in this area.

Ideas have to be submitted by mail accompanied by a form they provide that involves accepting certain terms of submission. 

See more here, including to download the form and find their mailing address for new product suggestions.

a woman in front of her laptop working for company that pay for ideas

6. Jokari Home Solutions

Jokari Home Solutions specializes in, perhaps unsurprisingly based on its name, homewares, particularly kitchen gadgets and other items around the house, like storage solutions.

They also describe themselves as actively searching for new ideas all the time. Potential inventors should visit this page to express their interest, following which Jokari will get in touch with you to provide more details on the idea submission process.

7. Wilson

There are quite a few sports-related companies that pay for ideas, one of the biggest of which is Wilson.

You’ve probably heard of Wilson from seeing its familiar “W” logo on tennis balls or other sporting goods. And if you’re passionate about sports, you could have had your own great idea on something new that Wilson could put its “W” on.

If this sounds like you, take a look at the “Wilson Idea Portal” here.

a man sitting on the floor with his laptop working for company that pay for ideas

8. Rico

Rico is another company specializing in sporting equipment, especially for the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. 

They’re also on the lookout for new product ideas, which could be just what you’re looking for if you’ve ever been hit by a flash of inspiration while watching a game in one of these leagues.

Their criteria for new product ideas and the process of submission is set out here.

9. Escalade

Escalade is yet another sporting goods manufacturer and distributor, specializing in sports such as table tennis, archery, darts, game tables and more.

Their site states directly that those who use their products are also some of the most important innovators in the market.

So if you’ve ever had a brilliant new idea halfway through a game of one of these sports, why not contact them using the information here.

10. Under Armour 

Under Armour is one of the leaders in the market for sporting apparel and very openly welcomes new ideas for products from the general public.

Their page on how to do this is extremely detailed and should have all the information you need, so why not check it out.

a man writing his ideas

11. Eco-Products

While society as a whole moves away from single use products, companies are desperate to think of new ways to replace these – and make good money while doing so.

This is why Eco-Products encourages the submission of ideas for new products and services that could fit into its business model. Find out more here.

12. Play with a Purpose

Play with a Purpose specializes in products for active play – essentially, things that get kids moving.

And if you have a working prototype, a drawing, or an original idea that you think would achieve this, they’re looking to hear from you.

You can either give them a call at the number here to know more or submit an email on that page.

13. Idea Buyer

Idea Buyer is interesting in that its work is in launching new product ideas. It claims to have products sold in stores like Walmart, Macy’s, Home Depot, Amazon and more.

Rather than developing your idea itself, they help you to bring it to market with a potential partner store. This has the advantage of potentially putting your idea in front of a major producer like one of the stores above, which you may not have been able to do as just an everyday inventor.

The company is interested in hearing from anyone looking to sell your ideas in relation to any type of product, so go here to find out more.

woman in front of a whiteboard thinking about some ideas

14. Hyper Pet LLC

Hyper Pet is in the business of selling pet toys and other accessories. Their CEO has also been very open in the past on his willingness to work with people with new ideas.

And given that the pet industry is worth $66.75 billion annually, there’s certainly money to be made.

If you have an idea in this field, contact Hyper Pet here for more information.

15. Mustang Survival

Mustang Survival is in a fairly niche industry in that it provides products for water rescue professionals, military elites and commercial/industrial mariners.

But given the work of these people, their products can literally be a matter of life and death.

This is why they’re always looking for new and innovative ideas for their products. Find out more here.

a man and woman working for company that pay for invention

16. Unilever

Unilever is one of the biggest companies in the world and is the parent company for brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Rexona, Omo and many, many more.

They also encourage new practical innovations from literally anyone. And given the range of products that fall under the Unilever umbrella, your idea could be in almost any product category you can think of.

See here for how to do this.

woman writing in a notebook to sell her ideas for money

17. Spin Master

Spin Master is a master at selling toys and states that they are always on the lookout for new product ideas.

For example, see this Hershey’s Chocolate Maker? This came from an idea submitted to them.

If you think you can do the same and want to sell your ideas to them, take a look at their Inventors’ page here.

18. Oxo

Oxo specializes in kitchen and other homewares, such as bakeware, storage items and cleaning tools.

They also have a product development team that welcomes new ideas. When submitting your idea, you’ll also be asked to submit drawings, photographs or videos (if you’ve produced the item already) along with a written description of the idea.

Find out more here.

a woman writing down her invention ideas

19. Google

The Google Play store lets you sell apps you’ve already developed there. But if you’re only at the thinking-about-it stage and are looking for companies that buy ideas for apps, you can also approach Google to see if they’re interested in investing in the development of your app.

This will only be available to real game changing apps but if you think your idea might fill the bill, then this can be a really lucrative option.

20. King

King is the developer of some of the most popular mobile games of all time, including Candy Crush. 

They’re always interested in what might be the next big thing so if you think you have an addictive game idea on your hands, it could be worth reaching out to them.

woman on her phone looking for companies that pay for ideas

21. IdeaPros

IdeaPros describes themselves as a “strategic partner for entrepreneurs”. They’re in the business of helping people get paid for ideas by supporting them in the process of building, launching and distributing apps. That means that for if you’re looking to sell your ideas, they can be the ideal go-to.

22. FundedApps

FundedApps exists to buy your app ideas. You do have to pay a few dollars to submit it but, if they end up putting your app on sale, you’ll get a 25% cut of all revenue going forward.

23. Mobile App Fund

Like others on this list, Mobile App Fund’s business is dedicated to new app ideas. They offer up to $1 million per app for development, distribution and marketing and, if your app gets to the point of being released to the public, you’ll share in the profit.

a woman holding a paper and thinking if she will sell her invention to companies that pay for ideas

24. Apple

Much like the Google Play store, Apple’s App Store lets you sell your already-developed app. If, however, you think your app has the possibility of making bank (even if it’s only at the idea stage), you can reach out to Apple directly. 

In a few cases, they’ve been interested in purchasing app ideas directly – and, as I’m sure you can imagine, getting your app idea bought by Apple is definitely worth it.

man on laptop looking for companies that buy app ideas

25. GungHo Online

GungHo Online is another company that has gotten huge with their own apps and are always on the lookout for new app ideas.

26. ArtJoker

ArtJoker specializes in web and mobile application development. This makes them always ready to hear new app ideas that they may be able to buy off you, develop and re-sell.

27. Supercell

Known for developing some major mobile game apps, Supercell welcomes the submission of new app ideas. Just go to their website, submit the information they ask for and you’re on your way.

a young man holding his tablet working for company that pay for ideas

28. Flippa

If you’ve already had your app developed, one way to sell it to companies is through an online marketplace like Flippa. It’s the biggest platform in the world for selling products like websites and other online businesses. This makes it also a great option for selling your app.

There are several websites that exist for the purpose of selling apps and other online products, like domain names. One of the advantages of selling your idea like this is that you’ll take home almost the entire price that you sell it for.

person on laptop looking for how to sell ideas online to companies that pay for ideas

The websites do take a small fee, but it’s much less than what other middlemen companies ask for. However, the downside is that you can’t just sell an idea on its own – you have to have the app developed already as you’ll be selling the code.

In the case of Flippa, because it’s so well known, you’re likely to have access to the most potential buyers here. Buyers also don’t pay a fee on purchases made through the site (although sellers do), which really maximizes your audience.

While most apps sell on there for a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. However, there are also apps advertised with a starting price of $100,000, so the potential for making good money here is huge.

29. Fliptopia

Fliptopia is solely dedicated to people who want to buy and sell apps. This means that anyone who visits any ads you post to sell your app is definitely there for that reason.

The advertised prices are similar to those on Flippa so, in theory, you could advertise on both – then sit back and see what reaction you get from potential buyers.

30. New Soda

New Soda is a company producing kitchen gadgets. The company is ready to pay for ideas from designers, inventors, and just ordinary people who would use kitchen gadgets every day. If they like your idea, they will invest in getting your product made. There is a submission form on the company’s website that you need to fill out and describe your idea. 

You should also attach your drawings or concepts if you have any. Don’t forget to include your contact details as well so that they know how to get in touch with you when they’re ready to rain money down on you for your idea!

a woman with eyeglasses holding her tablet

31. FastCap

FastCap is a company that specializes in innovative woodworking products that also gives you an opportunity to get paid for your ideas. Usually, it receives ideas from contractors and cabinetmakers, and you can submit your idea as well. The company pays from 2% to 5% royalties on new and innovative ideas. 

This royalty rate is based on the price that the company sells the new product to a distributor for. Some products that require intensive and time-consuming development dictate a smaller royalty. Royalties are paid on the monthly basis.

32. Crown

Crown is an American company located in Philadelphia, PA that produces aerosol containers, metal beverage and food cans, specialty packaging, closures and capping. They are among the leaders in metal packaging technology with offices in 47 countries. 

There is an open innovation portal on their website, where you can submit your ideas. Usually, they respond within 30 days of receiving an application.

man thinking and writing

33. Hillman Group

Hillman is considered a leader in builder and hardware solutions with a wide selection of products. The company produces and sells hardware, safety and security products, keys, engravings, fasteners, etc. 

To maintain their leading status in this field, Hillman Group is always open to new ideas from inventors, especially if these ideas are backed up with experience and knowledge.

34. Garden Weasel

Garden Weasel is a company specializing in professional gardening tools, including such original tools as the Weasel Nut Gather, Weasel Cultivator, and Weasel Claw Pro. In total, there are over 1,000 high-quality tools, which makes Garden Weasel one of the leaders in this industry. 

If you have any innovative ideas, you should contact the company directly and send them a well-crafted email with your idea’s description.

a man and woman in front of a laptop working for company that pay for ideas

35. All Star Innovations

For over 20 years, this company has been known as a go-to partner for creative inventors. It has helped hundreds of their clients by making their ideas a reality. Among their clients are Debbie Meyer Green Bags, Snuggie, Magic Mesh Hands-free Screen Decor, and others. The company has also partnered with such retailers as Walmart, Macy’s, and Amazon. 

If you have an idea, you can submit this to them by completing a four-step application process on their website.

36. Nautilus, Inc

This company, founded in 1986, specializes in manufacturing exercise equipment, including stationery bikes and treadmills. Nautilus is well known for its popular brands, such as JRNY, Nautilus, Bowflex, and others. 

In order to help customers stay motivated, the company accepts patented and published patent-pending ideas. In order to submit your idea, you should visit the company’s website.

woman thinking and writing

37. General Mills

The specialization of this US-based company is agriculture. It produces products for farmers that will help them to make healthy food and use environmentally friendly technology. It is well-known for partnerships with such companies as Natur Valley, Yoplait, and Tyson pet treats. 

General Mills is ready to consider new ideas that are technology-based so feel free to get in touch with them if you think yours is a fit.

38. Hasbro

Hasbro is one of the biggest global play and entertainment companies that pay for invention ideas. It specializes in manufacturing toys, action figures, and other entertainment products, including Monopoly, Scrabble, and others. 

The company welcomes new and original ideas for games, puzzles, and toys, and accepts them online. You must be at least 18 years old, and you must submit an application that consists of the description of your product and target audience. You also need to include at least one photo or video.

a person working on his laptop working for company that pay for ideas

39. Zing

Another toy company that you can sell your ideas online to is Zing. It creates high-action toys, the purpose of which is to encourage children to stay active. Their most famous toys are Klikbot, the Hyper Strike, and Go Go Bird. 

In order to sell ideas to them, you need to go to their website and fill in the application form with a description of your idea. If your idea fits the current feel of the company, it will be accepted.

40. Oak Patch Gifts

Oak Patch Gifts is a company specializing in creative gifts with positive messages. The company makes mugs, flip flops, baby onesies, and other unique gifts for nearly any occasion. 

If you have a gift idea and it is innovative, you can go to the company’s website and inquire about submitting your idea.

woman typing on laptop while reading written notes

41. Coleman

Among the companies that pay for ideas is Coleman, a company you may have heard of due to it being well known for producing outdoor recreation equipment. It sells all types of outdoor equipment that you may need for your outdoor recreation, including tents, coolers, sleeping bags, camp furniture, and other essentials. 

If you have any innovative ideas, you can contact the company’s contact center. First, your idea will be reviewed and, if it is accepted, you will be paid.

42. Coastal Pet Products

Coastal Pet Products is an authorized dealer in pet products that make special pet collars helping to properly groom your pet. It is a great platform for pet lovers, who want to pitch their ideas and get paid for them. 

The company is constantly looking for ways to provide pets and their owners with a better life, so they review all relevant ideas. In order to suggest your idea and become the company’s partner, you need to contact them.

a woman writing her ideas on a notebook

43. Pro Performance Sports

If you are a sports fan, another company that gives you an opportunity to get paid for ideas is Pro Performance Sports. It specializes in producing sporting equipment, training items, and gear in such fields as hockey, tennis, volleyball, football, basketball, etc. 

If you have an idea that may be useful for sports training, visit the website of the company for more information about idea submission.

44. Dewalt

Dewalt is a well-known brand in the world of power tools and accessories. With a reputation for quality and reliability, it’s no wonder that the company is always on the lookout for new and innovative ideas to add to their product line. 

Whether you have a concept for a new tool or accessory, or you’ve invented a unique feature that could improve existing products, Dewalt is a company worth considering to sell your ideas.

colleagues in front of a computer working for company that pay for ideas

45. Fila

Fila is a leading brand in the world of sportswear and footwear. They are always on the lookout for new and innovative ideas to improve their products and are open to receiving ideas from inventors and entrepreneurs. 

If you have a great idea for a new piece of sportswear or footwear, Fila is one of the biggest companies that buy ideas like these, so could be the perfect fit for you.

46. Philip Morris International

Philip Morris International, the leading tobacco brand, is always on the lookout for innovative ideas to add to their product line, whether it’s a new cigarette or smoke-free product. In fact, when it comes to companies that pay for invention ideas in these fields, they’re definitely one of the leaders. 

So if you have a smoking-hot idea, they’re ready to ignite it! (…sorry, couldn’t help myself)

a team brainstorming ideas for a project

47. Cal-Van Tools

Cal-Van Tools is another brand that specializes in high-quality tools and accessories. Known for their innovative design and durable construction, Cal-Van Tools is always open to new ideas that could enhance their product line. 

If you have a concept for a new tool or accessory, or you’ve invented a unique feature that could improve existing products, Cal-Van Tools could be a great fit to sell ideas you have in this space.

48. Avery

Avery is a brand that is well-known for their range of products including office and stationery supplies, labels, and much more. 

This means that if you’re looking to pitch an idea to a company and get paid with respect to a new office or stationery product, Avery could be the perfect company for this. 

women holding paper and pen working for company that pay for ideas

49. New Balance

New Balance is definitely a name you’ve heard of in the world of athletic footwear and apparel. With a focus on innovation and quality, New Balance is always on the lookout for new ideas to enhance their product line. 

If you have some great ideas for a new piece of athletic footwear or apparel, New Balance could be the perfect place to sell your ideas for money.

50. Mattel

If you’ve ever owned a toy, you’re almost guaranteed to have had a Mattel product, being one of the world leaders in toys and games. 

They’re constantly looking for new and exciting ideas to add to their product line and are open to innovative ideas from inventors and entrepreneurs. So if you want to sell an idea to a company for a unique idea for a toy or game, Mattel could be a great fit.

a woman holding a document and a pen thinking about selling her invention to companies that pay for ideas

51. Knight & Hale

Knight & Hale is a brand that specializes in hunting and fishing gear. They’re also one of the leading companies that pay for ideas in this space, given they’re interested in new and innovative ideas that could enhance their product line and are open to hearing from inventors and entrepreneurs. 

So got a unique idea for a hunting or fishing product? Knight & Hale could be just the ones to talk to.

52. RB

RB is a leading brand in the world of health, hygiene, and home care products. With a focus on innovation and improving people’s lives, RB is always seeking new ideas to add to their product line. 

This means that if you have a great idea for a health, hygiene, or home care product and want to get paid for your ideas, RB could be the right company to approach.

a woman thinking about selling her invention to company that pay for ideas

53. Spectrum Brands

Spectrum Brands is a well-known name in the world of consumer products. They have a broad range of products, including home and garden, personal care, and pet care products. 

Given the sheer range of product lines they carry, there’s a good chance your idea could fit into one of them, meaning that Spectrum Brands should be high on your list when looking to sell an idea to a company.

54. WillowWood

WillowWood is a brand that specializes in prosthetics and orthotics. They are dedicated to improving people’s lives through innovative and effective products and are one of the leading companies looking for ideas in this space from inventors and entrepreneurs. 

This means that your idea could have the dual benefit of helping people live better lives and making you some good money – a great combination, I think we can all agree.

a woman in front of her laptop working for company that pay for ideas

55. DJO

DJO is a leading brand in the world of medical devices and rehabilitation products. With a focus on improving patient outcomes, DJO is always seeking new ideas to add to their product line. 

Similar to WillowWood, this could be the perfect option if you have an idea that can help others. And being able to sell your ideas for money, meaning it can also help your finances, isn’t anything to shy away from either. 

56. Medtronic

Medtronic is another well-known brand in the medical device industry. They offer a wide range of products, including cardiovascular, diabetes, and spinal and neurosurgery products. 

This means, similarly, if you’re looking to sell your ideas for a new medical device that fits within one of the company’s areas of interest, Medtronic could be the right fit for your idea.

a man with a pen and notebook

57. Applied Medical

Applied Medical is a brand that specializes in surgical products. They are committed to innovation and improving patient outcomes and are open to hearing ideas from inventors and entrepreneurs. 

Got a unique idea for a surgical product? Applied Medical could be the perfect company to bring it to market.

58. Hershey

Hershey is a brand well-known for its confectionery products. With a focus on taste and innovation, Hershey is always interested in adding new products to its line. 

So if you see yourself as the next Willy Wonka and are looking for companies that buy ideas in this space, Hershey should definitely be one of your go-tos.

a woman working at home

59. Coca-Cola

Ok, so you’ve probably heard of Coca-Cola. Just keep in mind though that they don’t only sell soda, as they also have a wide range of other beverage products, including juices, and sports drinks. 

This means that if you have an idea for a new beverage, whether or not it’s soda, Coca-Cola could be the right place to sell your ideas for money.

60. Lear

Lear is a brand that specializes in automotive products, including seats, electrical systems, and complete interiors. 

With a focus on innovation and quality, Lear is always looking to improve its product line. If you have an idea for an automotive product, Lear could be the right fit for you.

a woman working on her laptop with a cup of coffee

61. C.R. Bard

C.R. Bard is another one of the companies that pay for invention ideas in the field of medical products, especially those in vascular, urology, and oncology care. 

This means that, much like the earlier medical companies I mentioned, they could be good to approach if you have an idea in one of these areas.

62. Plaid

Plaid is a brand that focuses on cutting-edge financial technology and offers a variety of data management and payment processing services. 

So, if you have an idea for a new fintech product, Plaid could be the right place to sell your idea for money.

a woman working for company that pay for ideas

Why would a company pay for your idea?

There are a few reasons why companies would pay for an idea. First, they might not have the resources or expertise to come up with the idea themselves. By paying for an outside idea, they can get access to a new product or invention much faster than if they developed it themselves.

Another reason why companies might pay for an idea is because they believe it will be profitable. If they think that the product or invention will sell well, they’re willing to invest in it upfront. In this way, they can get a head start on the competition and start making money sooner.

a man holding a pen thinking about selling his invention to companies that pay for ideas

Finally, companies might pay for an idea because they believe it will give them a competitive advantage. If the product or invention is unique, it can help the company stand out in a crowded market. This can lead to increased sales, more brand recognition, and a higher overall valuation for the company.

So, if you have an idea that you think is worth paying for, don’t be afraid to reach out to companies. You never know what could happen!

Can you sell an idea without a patent?

Yes, you can sell an idea without a patent. However, it’s important to understand the limitations and risks involved in doing so, particularly the fact that a patent gives you exclusive rights to your idea for a certain period of time. 

This means that no one else can make, use, or sell your idea without your permission. If you have a patent, it makes it much easier to sell your idea to a company because they know they have protection from competitors.

However, obtaining a patent can be expensive and time-consuming. It can take several years to get a patent approved, and the process can be complicated. So, if you don’t have the resources or patience to get a patent, you can still try to sell your idea without one.

a woman writing her ideas

When you sell an idea without a patent, it’s important to have a strong contract in place. This contract should outline the terms of the sale, including what the company can and cannot do with your idea. It should also include any compensation you will receive for the idea.

It’s also important to be cautious when selling an idea without a patent. Companies may be hesitant to invest in an idea that isn’t protected, and there is a risk that someone else could steal your idea. 

To mitigate this risk, you could consider working with a reputable patent attorney to draft a non-disclosure agreement.

Is there a job where you get paid to give ideas?

Yes, if you’re creative and have a talent for coming up with innovative solutions, there are several jobs where you can get paid for your ideas. In fact, teams with such people are very important in companies that produce new products, meaning there are definitely job opportunities for you in this field.

One such job is a creative consultant. Creative consultants work with clients to come up with new and innovative ideas for their businesses. They might be hired to develop marketing campaigns, design new products, or come up with fresh approaches to business challenges.

a woman working on her laptop

Another job where you can get paid for your ideas is an innovation specialist. Innovation specialists help organizations find new and better ways of doing things. They might be hired to conduct market research, lead brainstorming sessions, or develop strategies for growth and improvement.

Product designers and inventors are also in high demand, as companies are always on the lookout for the next big thing. These professionals use their creative skills to design and develop new products that meet the needs of consumers.

Finally, there are jobs in research and development (R&D), where you can get paid to come up with ideas and test their viability. R&D professionals use their scientific and technical expertise to develop new products, processes, and technologies.

How much do you get paid for an invention?

The amount you’ll get paid for an invention can vary from $100 to millions of dollars in rare cases. Notably, you can expect to earn at the higher end of the scale if you negotiate a deal that lets you collect royalties every time your product is sold.

Of course, there are a ton of variables involved, so it’s hard to say exactly how much companies that pay for ideas will give you if they end up buying yours. It’s also important to be realistic that, in most cases, you’re not going to make millions of dollars using this strategy.

But the possibility is there to get paid serious money if your idea is sufficiently unique. So if you think that’s you, this can definitely be a way to make some serious cash.

How do I get paid for my invention idea?

There are different ways to get paid from companies that buy ideas:

  • Get paid a set amount for your idea in a lump sum
  • Receive a percentage of any profit made on an ongoing basis as royalties under a licensing agreement
  • Be paid a set amount for each item or unit of item that’s sold. For example, they may agree to pay $0.10 per item or $10 per thousand items. This would also be based on the terms of a licensing agreement.

How much royalties do inventors get?

An inventor can expect to receive from 2% to 10% of net revenue as royalties, with royalty rates of 5% or less being the most common. This can still be extremely lucrative for the inventor, though.

Royalties are generally the most lucrative way to sell your idea and can generate literally hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for inventors. This person, for example, earned $100,000 in one year through royalties for a toy he designed for $10.

woman working on laptop

It comes down to the ability of the company that pays for your idea to effectively distribute and market the item and whether or not there’s demand. If you manage to hit both, things will generally be good.

And don’t forget that, in most cases, there’s no age limit in terms of who can submit a proposal to companies that buy ideas. This means that if you’re a teenager looking to make money, this could be very lucrative for you too.

How do I sell my idea to a big company?

While the exact process may differ slightly depending on the nature of your idea and the specific company you’re looking to work with, generally speaking, the process of selling your idea to a big company is as follows:

  1. Do extensive market research. Sure, you’ve had an idea, but you need to know if there’s actually an audience for it. Not only will this help you see if it’s worth taking your idea forward, but you may also need this to help sell the company on your idea.
  2. Check the legalities. No company will buy your invention idea if it infringes someone else’s patent, so do everything you can to find out if your idea exists already.
  3. Determine the companies you’ll target. All of the companies that pay for ideas on this list will let you submit invention ideas – but not all of them will probably be interested in your product. This is why you should research which companies are on your radar so you can start preparing to target them.
  4. Figure out your negotiating strategy. You may feel like that you should accept any offer that a company throws at you, but you are able to negotiate in the vast majority of cases. For example, will you only accept payment through royalties or will you consider other payment methods?
  5. Start preparing your pitch. For some companies that pay for invention ideas on this list, you simply submit your idea through a form, cross your fingers and wait for the green light from them. For others, though, submitting the idea is just the first step and you may have to sell them on it at a later stage. That said, this is definitely something that’s easier said than done, so I’d strongly recommend doing some research into how the pros recommend you do this.
a woman reading

    How do you sell an idea to a company without them stealing it?

    To ensure that a company don’t steal an idea that you’re pitching to them, either patent-protect your idea or ensure that a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is in place. With an NDA, the company won’t be able to use the information they receive from you without your consent.

    It’s worth noting that patent protection can be very costly, so it may not be an option for you. That’s why many choose to go down the NDA route – although it’s also a good idea to have a lawyer involved here, at least to draft the NDA template for you so that the company can simply sign on the dotted line.

    person writing in notebook next to coffee and laptop

    However, NDAs aren’t a guarantee as if the company does breach it, you’ll then have to pursue them through legal action – which, in itself, can be extremely expensive. Unfortunately, nothing is risk-free, so this is something you’ll have to weigh up yourself.

    Finally, for many companies on this list, they already have terms and conditions in place that apply if you submit an idea to them, meaning that they’re unlikely to also agree to a separate NDA with more detailed or stricter terms. These likely cover, at least to some extent, various legal protections that are in place for you as the inventor. If that applies to your case, make sure you’re comfortable with these before submitting your idea.

    How much does it cost to patent an idea?

    A patent can cost anywhere between $750 if you do it yourself to up to $40,000 for a top patent lawyer to process it for you.

    Whether or not you need a patent for selling ideas to companies will depend on a number of factors, so it’s best to do your research before spending too much money on this.

    a woman holding her phone while writing

    What is a poor man’s patent?

    A poor man’s patent is the process of sending a description of your invention to yourself by post. The idea is that the date of postage serves as the date of invention and the sealed envelope somehow “authenticates” it.

    Suffice to say, this doesn’t work. At best, it could show that you were the first to have an idea, but this is highly unlikely to stand up legally given how easy it is to open and reseal an envelope.

    Keeping your idea in a (theoretically) sealed envelope also fails to show any development of your invention, which can be important for upholding your rights over an idea.

    In summary: we wouldn’t recommend it.

    a woman signing a document for company that pay for ideas

    Can an invention make you rich?

    An invention can definitely make you rich, especially if there’s a significant market for it and you negotiate a deal that allows you to receive royalties on an ongoing basis. While it’s not necessarily common, people who have had ideas like this have made millions of dollars over time.

    One great example of this is Brian Walker who, in three hours and for zero cost (as he already had the materials on hand to make one), invented a toy known as the Light Chaser. It’s now sold by Disney (you can see an example here) and over 18 years, he’s made over $10 million in royalties. I’m sure you’ll agree that that’s not bad at all.

    You can see an interview with him in the video below, which I really recommend you watch as it’s super interesting hearing how this came about.

    What percentage of inventions are successful?

    One study found that only 6.5% of inventions actually reach the market and, as an independent inventor, you have four to eight times less chance of seeing your idea being developed into a product that’s actually sold compared to inventions created by established companies.

    That doesn’t sound great, of course. After all, it means that 93.5% of inventions don’t go anywhere. And while the study didn’t touch upon it, you should also keep in mind that simply because an invention goes to market doesn’t mean you’ll become wildly rich from it.

    This, in turn, means that you’re looking at something that doesn’t necessarily have a huge rate of success – up to 5% of inventions, at the very most.

    a woman using a laptop

    At the same time, I’d argue that this is probably to be expected. Realistically, you wouldn’t really think that every single idea is going to make every single inventor a millionaire. That’s why we all love reading the stories about someone who made a ton of money from their inventions: because it’s so rare.

    However, it’s also a good lesson learned that you probably shouldn’t sink your life savings into one single idea. After all, if it works out, great! But the data shows that this is far from guaranteed, so make sure you’re protecting yourself just in case you end up disappointed.

    How do you know if your invention is a good idea?

    Some solid indicators that your invention is a good idea is if it solves a problem, if there’s a gap in the market for it and that it’s something that your target audience would be willing and able to purchase. If your idea is too expensive or too impractical for your audience, that lowers the chances of success.

    For example, remember Google Glass? There was certainly a gap in the market for this and many thought that it would be a successful idea given how strongly people had embraced smartphones up to that point.

    a man holding his eyeglasses thinking of selling his invention to companies that pay for ideas

    But it wasn’t long before the product was dropped. Many considered it to be too expensive not to mention significant privacy-related concerns. All this makes it a good example of something that seems good at first actually not addressing the target market’s needs and wants – and if a major inventor like Google can have a failure like that, it shows just how important it is to keep the relevant success factors in mind.

    Final thoughts on selling ideas to companies

    The road to being able to get paid for an idea can be long (and not necessarily guaranteed to be successful) but can also definitely worth it, especially when you see how much money can be earned.

    If you have a unique idea that solves a problem or fills a market gap, and you’re willing to reach out to potential buyers or investors, then you could absolutely be successful with selling your idea. And as you can see from this massive list of companies that buy invention ideas, there are definitely options out there. Just find one that’s specializes in a market area that relates to your idea – and wait for the money to (hopefully) roll in!

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