I am currently in the process of negotiating the rights to some intellectual property and am curious if any one has any pointers. I know the basics of purchasing a business, and intellectual property seems to be the same pretty much, but I am curious has any one gone through this?
Any pointers are super welcome!
Man, I've done some of that, but it's a really complex over-all topic. At least here we don't have any generic IP law to buy and sell under - you need to know whether you're buying copyrights, trademarks, likenesses of people, derivative rights or something else. Although I usually am not averse to saying my piece with no sort of lawyerly professional background whatsoever, this is a bit of a wide topic to tackle without knowing any specifics.
The titles I am looking to obtain the rights to are the Dangerous Journeys titles (obtained by TSR from GDW about 2 years before Wotc purchased them) the IP for the most part has just been featured on RPGNOW as pdf's. There are 5 books:
2.Mythus/Dangerous journeys: The Epic of Ærth
3.Mythus/Dangerous journeys: Mythus Magick
4.Necropolis and the Land of Ægypt
5.Mythus Bestiary: Aerth Animalia
I will be looking to obtain 100% of the IP trademarks, copyrights, derivative work rights, though an SRD like document would be agreed upon between myself and WOTC in the case that for what ever reason they may want to create their own supplemental works like with the OGL. I doubt they will ever make anything but I figured it would not hurt as an offer of good faith to allow them to still have some limited ability to skim it for ideas.
I am assuming I will be paying a certain amount of years worth of profit, and then an agreed upon value of the IP itself as far as idea farming. I am hoping the SRD like document will reduce the value of IP cost itself as it still gives WOTC limited access.
Were you thinking of benefiting from the long tail sales of the existing products, or is it the trademark that you're more interested in? You might have thought of alternative pricing models already, but one way to figure out the right price for the properties is to calculate them through several different models, trying to get similar numbers out of each to improve the reliability of your projection. Specifically, one thing you might ask yourself is this: how much does it cost you to work around the trademark and existing product you're purchasing? If your plan isn't that interested in continuing selling the existing product, then you're going to be investing in creating new products anyway, and consequently it's really just the trademark that you're interested in. In which case you should only be paying for the trademark (even if the opposition ends up throwing in all the rest of it, too), and then only what you estimate as its worth in comparison to creating and marketing a similar product from zero.
To phrase the same thing differently, don't pay for the extent and effort inherent in the existing work, pay for the projected earnings differential in your business plan with or without the Dangerous Journeys materials. The original creators and publisher have already been paid long ago for their work, so at this point the property is only worth whatever the long tail income happens to be and whatever potential value there is in the trademark for one of these nostalgia projects that have become so popular of late.
This viewpoint mostly comes to mind to me because Dangerous Journeys is all but unknown in this part of the world - if I were interested in doing something with it, I'd probably just clone it and perhaps pay some voluntary fee out of respect for the original creation. At least here in Finland I couldn't imagine making one extra sale out of the trademark itself. But that's a personal viewpoint with very little to back it up - I'm sure you've thought these angles through already in much more detail.
(Man, I always sound f****ing stupid when writing about business in English. Don't know the correct terminology.)
Primarily I am only interested in the trademark but am checking on the whole package to see just how much more they will want for it all. If it’s a negligible amount I would probably pick them up as well. I am not sure about other countries I know that in America there is enough knowledge about it’s existence to conjure interest if for example a new edition was released. From what I have gathered many view it to have been the solid frame work for something that could have been much better with better editing and a bit more play testing.
I am mostly doing it just to be able to publish under the name so the project could be recognized for what it is trying to be. If I don’t get it or the cost does not outweigh the benefits no skin off my back. Your right though it is very much in the name of gimmick/coolness factor.