A recent article in TechCrunch indicates that entrepreneurs are less likely to file patents than in the past. Nonetheless, there remain countless patent lawyers and agents who will argue convincingly that an entrepreneur must obtain a patent in order to succeed and who will take their $5-15K to file a darned good patent application that won't provide them a bit of business value in the long run. Even worse, the resources expended in the patent process robs the entrepreneur of needed cash that will allow them to gain customers, and of their most valuable asset: time. But when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail--which is why those still in the business of writing patent applications will continue to make their case to entrepreneurs (and investors) who lack the domain expertise to
Few things infuriate me more than supposed experts who make statements along the lines of "patents are critical to innovation." I have avoided stating my views widely in this forum because I didn't want to get into a contest of one upmanship with my patent lawyer peers. However, in the last couple of weeks, several pieces of information have hit my radar screen that make this seem like the right time to go public with my views. Let my position be very clear: we create a false dichotomy when saying "innovation is not possible without patents." The issue is much more complex and nuanced than this: in a particular instance, patents may be critical to innovation, but they might also be only slightly important or--likely in the majority of situations--they might be wholly irrelevant to innovation. (I talk more about this in this recent interview in Innovation Management
Regular readers of the IP Asset Maximizer Blog will know that I am a strong advocate of the use of IP analytics by venture capital investors, as well as others. Clearly, VC's need better ways to gauge the appropriateness of an investment when more than 50% of venture investment is a loss. My point of view is based on personal experience with various clients, as well as external review of a few investments that I thought signaled that a review of the IP landscape should have been conducted prior to completing the deal. So, I was glad to see my opinions backed up by real data. Specifically, my friends at IP Vision, a patent landscaping and data company originally out of MIT, conducted an extensive study of 9,000 venture backed firms. The study was done with investors, corporate executives and members of the faculty at MIT Sloan
Recently, I was asked to speak to a Georgia Tech MBA class about IP Strategy--specifically about the inter-play of IP in M&A. A significant portion of my talk addressed how poorly existing due diligence and IP metric methodologies traditionally perform to predict the financial success of M&A transactions. There is no question that improvements are needed in this regard. For example, in 2006, Inc.com reported that 60-70 % of acquisitions fail and more than 90 % of acquired businesses lose value. These somewhat dismal results leave no doubt that acquiring companies need better sources of information to properly vet and select acquisition targets. Having been involved in M&A transactions as a legal and business advisor over the years, I have developed unique insights on the the due diligence and IP metric processes from both sides of deals. In these deals, the highest (and presumably most expensive) advice of investment
In remembrance of the 1 year anniversary of the Financial Meltdown, Forbes.com has included me in a list of bloggers asked to provide an economic forecast for 2010 and also to provide some insights as to what economic markers I use in my work. This is an interesting assignment for me: few who know me would consider me to be an economist and, indeed, such training was wholly absent from my many years of college, graduate and law school. This might actually be a good thing, however, because, as discussed in this recent Robert Lezner StreetTalk post, none of the so-called "experts"--even those at the highest levels of power and prestige (except perhaps Dr. Nouriel Roubini)--predicted the financial instability that would result from Wall Street's increasing reliance on innovative, high yield financial instruments. Notwithstanding the vast reliance put on financial expertise, based on the results of the last couple of years, it now seems
Neil Wilkof of the great IP Finance blog brought up a couple of interesting issues in his latest blog post entitled Securitization of IP: Urban Legend, or Playing Soon in a Theatre Near You? Specifically, he wonders if the desire for innovative (and not discredited) financial products today will result in the emergence of IP securitization as a model for raising capital and, if so, if the there will be a place for IP professionals in the process of valuing such IP. I recommend Neil's post to anyone who is interested in how IP assets might be leveraged to create opportunities outside of the usual protection of the IP owner's products and technology. Moreover, I agree with Neil's view that if IP is going to be a recognized as a means to raise capital, improvements have to be made in the way finance and IP professionals interact. Put simply,
As an IP Business Strategist, I frequently speak to CEOs of high growth/start-up companies. I have prepared this short deck to walk them through the basics of how IP Strategy can be implemented in their organizations, and where in their organizations their intangible assets might reside.
THE SKINNY ON THE QUALITY OF VENTURE CAPITAL-RELATED INVESTMENT DECISIONS If you are a counselor of venture capital firms or entrepreneurs who owning start-up companies that are targets of venture capitalists, you might already be familiar with the high rate of failure associated with such investments. Nonetheless, you may be surprised to find out that 50% of all money invested in venture capital is a loss. This figure, which is based upon separate research projects by a Chicago Graduate School of Business (“GSB”) professor and a former Chief Economist at the Securities and Exchange Commission, indicates that the actual return on venture capital investment is not much different from the average annualized returns on the smallest NASDAQ stocks. In particular, the return on venture capital investment from 1987 to 2001 in these smallest stocks was 62% as compared