Innovation That Matters

Selling slogans & rights


Often, we come across new business ideas that sound good on paper, but don’t quite live up to our expectations. When we were alerted to online retailer Pat Pending, it sounded promising: customers can buy exclusive rights to a design, allowing them to resell copies of a garment, or resell their rights to the design. Interesting new business model, right? Unfortunately, Pat Pending took a few wrong turns. First, the designs on offer are just slogans on white t-shirts. Sure, a customer registers a slogan with Pat Pending and has exclusive rights to that phrase on any Pat Pending t-shirt. But unless Pat Pending becomes a highly sought-after brand, a slogan on a plain t-shirt doesn’t amount to much. Anyone can order an identical t-shirt printed with the same slogan from any customized t-shirt store. Secondly, it would be much more appealing if the company facilitated sales by a design’s owner, giving him or her a cut of each sale. Instead, Pat Pending asks customers to order more of ‘their’ shirts at the listed retail price (USD 66.90), with no help in reselling them. What would make this concept worthwhile, is if a customer could buy the rights to a truly unique design. Think a Threadless-like graphic on a t-shirt, or a quirky dress designed by a talented fashion student. (In their defence, Pat Pending is currently asking designers to submit designs that slogans can be printed in/on.) Buy and sell those designs, produce and ship the goods, add easy to operate, no-inventory webshops like Zlio, and you’ve created an innovative service that adds value for all parties involved. A bit like Etsy, the marketplace for handmade products, but for people who are better at selling than creating. Consumers across the world are designing and creating products, while others increasingly use the web to become part-time shopkeepers. An online design brokerage could match part-time designers with part-time sellers, each focusing on what they do best. One to start? If you do, be sure to let us know 😉 Spotted by: Anthony Sibillin



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