Dear Aunty B,
I have been negotiating to license my product to a large company, but it is turning into a nightmare.
First there were problems with the contract and now they are asking for changes to the product. Every time I think the deal is signed they – and their lawyers – come back with changes and problems!
This has been going on for six months and I was hoping that at least it would be signed by Christmas, but I am off on holidays and it still isn’t signed and they want more changes.
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They want an exclusive license and I have turned down another company interested in taking a license because I assumed this was going to be a huge deal. Now I feel in my gut that the large company is just messing me around in order to stop their competitors getting my technology.
Do I persist or tell them to get stuffed and go with the other party?
Cross and bothered,
Dear Cross and bothered,
They are not a turkey so stuffing is out of the question. Six months is not that long in the scheme of things. But I understand your frustration, especially as you have another interested party at the table.
What you have done is confused the product issues with the legal issues. First, get the business people to agree on the product and insist it doesn’t get to lawyers until that has been signed off.
Then you hand it to their lawyers and your lawyers to do the legal stuff.
If you have run out of patience then tell them – but in the nicest possible way that keeps the door open.
You need to say to them that although you think they are the best partner for you, you feel the negotiations have continued on too long and you would like to explore another offer.
Tell them you would like to keep the door open for future conversations and wish them all the best. If they reply in a negative way then you have lost nothing. Your gut was right. They were tying you up with no intent to buy.
They may also have been fishing for information in order to develop a similar technology.
Your Aunty B
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