Stephen Key is the world’s leading expert in licensing consumer product ideas and a 2018-2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science-Lemelson Invention Ambassador.

He achieved repeat success as an independent inventor, including defending his intellectual property against one of the largest toy companies in federal court. The innovative packaging solution he brought to market is protected by more than 20 patents and received 15 industry awards, including two Edisons.

inventRight, the coaching program he cofounded in 1999, has helped people from more than 60 countries license their product ideas. He explains how to take advantage of the power of open innovation on his popular YouTube channel inventRight TV and in ForbesInc., and Entrepreneur.

In 2017, he cofounded Inventors Groups of America with the goal of educating and empowering inventors and inventing group leaders. He is also the cofounder of inventYES, a free program for high school students worldwide.

In 2019, he taught a 10-unit course for University of Newcastle in Australia students based on his 10-step strategy for licensing ideas, originally published in his bestselling book One Simple Idea: How to Turn Your Dreams Into a Licensing Goldmine

He is also the author of One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs, Sell Your Ideas With or Without a Patent, Become a Professional InventorThe Insider’s Guide to Companies Looking for Ideas, and Licensing Ideas using LinkedIn: Ditch Cold Calling Forever.

In 2020, he became a founding member of the United States Intellectual Property Alliance to help educate entrepreneurs and inventors on intellectual property.

In 2021, Mojo Nation named him as one of the 100 most influential figures working in toy and game design today.

In 2022, Stephen contributed to “Cases in IP Strategy: Industry Lessons Learned” from the non-profit Michelson Institute for IP.

Today, he is also involved in licensing a new packaging innovation — Fishbone — that eliminates the plastic rings on 6-packs of beverages and is endorsed by The Ocean Foundation.


Madeleine Key has been Stephen’s writing partner for nearly 15 years. Together, they have written 1,000 articles about entrepreneurship, inventing, and intellectual property strategy from a business perspective for Forbes, Inc., and Entrepreneur magazines as well as the websites AllBusiness and Core77. Their writing has also appeared in TIMEThe New York TimesFast CompanyBusiness Insider, Fox News, Yahoo Finance,, and many other places. 

In 2015, Madeleine updated and revised One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams Into a Licensing Goldmine by McGraw-Hill. With more than 800 5-star reviews on Amazon, it has been taught in numerous college courses, including the MBA program at the University of Fairbanks in Alaska; the University of California at Merced, and the University of the Pacific. 

A capable if reluctant copy editor, she prepared Stephen’s other books — including Sell Your Ideas With or Without a PatentBecome a Professional Inventor, and Licensing Ideas using LinkedIn — for publication. 

She has utilized social media to transform Stephen’s company inventRight into the most respected and well-known brand in the for-profit invention help industry. She is also responsible for inventRight’s Learning Management System, which is the most comprehensive guide to product licensing in existence.  

In 2019, she helped develop and administered How to Launch a Product Without Starting a Business, a 10-unit course for the University of Newcastle in Australia. To her knowledge, it is the first and only undergraduate course devoted to product licensing. 

As a freelance reporter based in Oakland, her articles appeared in the East Bay ExpressSan Francisco Chronicle, and CALIFORNIA magazine. She recently had the honor of helping hunter Mark Peterson, owner of Worldwide Trophy Adventures, on his first book, The Journey Within: A Bird Hunter’s Diary. 

Madeleine graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011 and currently writes about the innovation ecosystem for She specializes in harnessing the power of storytelling to make complex subject matter, like intellectual property strategy, compelling and easily understood. 

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