Tag Archives: IP assets

“IP Finance 2015” will examine IP assets, transactions and challenges

IP Finance 2015, “Innovative Ways to Manage IP Assets for Maximum Return,” will bring together in New York on May 14 leaders in patent licensing and transactions, including those who fund them. 

Following a successful IP Finance kick-off in May 2014, Premier Cercle™ is teaming up with Institutional Investor Magazine and Managing Intellectual Property for a sequel that will explore the best financial practices from patent holders, investors, bankers, financiers, private equity firms, regulators, plaintiffs and defendants.

“The program is designed to give both a deep understanding of how IP rights, especially patents, are involved in finance and an international point of view,” said Patrice Cros, Managing Director of Premier Cercle, conference organizer. “The event is structured in three parts: Assets, Transactions and Challenges, and will provide a high-level discussion and 4107f07f93097aaeb07a3609877fd7daunparalleled networking opportunities.”

The preliminary agenda for the conference, which will be held at New York’s historic Palace Hotel, can be found here 

Those interested in registration can do so here.  

Confirmed speakers include some of the key players involved in intellectual property transactions, strategy and finance. The following is a partial list.
Mark Argento
Bruce Berman
Chief executive officer
Henrik Carle
VP Business Management and Finance, IPR & Licensing
Yann Dietrich
Senior Patent licensing executive & IP counsel
Michael Fusco
Managing Director
John Garland
former Vice President of Licensing
Samirah Muzaffar
David Pridham
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Sean Reilly
VP and Associate General Counsel
Frédéric Rose
Chief Executive Officer
Maulin Shah
Managing Partner
Jaime Siegel
Executive Vice President
Eran Zur
Managing Director Fortress IP Group
Image source: premiercercle.com; newyorkpalace.com

Video Interview: “Investor Pressure Helped to Secure Rockstar Deals”

Opportunities still exist to monetize patents for those willing to do their homework and adjust expectations, veteran patent licensing executive Bob Bramson, a WiLAN director, told IP CloseUp in an exclusive interview.

There is a common theme running through Rockstar’s recent $188M settlement with Cisco, its litigation against Asian handset makers, including Samsung, and sale of 4,000 patents to a group led by RPX for $900M: Patent holders with solid patents and realistic expectations can still find success.

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 12.39.38 PM

Despite impediments like IPRs, software-adverse decisions like CLS Bank v. Alice, and aggressive anti-NPE lobbying, significant patent agreements are stilling being transacted. The key to their success, says Bramson, who is responsible for more than 1,000 patent licenses and sales over a 40 year career, is quality and need.

“Licensing is about money,” says the patent attorney and strategist who was recorded in our offices in late December. “Surely, the sugar-plum visions of a few years ago need to be rethought, but that does not mean there aren’t good opportunities out there for those willing to conduct the necessary due diligence. Patent monetization is about risk and reward, and if after careful analysis the potential damages are still there, then you at least have the basis of discussion. The last thing a patent monetizer wants to do is win the battle but lose the war.

“Rumor has it that the Rockstar deal got done because of pressures exerted by some of their investors, notably Apple and Microsoft. There is a complex network of relationships and needs that fuel agreements between big parties, and direct revenue is frequently only a part of it.”

Patent Value in Perspective

While it’s difficult to calculate the precise current value of Rockstar (the company) based on its December 23rd patent sale to RPX, it is safe to say that it is a quarter to a half of the $4.5B that it’s investors, Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Ericsson, EMC and

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 10.41.00 AMBlackberry, paid in 2011. That said, $1B to $2B value on a single patent portfolio in the current anti-enforcement environment is nothing to sneeze at.

These investors also had complex needs and unique resources, the most important of which appeared to be keeping the patents out of Google’s hands. In Apple and Microsoft’s case, they also had huge amounts of cash on their balance sheet to deploy.

“I expect that there will be a clearing out of patent monetization businesses in the next couple of years,” continues Bramson, who founded and served as CEO of InterDigital Technology Corp. “But that’s not to say there aren’t still opportunities out there. Smartphones are one of many industries that rely on patents to compete. Sectors like medical technology and smart cars are heating up, and 3-D printing is likely to be huge.”

Watch the interview with Bob Bramson by clicking here.

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Image source: IP CloseUp 

Public IP Company Challenges will be Heard at IP Business Congress

Interest in public IP licensing companies or PIPCOs continues to build; so do supporters and skeptics.

With some 30 trading on various exchanges throughout the world, “PIPCO Challenges” will be among the 16 sessions featured at the 2014 IP Business Congress in Amsterdam, June 22-24.

IP CloseUp editor, Bruce Berman, (yes, that’s me) will moderate the session, which promises to be a lively one.

Room 1: “PIPCO challenges” – June 23, 2:05 – 3:35

The number of publicly quoted IP companies (PIPCOs) has grown significantly over the last few years. They employ a number of different models and have enjoyed mixed success.

  • Why go public in the first place?
  • Different PIPCO business models
  • Consolidation or expansion?

Bruce Berman, CEO, Brody Berman Associates

– David Hoff, IP Investor
– Peter Hardigan, COO, Document Security Systems (DSS)
– Joe Beyers, Chairman and CEO, Inventergy (INVN)
– Phil Hartstein, President, Finjan Holdings (FNJN)

Other sessions at this year’s IPBC include: Cooperative Patent Purchasing, Building a World-Class Corporate IP Function, NPEs Under Attack, Deal Dynamics, Beyond Monetization, and The Next Battle Grounds.

More than 600 are expected to attend from the U.S., Europe and Asia, with more than 80 speakers. The IP Hall of Fame also will induct four new members at a gala reception on June 23 held at the Krasnapolsky Hotel.

The full program and speakers’ list can be found here.

Image source: ipbusinesscongress.com

Public IP Cos (PIPCOs) – An Expanding Universe

IP-centric businesses whose shares trade on the public markets come in many shapes and sizes — some are better suited for return than others.

Many of the most interesting IP-rich businesses, from an investor perspective, are publicly traded, thinly capitalized companies with experienced management. The best have a realistic view of their IP assets, usually patents, and the timing and cost of their disputes and value of potential licenses.

The emergence of public IP-rich companies (PIPCOs) whose shares trade on the global exchanges is presenting new opportunities for patent holders and investors alike. They are the subject of the next (March) Intangible Investor, “PIPCOs – A Business Model Whose Time Has Come,” due out in IAM next week.

Pure-play licensing businesses, non-practicing patent licensing companies with a single method of generating return, are being challenged by business models that provide more options and potentially greater return. Through self-generation, acquisition or merger with complimentary operating units, publicly held licensing companies are emerging as businesses that are more readily understood by investors, able to access the capital markets, and acceptable to the courts.

Global Interest

At last count, there are no fewer than 25 companies that trade on US, UK and Canadian stock exchanges that include among their primary goals direct patent monetization. As recently at 18 months ago they would all be considered NPEs. pipcoeditToday, only a few are licensing-only pure-plays. The mix now includes enforcement businesses that support inventors and SMEs; licensing businesses that conduct proprietary R&D and obtain patents through filings; and those sometimes called profiteers that acquire rights from others, including operating companies that stand to profit.

More public IP businesses today are a combination of models that include smaller, under-capitalized operating companies that are selling products or attempting to commercialize them. While the patent monetization business makes good sense, it is not for every holder or investor.

With the exception of Qualcomm, Acacia, InterDigital and VirnetX, all with billion dollar plus valuations, public IP companies tend to be companies whose value is under about $500m. Mosaid, Tessera, Rambus and WiLAN comprise the next tier, between $500m and $1b. The remaining 17 companies are what Wall Street calls micro-caps.

They include Vringo and Document Securities Systems, DSS, an anti-fraud and brand protection business with patents and trade secrets which has announced a merger with patent monetization firm, Lexington Technology Group. LTG (which BBA advises) is headed by IP veterans Jeff Ronaldi , who has run successful technology and monetization businesses, and Peter Hardigan, formerly director of investment management at IP Navigation Group and a Principal heading IP transactions at Charles River Associates. Warren Hurwitz, co-founder with Rob Kramer of Allied Security Trust, a successful IP private equity fund which has sold a $46 million portfolio to RPX, recently joined LTG as a director. The merger is set to close late 1Q.

Defensive-minded patent-rich companies, like Microsoft, IBM and Samsung, arguably are also PIPCOs, although their lofty market cap and abundant revenue streams make their shares less dependent on the outcome of IP disputes. The lack of broad ownership of smaller PIPCOs means that they are frequently misunderstood and their shares are sensitive to news, good and bad.

For stoic investors looking to take advantage of still inefficient market for generating a return on infringed patents, PIPCOs may be an option whose time has come.

Illustration source: csmonitor.com; Brody Berman Associates

Market data as of 2/1/13.

IP Law & Business

IPL&B is Folded into Corporate Counsel

I learned recently that IP Law & Businesses, a decade old monthly published by American Lawyer Media, was folded into another ALM pub, Corporate Counsel. IPL&B was (still is) a well written print magazine targeted primarily to lawyers. It was hurt by IP law firm and practice consolidation, shrunken advertising budgets and higher costs.

What also may have contributed to IPL&B’s demise as a stand-alone is not developing the emerging non-lawyer IP professional and transactions market.

ALM was acquired in 2007 by the UK’s Incisive Media. In September, 2009, I also learned recently from a party close to the situation that Royal Bank of Scotland and Apax Partners, the private equity firm that financed the buyout, took control. Incisive apparently abandoned or was forced to abandon the assets in the wake of performance issues. The 2007 purchase price was $630 million (USD). I believe that www.law.com was a part of the deal and continues to publish under the ALM banner. Before being sold ALM was owned by U.S. Equity Partners, which was headed by Bruce Wasserstein.

Joe Mullin will continue to report for IPL&B, and his incisive The Prior Art blog, which covers patent litigation and other topics, will still be seen online.

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