I’m prototyping a product for infants that needs a protective plastic coating of a BPA-free material that only one company in the world makes and has the patent on. Part of what makes my product unique and durable will be this coating and it has not been used in this type of product before.
1) How to I make sure that in the long run (if my product is successful) that this plastic coating is exclusive to my product so that competitors cannot rush in to copy my idea?
2) Is it a licensing agreement of some sort?
3) Is it common/likely for big companies to make such agreements for new products?
I plan on contacting the plastic maker and want to have the correct terminology and questions to ask so any advice is greatly appreciated.
As a long time patent prosecutor and litigator (and former patent examiner), let me attempt to address your questions in turn:
What Alex said.
If this company has a BPA free coating product, they are in the business of selling that product. So you absolutely can get a licensing deal
And you COULD get an "exclusive" licensing deal.
The thing to recognize about licensing deals though is that they are just business deals. What is in it for the patent holder to
Each of those would be a potential restriction on their revenues. Which means they would want offsetting compensation for foregoing such revenues.
IE such licensing deals are going to be expensive. For example, lets say you want an exclusive licensing deal for your product. Your product has national potential of 1,000,000 per month. But you only have initial financing to afford to produce 100,000 units per month.
They will want some form of compensation for the 900,000 units per month underproduction that they could get by also selling to other competitors. This compensation might come in the form of forgoing volume discounts as you grow above 100,000 units - it might include giving them an equity stake in your company, It might include cross licensing to them the right to sell and mfg your idea in another part of the world
but at the end of the day, you will need to pay for it.