You have a patent. Now what?
Your investors want to see results, but you're worried your new patent might just become an expensive plaque on the wall.
Your startup has big potential, but you don't have a plan for how the patent will actually help you get there.
How can you use that asset to build your company?
How Does It Work?
Your patent serves as collateral for a loan. Similar to mortgage insurance we write an insurance policy on your patent. This protects your bank, allowing them to lend money on the asset. Loans can be taken out for $2-5M, and in some cases much more.
You can also use trademarks, trade secrets, FDA clearances, and any other IP assets as collateral.
You need quality patents for a loan
Just because you paid a pretty penny to an attorney at a large firm doesn't necessarily mean your patents are high quality.
Only 1-2% of patents are strong enough to support a loan, but we have the expertise to ensure yours is one of them. We'll review your IP assets to determine if they are good candidates; if they're not, we're happy to make recommendations on how to strengthen your portfolio.
Schedule a time to talk with us. Send us your patent numbers and we will tell you the truth.
Frequently Asked Questions
In general, the effective interest rate for a patent loan will be in the neighborhood of 12-18%.
The patent loan insurance product has a premium that is paid out of the loan proceeds, as well as due diligence fees and insurance premiums for the required enforcement and defense insurance.
When you include interest paid back to a lender, the effective interest rate of the loan will be approximately 12-18%.
Please note that this rate is much lower than angel or venture money, which is typically 50% or more. By taking a loan against the assets you already created, you can get much further without having the negative effects of selling your equity to investors.
No. The patent loan program does not normally require a personal guarantee.
We provide an insurance product that will guarantee a lender in case of a default. However, a lender may still have the final say as to whether or not to require a personal guarantee.
We prefer to provide loans to revenue generating companies, but we will consider pre-revenue companies in some cases.
For pre-revenue companies, our patent financing option will build out your portfolio quickly so that it will be ready once your company starts generating revenue.
The loan program is a loan, after all, and we will evaluate your company to see if we believe that you will be able to repay the loan. Taking out a loan is much different than selling equity, and our focus is on real revenue generation.
Pre-revenue companies need to show that they are very close to revenue. In general, we want to see that the company is addressing a real need in the market, that there is economic value in the product or service being sold, and that the cost of goods leaves a solid profit margin. We also want to see that the cost to acquire a customer is known and that there is a delivery pipeline to satisfy that customer.
In short, we want to see that there is a legitimate business opportunity in your company.
Please note that we want to have real data to support the assumptions, such as experiments in customer acquisition methods, quantified analyses of the costs to build the product or supply the services, procedures for after-sale support, or whatever is appropriate for your business. We are looking to loan money to those companies who can really put the money to use, and we are less likely to provide funding for the experimental or developmental phases of building your company.
A patent loan will come with several other components, including insurance for patent enforcement and patent defense.
Because a patent loan is specifically designed to help you expand your business, we want you to focus on generating revenue, not litigation. Therefore, we require that you maintain at least $2,000,000 in patent enforcement insurance and patent defense insurance.
The due diligence process for the loan program will include due diligence for the other insurance products.
The patent loan program requires several items about your patents and your business plan. This is not a complete list.
100% ownership of your patents.
Your patents must be completely unencumbered and must be owned by the operating company. Some investors will attach liens to intellectual property, which is a non-starter. In many cases, the inventors may have “forgotten” to assign their rights to a company. There are countless ways that a startup company may not have full, unrestricted rights to “their” IP, but we will require that this be completed before applying for a loan.
The patents must be of the highest quality.
Everybody believes their patents are good, but sadly, at least 95% of all patents are worthless. Patents fail our due diligence for many different reasons, such as being over-broad, not having any prior art references, being poorly written, mistakes in patent prosecution, and countless others.
One of the biggest ways patents fail is that there may be other ways to solve the same problem. If the patent does not capture the single best way to solve a problem, your competitor will just use the alternative solution and never need to take a license from you.
The business needs to be at the right stage.
A good loan candidate can put capital to use – but must be able to repay the loan. Startups that are in the ‘idea phase’ are not good candidates because they probably have not built out their manufacturing, marketing, and sales pipelines.
A good candidate has tested a marketing and sales funnel and knows their Cost to Acquire a Customer, along with a projected Lifetime Value. They have developed enough sales to know what works and what doesn’t, and they can put a large amount of cash to use to generate revenue quickly.
Another type of candidate needs operating capital, such as to purchase inventory for an existing order or for ongoing expansion. These companies typically have access to small amounts of capital, but a collateralized loan will give them much more.
You need to apply.
We are anxiously waiting your phone call. Please contact us and discuss your situation. In many cases, we can process a loan in 2-4 weeks.
We provide an insurance policy that will guarantee a lender (typically a bank) using the patents as collateral.
The Collateral Protection Insurance product is similar to mortgage insurance, where the bank has protection if there is a default on the loan.
The CPI product requires investment-grade patents and a solid business plan. The patents must be litigation-worthy, but must also capture real economic value.
Your patents and your business plan will undergo a due diligence analysis, where the patents will undergo a “patent busting” search, looking for any weaknesses. Your business plan will also need to show the use of funds and the way you are going to put the money to use.
As part of the patent loan program, we require at least $2,000,000 in patent enforcement and patent defense insurance. We want you to spend the loan proceeds by growing your company and generating revenue – not by litigating the patents in court.
Get the capital you need - using the assets you already have.
Schedule a time to talk with us. We'll answer your questions, review your patents, and give you the transparent guidance you deserve.