Ranging from 0.0001 to 25%, royalty rates on the wholesale prices of licensed products can offer an inventor or business owner a nice payday. There are many products that have been licensed to big-box stores that any of us could have come up with.

Aqua Scoop

Invented by William Herbert, the Aqua Scoop is an ice cream scooper that can glide with ease through frozen hard ice cream. You can remove the plug at the end of the handle, fill it with warm water and put back the plug to hold the water. Since the Aqua Scoop is made from aluminum, it radiates heat throughout the scooper to help you with the toughest of ice cream tubs. The Aqua Scoop is available at Target, Williams-Sonoma, Crate&Barrel and Amazon.com.

Clean Breeze Truck Screen

This vinyl screen adheres with a 3M strip to the rear sliding window of your pickup truck, protecting the interior against debris and insects. Given the falling prices of gasoline around the country, more Americans are interested in buying pickup trucks. Available at Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, O’Reilly, and Amazon.com, this invention from Steven Davis meets the demand from pickup truck owners to allow ventilation into the cab without the mess.

Instant Trainer Dog Leash

You might have heard of the Instant Trainer Dog Leash on one of those "As Seen on TV" commercials. With the promise to turn any dog from "unruly puller into to perfect walker instantly," the Instant Trainer Dog Leash works on dogs over 30 pounds, training them to stop pulling. Requiring very few materials, inventor Terry Silva was able to make it big, and his leash is sold by Amazon.com, Bed Bath & Beyond, Rite Aid, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens.

Paper Towel Holder with Wheels

Taking a cue from the phrase "build a better mousetrap" as a breakout idea for small businesses, inventor Jim Moratto aimed to improve a standard kitchen item: the paper towel holder. The Paper Towel Holder with Wheels uses five non-slip wheels to enable you to take out paper towels with just one hand. This towel holder fits all sizes of paper towel rolls, and its spinning motion is quite soothing. It is available from Amazon.com, Macy's, Sears, and Sur La Table.

SealPro Paint Tray

Invented by Harry Billado, the SealPro Resealable Paint Tray is a convenient device to store your paint roller during projects that take a couple of days. This licensed product has been very successful at many retailers, including Ace, Amazon.com, Lowe's, Menards, QVC, and Sears. The plain tray design allows you to hold the tray with your hand, eliminating hand and forearm fatigue.

Stay Put Cutlery and Suction Bowl

This clever device prevents little ones from turning their plate upsides down or throwing utensils off their high chairs. By using suction cups as anchors, the Stay Put Cutlery and Suction Bowl set attaches firmly to any surface. Inventor Jenny Benson added coils to the end of the plastic fork and spoon so that they stay put and don't fall to the ground. This product was licensed and available from Amazon, Babies "R" Us, Buy Buy Baby, Kmart, Target, Toys "R" Us and Walmart.


Painting can be such a messy process that there was room for one more invention. Inventor John Belli created Tip-It to ease the transfer of paint between cans, minimizing waste and allowing you to prevent dripping from your paintbrush. This licensed paint gadget from available at Ace, Amazon.com, Lowe's, and Menards.

The Bottom Line

If you believe that you have an outstanding product and it has tested well with your target market, try pitching it to big-box retailers for a licensing agreement. These examples show that even some of the simplest ideas can solve a big problem that many customers have.

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