Tag Archives: Licensing Executives Society

Brody/Berman-mentored Fruti-Cycle wins LES business competition

Fruiti-Cycle Project, an Ungandan start-up that has developed an affordable bio-gas powered, refrigerated tricycle that speeds to market delivery of fruits and vegetables, has won the Global Prize at the 2016 LES business plan competition. 

The business plan and presentations were mentored by Bruce Berman of Brody Berman Associates in the U.S., who helped to develop the IP strategy, which incorporates patents, trademarks and trade secrets. There also is the potential for franchise licensing.

The Fruti-Cycle is a biogas powered tricycle, with a 300kg carrying capacity refrigerated courier for conveniently and safely transporting fresh fruits and vegetable to the market. It is targeted at the 70% of small-scale farmers in developing world. The Fruti-Cycle Project team is led by Nelson Mandela of Makerere University, in Kampala, Uganda.

8680c43c-0c59-11e6-b472-0670855d2669Fruti-Cycle costs half the price of competitor Bajaj’s tricycle and easier to run. According to its designers it will earn revenue through direct sales ($800) +licensing fee ($8/month). With $50,000 initial cost, it provides a 15.6% return on investment in the second year.

With subsidies from the government, partnerships with local farmers’ organizations and international organizations, Fruiti-Cycle will obtain a sustainable competitive advantage to create cheaper better model to supply the local market and scale to international market within five years.

More about the Fruti-Cycle Project, team and business plan, can be found here.

For additional information, go here.

Competition sponsors included Article One Partners, Relecura, Traklight and Knobbe Martens law firm. The Global Prize includes a cash award.

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LES members have until Monday to vote on business plan competition

The LES Foundation International Business Plan Competition Members’ Choice award will conclude on Monday, April 25. LES members who have not voted still can.

Competitor videos can be viewed and rated here by using the star system (5 stars being best).

Votes are logged as soon as you click on the stars – five stars being the highest. You may return to the page and change your vote, if you wish. It is not necessary to give a rating to all of the teams.

The online voting has been extended to Monday, April 25th at Midnight PDT. The winner will be announced during the LES 2016 PanAm Meeting.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Your intrepid IP CloseUp reporter, Bruce Berman, had the privilege of mentoring two of the finalists, Guardian Sensors from Austin, TX and Fruiti-Cycle Project from Uganda.

Both businesses are led by bright young entrepreneurs with good, IP-influenced business plans. Please take a moment and vote!



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High Court’s ruling on damages may re-invigorate patent licensing

The Supreme Court of the United States is in the position to make patent licensing meaningful again. 

At least that is what some experts believe. SCOTUS has agreed to hear a case relating to willful patent infringement that could be a game changer for some businesses attempting to license. Over the past several years the environment for patent licensing has become increasingly contentious as the system adjusts to lack of judicial consistency and new laws intended to root out dubious patents.

Opinion is less divided on the likely outcome of the decision than its ultimate impact.

“While predicting the outcome of a Supreme Court decision is always speculative, this case should be one of the easiest outcomes to predict ever,” says Gene Quinn on IP Watchdog.

“Unless the Supreme Court fundamentally alters its statutory interpretation from the Octane Fitness case, supreme_court_buildingarbitrarily creating a distinction without a difference, the Supreme Court will grant district courts the same broad discretion on enhanced damages that they have been given with respect to awarding attorneys fees.”

Those familiar with enhanced-damages awards are aware that the Federal Circuit has created complex, somewhat arbitrary tests for determining when they can be granted.

A damages expert for a leading consulting firm told IP CloseUp that a decision to lower the bar for willfulness, or, at least, clarify it, could be a game changer not only for operating companies whose sales can be materially harmed by patent infringement, but NPEs, who will likely benefit from the more risk-adverse posture that many businesses will assume.

“Willfulness has been too hard to prove for a long time,” the expert said. “For it to have any real meaning, the criteria and application need to be less arbitrary, and the Supreme Court appears to be willing to provide more definition. That will give some licensors more negotiating leverage and many patents and portfolios greater value.”

An non-practicing entity told IP CloseUp, that he did not think that a Supreme Court ruling making willfulness easier to establish will have any effect much less a significant impact. “It’s so damn hard to prove willfulness, and even if you can get jury award, judges don’t usually along with them.”

Halo’s lawyers argue (PDF) that just as the Supreme Court created a more flexible test for awarding attorneys’ fees when it decided the Octane Fitness case last year, reports Ars Technica, the test for when willfulness awards should be granted should be loosened up as well.

The high court will hear cases from Halo Electronics Inc and Stryker Corp, consolidating them to consider the companies’ arguments that the willfulness standard as set out by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is too rigid and should be relaxed. The case is scheduled for oral arguments in early 2016.

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Vision meets commerce is focus of the 50th LES annual meeting in NY

Big Ideas: The Intersection of Innovation & Business is the theme of  this years Licensing Executives Society annual meeting to be held in New York, October 25-28.

Speakers from  Google, GE Ventures, J&J, Columbia Technology Ventures and Samsung will participate in the plenaries at this year’s 50th anniversary meeting at the Marriott Marquis.

Plenary Session – “Big Money is Back”

A cross industry panel of experts will explore and discuss how the changing financial climate is impacting innovation. There is money out there so, what are stakeholders doing and how is investment and licensing shaping innovation?

Orin Herskowitz, Executive Director, Columbia Technology VenturesVice President for Intellectual Property & Technology Transfer, Adjunct Professor, Columbia Business and Engineering Schools (Moderator)
Sang Ahn, Managing Director, Global Innovation Center, Samsung Electronics
Patrick Patnode, General Counsel, GE Ventures and Healthymagination
James Sledzik, Energy Ventures US, Inc.



IP CloseUp’s Bruce Berman will be moderating a panel on Tuesday October 27, at 3:45 focusing on patent quality.

“Defining Patent Quality – Distinguishing Between Validity, Value and Invention Quality”

Patent quality has become more than a simple black or white definition of validity. Patent quality is often in the eye of the beholder. Some believe there is an inevitable market component or need associated with patent quality, which affects its defensive, licensing and sales value. This workshop will look at the changing definition of patent quality and the role that the PTAB and recent decisions like Alice have played. The workshop also will examine the influence of market forces like demand on patent quality and in distinguishing patent quality from value.

Bruce Berman, Brody Berman Associates (Moderator)
Julia Elvidge, President, Chipworks
Christi Guerrini, Baylor College of Medicine; University of Houston Law Center
Sean Reilly, Askeladden. L.L.C./ the Clearing House Payments Company

Christi Guerrini is the author of a provocative paper on patent quality, “Defining Patent Quality.” She teaches ethics as Baylor College of Medicine Center for Medical Ethics and is a Fellow at the University of Houston Law Center; Julia Elvidge heads one of the leading patent analysis firms, and Sean Reilly, is General Counsel and director of IP strategy for Askeladden, LLC and The Clearing House. He is also chief strategist of the Patent Quality Initiative. TCH members are many of the largest banks in the world.

Be sure to stop by on Tuesday afternoon for what promises to be a thought-provoking panel.

For the full meeting agenda, including more than 50 workshops and special events, go here.

To register online, go here.


Lawrence (Larry) J. Udell, inventor, lecturer and creator of more than 40 new ventures, has been named the 2015 Frank Barnes Mentor Award recipient by the Licensing Executives Society (USA & Canada), Inc. The award will be presented during the Society’s upcoming Annual Meeting in New York.

Mr. Udell has been an active member of the Licensing Executives Society since 1982 and is the founder and chairman emeritus of the Silicon Valley Chapter of LES www.les-svc.org. He also resurrected the San Francisco Chapter five years ago. He is the founder and chairman of the California Invention Center (1995) www.CaliforniaInventionCenter.org. Mr. Udell is associated with several Hall of Fame inventors, including James Ferguson (he developed the LCD or Light Crystal Display) and Forrest Bird (portable ventilator).

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LES Hot Topic: “Public IP Cos, Their Impact and Business Models”

Licensing Executives Society session at annual meeting in SF will also look at PIPCOs’ profile, performance and future.

This year’s LES annual meeting in San Francisco, it’s 50th, will provide many timely sessions, including one on the future of PIPCOs – public IP (licensing) companies.

Moderated by your dedicated IP CloseUp reporter, Bruce Berman, it features the CEOs of two prominent public IP companies, Joe Beyers, or Inventergy (INVT) and Doug Croxall of Marathon Patent Group (MARA). Additionally, Mark Argento, Senior Equity Analyst at Lake Street Capital, with round out the panel with a discussion of what Wall Street expects of PIPCOs and what they will need to do to succeed.

Readers of IP CloseUp are still eligible for a $100 discount if they use the IP CloseUp discount code: IPCU14 when registering here.

Alternatively they can click on the LES box on the right of the IPCU home page.

Please stop buy if you are there and say hello. We enjoy meeting our readers and those interested in the future of IP, especially those ROI-focused patent holders, both NPEs and operating companies.

See below for a preview.

Workshop 6: Hot Topic – “Public IP Companies – Industry Impact and Business Models”

“Public IP Companies (PIPCOs) have doubled in number since 2012 and some have grown in size. They are causing many patent holders to rethink monetization strategy and infringers to develop new defensive strategies. Most of the PIPCOS are small companies that rely on quality patents to generate revenue and value. This workshop will focus on how a range of publicly held IP licensors, some of which are operating companies, employ innovative business models to in order to generate significant returns on their patents.

“This session will define PIPCOs, discuss how they impact IP rights, especially patents, and identify what they mean for innovation in the years ahead. The session also will address what the future might hold for PIPCOs, especially in light of the America Invents Act and the introduction of Inter Partes Reviews by the UPSPTO.

“The panel will consist of CEOs from two important PIPCOs: Doug Croxall from Marathon Patent Group (NASDAQ: MARA), who has worked closely with Erich Spangenberg and IPNav, and Joe Beyers of Inventergy (NASDAQ: INVT), former Vice President of IP Licensing at Hewlett-Packard and Chairman at Allied Security Trust.

Also joining will be Mark Argento, Senior Research Analyst and an IP specialist at Lake Street Capital. Bruce Berman, CEO of Brody Berman Associates and author of “The Intangible Investor” will moderate. The presentations and discussion will include what their access to the capital markets means to licensing, as well as the uneven PIPCO performance to date. Other topics will include the investing community’s understanding of licensing companies and their impact on the IP eco-system.”

Bruce Berman, CEO, Brody Berman

Mark Argento, Senior Research Analyst, Lake Street Capital Markets
Joe Beyers, Chairman and CEO, Inventergy
Doug Croxall, CEO, Marathon Patent Group


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Enhancing IP Deals will be Focus of LES’ 50th Anniv’y Meeting in SF

The Licensing Executive Society will celebrate its 50th year in 2014 holding education and networking meetings for patent and other IP holders and investors.

The dates are October 5 to October 8 in San Francisco. The 2014 theme is “Advancing and Enhancing Business Development, Deals & Innovation”

Meeting Highlights

  • Interactive cross-sector plenary session featuring the “Titans of Licensing”
  • LES’s most popular recurring workshop, “Top 10 Court Decisions of the Year Affecting Licensing”
  • Keynote Address by Quentin Hardy, Deputy Technology Editor for The New York Timesles_annual_446x217_sep22
  • Keynote Address by Andrea Ingram, Vice President, Education, Museum of Science and Industry, Home of The Center for the Advancement of Science Education who will discuss how we can inspire our kids to achieve their full potential in science, technology, mathematics and engineering so that we build the foundation for inventions and inventors of the future.
  • 2 1/2 days of programming about issues impacting licensing today
  • Interactive sessions for enriched learning opportunities
  • Complimentary pre- and post-meeting education workshops on dealmaking topics
  • Connect with your peers in a relaxed atmosphere during expanded breaks and other networking events

LES SF meetings have been particularly noteworthy in terms of subject matter, attendance and for the many Bay Area/Silicon Valley business, venture capital and private equity investors it attracts.

Workshop Focus

Your roving IP CloseUp reporter, Bruce Berman, is currently scheduled to speak on Tuesday, October 7 at 2:00. The topic:

Pubic IP Companies (PIPCOs):
Understanding their Impact on Innovation and Patent Value

My co-panelists are Mark Argento, Senior Equity Analysts at Lake Street Capital; Joe Beyers CEO of Inventergy (NASDAQ: INVT, a PIPCO privateer) and former Director of Patent Licensing for H-P; and Doug Croxall, CEO of Marathon Patent Group (OTC: MARA), which counts Erich Spangenberg among its lead investors.

IP CloseUp readers attending this year’s LES annual at the Marriott Marquis, please stop by and say hello. It has the all the earmarks of a special event. More than 1,200 are expected to attend.

For more information about the 2014 LES annual meeting, including registration, click here.

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“Patent Transactions in Transition” will be Addressed in Toronto

Evolution of IP Deals from Simple Licenses to Complex Portfolio Sales and M&A will be a Focus at LES Conference

The rapid evolution of patent transactions will be the focus of a presentation and discussion at the LES North America meeting in Toronto, Canada.

Patents have fared best among IP as financial assets, and today can be leveraged in different ways. Invention rights played a critical role in Google’s acquisition of Motorola ($12.5 billion, 17,000 patents, 6,000 applications) and in Nortel’s bankruptcy sale to the Rockstar Consortium for $4.5 billion. Buyers included Apple, Microsoft, Ericsson, RIM, Sony and EMC.

Patents have certainly played a part in the smart phone wars, with some of the largest damages awards granted in this area. (See Apple v. Samsung.)

The evolving role of patent transactions, or “Patent Transactions in Transition,” will be the focus of a workshop moderated by IP CloseUp’s Bruce Berman (of Brody Berman Associates)  at the Licensing Executives Society annual meeting on Tuesday, October 16 at 2:00. It’s session 3E. The LES meeting this year is being held at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, 123 Queen Street West.

Panelists will include Myron Kassaraba, partner, Pluritas, LLC, one of the leading patent transaction firms; Dan Henry, Senior Vice President, Business Development, WiLAN (NYSE:WILN), a publicly held IP licensing business; and Sanjiv Samant, Managing Director, Technology, for Canaccord Genuity (TSX:CF, LSE:CF), a global full-service investment bank.

This year’s LES attendees are invited to attend what should prove to be a timely session. Lively panel and audience q&a is expected.

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Wall Street Discovers Patents

Experts Gather in SF for IP-Finance Forum

Patents, abstract and esoteric, remain largely a mystery to those on Wall Street. At the same time, the financial community’s perspective on IP value, grounded in the capital markets, is not something that patent holders and professionals readily understand.

To bridge the information gap the Licensing Executives Society (LES) San Francisco chapter will host, “Wall Street Discovers Patents: What IP Holders & Investors Need to Know About Each Other.”

The March 28 luncheon gathering, open to the public, will examine “the sharp incline of highly valued patent and IP asset transactions and their appeal to Wall Street financiers.”

The discussion is expected to delve into what drives the valuations and purchases, and the frenzy of competitive bidding that can take place. In addition to analyzing significant IP deals both past and potentially in the future, this meeting will serve as a “how-to” guide for Wall Street in navigating these patent markets.

Moderating “Wall Street Discovers”  is Robert Aronoff, Managing Partner of Pluritas.

The panel will feature IP and financial experts Sandeep Agarwal, VP and Portfolio Developer for Tessera; Erin-Michael Gill, Managing Director and CIPO of MDP Capital; Gaurav Kittur, Senior VP of Jefferies and Company; and Vincent Pluvinage, CEO of Invention Capital Partners.

“Wall Street Discovers” will be held at noon at PricewaterhouseCoopers conference center at 3 Embarcadero Center, 20th Floor. LES members and non-members are welcome. For more information click here

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