Licensing Royalty Revenues
Invention royalty payment revenues earned by inventors and other intellectual property owners

$5.5 trillion.  Value of U.S. intellectual property as estimated by IBM.  “Patent research and recognition is some of the driest work that goes on here. But the U.S. Patent and Technology Office is the guardian of the nation's intellectual property, which IBM says is worth $5.5 trillion.”  (Jim Landers, “Trouble impending in patent process,” The Dallas Morning News, May 1, 2007)

$500 billion.  Annual patent licensing revenues forecast for the U.S. for the year 2005.  “In 1990, it is estimated that in the United States alone $15 billion in revenue was derived from patent licensing. In 1998, that shot up 700 percent to $100 billion. It is [predicted] that by 2005, patent licensing revenues will top half a trillion dollars annually.  Amazingly, most American businesses are ignoring an astonishing $1 trillion in intellectual property asset wealth. This is thought to represent the most fertile, yet most ignored, ground for development by corporate chief financial officers.  An increasing number of business leaders at companies such as Microsoft, Lucent, Intel, Dell and Dow Chemical are regarding intellectual property as the new core of the modern business enterprise and a major factor in their success.” Patent licensing statistics.  Intellectual Property (IP) licensing revenues statistics. (Arlen L. Olsen, Contributor, 518-220-1850, “Patents are big moneymaker these days for companies,” The Business Review - Albany, Friday, August 11, 2000)

$120 billion in royalty revenues generated annually from patent licenses.  “Nationwide, an estimated $120 billion is generated each year from patent licenses, up from $15 billion in 1990. With so much at stake, patent disputes increasingly are ending up in court at the expense of the patent holders. According to a University of Texas study, nearly half of those court-examined patents are ruled invalid.” Patent licensing revenue. (Megan Barnett, “Patents pending”, U.S. News & World Report, June 10, 2002)  How do you find a manufacturer to license your product?

$100 billion worldwide licensing market.  “Licensing is a $100 billion retail market worldwide, with $70 billion in business in North America alone, says Murray Altchuler, executive director of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA).” (Cynthia E. Griffin, “License to profit: make your play for a piece of the $100 billion licensing market,” Entrepreneur, January 1, 1997)  Find answers to your questions about the licensing industry.

$1.5 billion in licensing royalties collected by IBM in 2001.  “Intangible assets like patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are a rapidly growing piece of the U.S. economy. Since companies collect fees from those who want to use their patented products, the economic rewards from patenting are enormous. IBM, for instance, was awarded 3,411 patents and collected $1.5 billion in licensing royalties in 2001 alone.”  Top licensing revenue.  How much money does a company get from licensing its product? (Megan Barnett, “Patents pending,” U.S. News & World Report, June 10, 2002)

Are you looking for help licensing your invention?  If so, Inventors Workshop, a nonprofit organization that has been providing inventor help services for more than 35 years, may be able to help you out.  You can contact them at, Or call them at 805-879-1729.

$1.4 billion.  Annual budget of the U.S. Patent Office.  “Since George Washington signed the Patent Act of 1790, the office has struggled to keep up with the ever increasing speed of invention. Now part of the Department of Commerce, the USPTO is a $1.4 billion agency employing a staff of more than 6,000. In 1991, the office was overhauled, and a fee system was established to allow the agency to be self-supporting. But the very next year, Congress took one look at the juicy fees and withheld $8 million, putting it to other purposes. The diversion continued unabated, totaling $700 million in a decade.” (Megan Barnett, “Patents pending,” U.S. News & World Report, June 10, 2002)

$1 billion plus in licensing revenues collected by IBM annually.  “IBM Corp. says it has dreamed up a new method for profiting from its vast storehouse of patents. And by the way, the company wants to patent the idea.  …Specifically, IBM - which collects more than $1 billion in patent royalties every year - describes a new process for licensing patents. Instead of smaller companies licensing technologies from patent holders like IBM in a plodding, one-by-one manner, IBM envisions a more dynamic system with "floating privileges," in which patents could be licensed quickly, as needed. The application says this floating privilege, once purchased, could be activated by a patent-infringement lawsuit. In other words, companies would buy the right to use a patent portfolio like IBM's as a legal shield for themselves – ‘just like purchasing a fire insurance policy,’ IBM's application contends.”  IBM licensing revenues.  (No author, “IBM Aims to Patent Profiting Off Patents,” Associated Press/AP Online, October 23, 2007)

$1 billion plus in patent licensing revenues collected by IBM in 1999.  “In 1999, IBM Corp. took in more than $1 billion from licensing patents, according to Carol Makovich, director of IBM's financial communications office. Big Blue, which has a location in Rochester, holds 32,000 patents worldwide and has led the United States in patent filings for the eight-year period through 1999 with 10,014 patents granted.”  (Steve Mcmahon, Contributing Writer, “Licensing Brings Cash for Inventions,” Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal, July 14, 2000)

$1 billiion per year in licensing royalties earned by IBM from 15,000 patents.  IBM’s annual licensing revenues.  “IBM, for example. nets $1 billion per year licensing its 15,000 patents.”  (Larry Maloney, “Inventor's tips online,” Design News, May 1, 2000)

$1 billion.  Total licensing revenues generated by patents acquired by Intellectual Ventures as of 2009.  “Intellectual Ventures [a $5 billion startup company founded by Nathan Myhrvold and headquartered in Bellevue, Washington] was created to amass and license intellectual property: inventions, but more specifically, patents that can be used to collect royalties from companies that use the patented concepts in their products. So far it's built a portfolio of about 27,000 patents, the bulk of which it has accumulated by acquiring them from other companies or individuals.  The acquired patents have produced about $1 billion in licensing revenue. Patents that Intellectual Ventures has won for its own work have produced about $80 million." (Brier Dudley, Seattle Times senior technology reporter, “Bellevue lab is an inventor's real dream,” The Seattle Times, Wednesday, May 27, 2009 - Page updated at 06:01 PM)  Discover the latest DVDs and books about Nathan Myhrvold.

$400 million.  High-end range as of the year 2000 of estimated royalty revenues earned by inventor Lonnie Johnson for his Super Soaker invention.  “In the 12 years since [inventor Lonnie Johnson] first got U.S. Patent No. 4,591,071 for the ‘squirt gun,’ as it is listed in official government records, more than 200 million Super Soakers have been sold.  Revenue estimates for the gun range as high as $400 million. ‘Lonnie is the American success story,’ says Dick Apley, director of independent inventor programs for the U.S. Patent Office.”  (Timothy Roche, “Lonnie Johnson,” Time, Sunday, December 3, 2000)  Read about the fascinating story of inventor Lonnie G. Johnson.

$200 million-plus.  Sales generated by inventor Lonnie Johnson’s popular toy product SuperSoaker.  “Today's African American Hero is Lonnie G. Johnson. He is an inventor of thermodynamics systems for NASA and other organizations.  … You may know him for a well-known toy called 'Super Soakers.' This popular water gun has sold over 40 million copies and generated over $200 million in sales since 1990.”  Supersoaker.  (Bangs Black History Committee in observance of Black History Month, “African-American Heroes - Lonnie G. Johnson,” Brownwood Bulletin, February 5, 2007)  View video news story about Lonnie Johnson and his SuperSoaker invention.  Discover books about Lonnie Johnson

$200 million-plus.  First year sales generated by inventor Lonnie G. Johnson’s Super Soaker.  “First-year sales from the Super Soaker® exceeded $200 million. Subsequent revenues have yet to equal those heights because of increased awareness of gun violence. Negative press hurt sales, and revenues from the water gun are down to $70 million annually. The Super Soaker® has undergone redevelopment and expansion. The 15 models now on the market cost $10-$50." Supersoaker.  Super soaker inventor Lonnie Johnson.  Super soaker water gun. Who invented the super soaker?  ( (Raelyn C. Johnson, “Soaking up the success. Entrepreneur Lonnie Johnson” Black Enterprise, November 1, 2001) 

$157 million.  Amount of licensing revenue earned by New York University in 2006.  “New York University hauled in $157 million in 2006 by charging licensing fees to use faculty inventions. Stanford University, a distant second that year, collected $61 million.” (Tim Simmons, Staff Writer, “University inventions' cash value unrealized,” The News & Observer, April 20, 2008)

$150 million.  Royalties received by the University of Florida from sales of Gatorade developed by inventor Dr. Robert Cade.  “Dr. Robert Cade, [invented] Gatorade at the University of Florida in 1965 as a way to both quench players' thirst and replace carbohydrates and electrolytes lost through sweating in the intense Florida heat. . . He created a $19-billion industry, the industry sports drinks. Robert Cade came up with a formula for Gatorade back in 1965. . .The Florida Gators for whom it was named drank it the entire 1966 season. But as [Chairman of the University of Florida department of medicine, Dr. Edward Block] recalls, Gatorade hit it big the following year when Florida beat Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl.  ‘At the end of the game,’ recalls Dr. Block,” when the coach for Georgia Tech was being interviewed, they said to him, well, coach, what happened? And he said, well, the difference in the game was those Gator boys drank Gatorade at half time, and that was it.’ Now owned by Pepsi, Gatorade has an 80 percent share of the sports drink market, and it's generated more $150 million in royalties for the University of Florida, which helps explain why the University of Florida recently dedicated a historic marker on campus recognizing Dr. Robert Cade and his invention, Gatorade.”  How much money does the University of Florida make from Gatorade?   (Greg Allen, “Robert Cade, Inventor of Gatorade, Dead at 80,” NPR Morning Edition, November 28, 2007)  Listen to this NPR story about the invention of Gatorade.



$20 million plus in royalties to the inventor of the Bowflex.  “[Once] our company [Nautilus] commercialized his innovation, Mr. [T. Dosho Shifferaw] has benefited from more than $20 million of royalties during the [Bowflex] innovation's patent life.” How much does a successful inventor get paid? (Ron Arp, SVP, corporate communications Nautilus Inc., maker of Nautilus, Bowflex, StairMaster, Schwinn Fitness, and Pearl iZUMi brands cited in “Inventor of Bowflex home gyms,” East Bay Business Times, February 16, 2007) 

$10 million-plus.  Reported royalties earned by inventor Scott Olson for his Rollerblades invention.  “But what else would you expect from [Minnesota inventor Scott Olson] the creative genius who reinvented the wheel with younger brother Brennan and introduced the world to Rollerblades more than 25 years ago?...  Olson has been on a roll since he founded Rollerblade, Inc., in 1983. He sold the then-fledgling company in 1985 and reportedly went on to rake in more than $10 million in royalties.” (Cary Castagna, Sun Media, “Keeping Fit with the inventor of Rollerblades,” Edmonton Sun, June 1, 2009)

$6 million in licensing royalty payments.  Royalties earned by inventor Jerome Lemelson. for his audiocassette drive patent. “A decade later, a deal with Sony to license [inventor Jerome Lemelson’s] patent on an audiocassette drive mechanism earned $6 million. That technology paved the way for the Walkman.” Royalties paid inventors. Royalties on inventions.  (Shelly Strom, Business Journal Staff Writer, “Behind every successful inventor is an attorney,” Portland Business Journal, April 15, 2002) 

$2.5 million in royalties to the inventors of the Ghostline.  “Barbara Russell Pitts and Mary Russell Sarao made their indelible mark in business with barely visible gridlines on poster board.  Since licensing their Ghostline concept to Carolina Pad and Paper Co., based in Charlotte, N.C., six years ago, the sisters have raked in $2.5 million in royalties — while working from their homes in Plano.  ‘We call it our mailbox money,’ Pitts said.  ‘Every three months," Sarao chimed in, "we go to the mailbox and get more money.’” Plano sisters inventors. Royalty payouts for inventions. (Cheryl Hall, “Sisters who took an idea to market want to help others do the same,” The Dallas Morning News (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune NewsService), July 13, 2003)  Order Barbara and Mary's book, Inventing on a Shoestring Budget)

$965,000.  Aggregate amount of licensing royalty checks awarded to LBNL inventor scientists in January 2008.  “Royalty checks were awarded to [Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory inventors] on Jan. 31 [2008]. Licensing income was up 11 percent this year, yielding over $965,000 of distributions for 110 scientists whose inventions and software were licensed by industry. The average distribution was $8,855, while the largest was more than $114,000. Over $2.1 million in additional licensing income will go to the Lab, primarily for research and development.”  Royalty check recipients included Nigel Moriarty, Ralf Grosse-Kunstleve, Jian Jin, Petrus Zwart, Jay Groves, Fred Buhl, Paul Luke, Paul Alivisatos, Bill Kolbe, Michael Commer, Steve Holland, Ted Sun, Pavel Afonine, Christopher Elkin, Joe Orr, Len Pennachio. Second row: Cheryl Fragiadakis (Technology Transfer Office), Mark Modera, Paul Adams, Nick Sauter, John Clarke, Director Steve Chu, Wladyslaw Walukiewicz, David Humphries, Martin Pollard, Ender Erdem, Fred Winkelmann, Greg Newman. Front Row: Viviana Wolinsky (Technology Transfer Office), Jonathan Maltz, Martha Stampfer, KinMan Yu, Bob Nordmeyer, Derek Yegian, and Duo Wang."  (Lyn Hunter, “Inventors Earn Nearly $1 Million in Royalties,” Today at Berkeley Lab, Berkeley Lab Communications Dept., Creative Services Office, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008)  Find more information about Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and its research programs and history. 

$500,000 in licensing royalties.  Licensing revenues earned by inventor, Franklin "Kansas City" Baker, for three of his inventions.  “One Los Angeles inventor who's had the best of both worlds [licensing and manufacturing an invention] is Franklin "Kansas City" Baker, 47, who has created over 80 inventions and currently holds patents on 16 of them.  His first successful product was the Ameri-Cart, a utility cart with a handle and retractable wheels that can hold items weighing up to 300 pounds. A chance encounter in 1981 at Los Angeles International Airport changed his life forever.  ‘I was comparing luggage at the airport with the Ameri-Cart, which I had in my hand. A gentleman was passing by and asked about it. He got so excited, we set up a meeting for the next day,’ states Baker.  The man was the owner of Beico International (714-799-1034;, a Huntington Beach, California-based manufacturing company with facilities in China. Beico exclusively manufactures and licenses Baker's automobile security inventions, the King Pin and the Trap, in addition to the Ameri-Cart, which has been on the shelves of Fedco and various hardware stores since 1991.  Not only is Baker a client, he is also part owner of the company, and has received over $500,000 in revenues for all three inventions.” How much can an inventor make on royalties from licensing their invention or product?  How much does an inventor earn?  (Williams-Harold, Bevolyn, “You've got it made! (developing invention ideas),” Black Enterprise, June 1, 1999)


$9,700. Average size of royalties earned by NIH inventors in 2004.  “Royalties earned in 2004 by government health researchers and their employer, the National Institutes of Health [NIH], for drugs, treatments and other inventions developed with government money:  … Average size of royalty per inventor: US$9,700.) (The Associated Press, “Royalties paid to U.S. government scientists,” AP Worldstream, January 11, 2005)

$8,855.   Average licensing royalty check awarded to LBNL inventor scientists in January 2008.  “Royalty checks were awarded to [Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory inventors] on Jan. 31 [2008].  Licensing income was up 11 percent this year, yielding over $965,000 of distributions for 110 scientists whose inventions and software were licensed by industry. The average distribution was $8,855, while the largest was more than $114,000.  (Lyn Hunter, “Inventors Earn Nearly $1 Million in Royalties,” Today at Berkeley Lab, Berkeley Lab Communications Dept., Creative Services Office, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008)  Find more information about Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and its research programs and history. 

$5000.  Licensing revenues earned in 2005 by Holly Baxter, inventor of Teeny Towels.  “[Holly] Baxter came up with Teeny Towels - all-natural antibacterial wipes small enough to hook onto a key chain. The product is too similar to basic baby wipes to patent, but it's distinctive enough to package and promote. Last year it paid Baxter $5,000, and the product is likely to produce more in royalties this year because a number of large retailers recently agreed to carry it.  …’Since they've been on the shelves, all I've done is walk to the mailbox’ to collect royalty checks, Baxter said. ‘It's like free money now.’” (Kathy Kristof, “Inventive parents can turn bright ideas into cash,” Houston Chronicle, February 13, 2006, p. 3).  See inventor Holly Baxter’s Teeny Towels invention sold online.

$250.  Royalty fee charged per procedure to Lasik eye surgeons using the IntraLase laser eye surgery technology.  “Many LASIK surgeons do not offer IntraLase, partly because of its expense. The equipment costs $450,000 and doctors must pay royalty fees of about $250 to the manufacturer for each procedure. Fees are also paid to laser manufacturers each time a doctor performs LASIK, even without the IntraLase.”  (Karen Garloch, “LASIK: Reward of clear vision not without risk,” Portsmouth Herald, Knight Ridder Newspapers, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Thursday, March 18, 2004)  How much does laser eye surgery cost? Where can I find laser eye surgery prices

Very few inventors can retire on their inventor royalty revenues.  “I can count on one hand individuals who can retire on their patent royalties.”  (Rick Martin, partner, Rick Martin, P.C., “Obtaining a patent can be worth the costs involved,” Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology, February 4, 2002)