by Gregory J. Battersby and Charles W. Grimes, 2nd edition, 1996, 266 pages, $15.95, ISBN 1-888206-01-2 (paperback)
In every field of human endeavor there are certain "facts of life" peculiar to that field. Your hopes, wishes and theories will not change them. In the toy and game invention area, one such fact is that very few inventors today can successfully manufacture and sell their toy or game in competition with the giants like Hasbro and Mattel. Therefore the authors of this book have chosen to focus on how to sell or license your invention to a toy company.
Another fact of life is, as one toy company executive put it, "There are probably more toy inventors than there are toy customers". But despite the enormous odds, there are still opportunities in this $19 billion industry. However, you must do your homework and target your efforts.
Yet another fact of life in this field is that most companies prefer dealing with toy agents or brokers. This has come about because a large toy company may receive 10,000 offers a year and because first-time inventors are often fanatically fearful about their concept being stolen. Agents receive 25-60% of what the inventors receive. Most work on a contingency basis and require an exclusive contract for one or two years. The book discusses how to select an agent and what to consider when writing up an agreement.
Should you decide not to work through an agent, the book details how to present your idea and to whom. The key person is the "gatekeeper", a slang term for the individual that companies designate to do the initial evaluation of new product ideas. Be prepared for rejection - only 1 of 1,000 new toy/game ideas make it to the marketplace.
The book thoroughly covers such topics as making your presentation... confidential disclosure agreements... follow-up... option agreements... letters of intent... compensation... sublicensing... indemnification... insurance... royalty audits... infringers... counterfeiters... tax planning...
The most important annual event in the industry is the International Toy Fair held in New York City every February. Similar events are held in Canada, England, Germany, Hong Kong and Italy.
The appendices cover 117 pages and they alone are worth the price of the book. Among the gems - retail sales of the top ten retailers... resources for the toy inventor... samples of the copyright form... toy patent... game board patent... trademark application... power of attorney... confidential disclosure agreement... waiver agreement... product disclosure form... toy agent agreement (11 pages)... letter of intent... license agreement... list of agents/brokers... names and addresses of toy companies (42 pages)...
This book may destroy some illusions you may have about the toy and game field, but it is probably the single source of factual information on the field available today.