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Drumbeats in Intellectual Property: Hearings, Acquisitions, and Dare I Say Progress

by: Tom Hochstatter, President

Last week we saw the launch, in earnest, of the Tillis/Coons Section 101 Reform Legislation hearings. Excellent summary of the proposal here by Bilski blog’s Christopher P. King if you need to quickly catch up. The multi-day affair was packed with a star-studded cast from in/around the intellectual property industry and I thought overall folks were well behaved, if not predictable in their vehement opinions of the proposal and the current state of IP in the US. What I do give great credit to was the preparation, well-roundedness of the invitees and the civility with which the hearings were conducted. Refreshing, for a DC affair.

Not taking sides (at least in this post) as that is not today’s intention and the coverage of the hearings has been robust and comprehensive here, here and here among many other pundit sites. Why do poorly what others have done so well…

Deloitte Acquires Clearview

No, what struck me as the week’s “top” headline was the announcement of Clearview IP being acquired by Deloitte to augment their existing IP practice. Notably, their lead UK and EMEA valuation partner Andrew Robinson comments:

People are building new businesses around it [IP], not only in tech and pharma, but in many other areas, too,” ...Robinson continued: “C-suite executives are asking more questions and becoming more focused and diligent around their IP investment. This leads to opportunities for advisers like us to help.

Does IP Now Have a Seat at The Table

First off, I couldn’t agree more with Andrew’s assessment that IP is more central to larger and larger business decisions - in both traditional IP heavy industries and now “non-traditional” IP industries. My hope is that there is little distinction going forward among the two and IP becomes as central to business’ financial structure or market position, etc. It certain will if big money is following IP. Not an indictment, but Deloitte (among others) would not make this acquisition investment if they didn’t forecast major new consulting dollars to come. And I speculate they are not the only major consulting shop ruminating in the IP sphere now.

Just recount the billions that iPEL, Softbank/Fortress, Burford Capital, et. al. have thrust into the IP space in the last 24 months alone. People talk, then they follow the money…

An aside for the conspiratorial: I note from the release that Clearview proffered United Technologies as one of their current (or past clients). And low and behold they are in major tie up talks with Raytheon - announced via Wall Street Journal this morning. So now inquiring minds want to know how much of their decisioning was predicated upon their respective intellectual property portfolios? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments…

Beyond the announcement, this topic hits home for Techson. We are being asked more and more to conduct strategic research followed by complex IP analysis for business decision makers. The challenge is reporting in simple, easily digestible bites, which we are finding is more of an art than a science.

IP Advisory and Strategy Consulting is the Future

Our teams are credentialed and experienced to take on more and more of these strategic consulting, “Deloitte”-esque engagements. Techson has been preparing for this level of market maturity since day one.

We are not “just another patent research firm”. Beyond hiring experienced IP researchers, our teams have business, patent law, finance, valuation, commercialization, project management and strategic consulting experience too.

Further, we partner with outside counsel on a powerful one-two client approach to provide the most comprehensive IP research, legal expertise and commercialization expertise that spans the entire Innovation Supply Chain from ideation to prosecution to monetization. And, in working with counsel we can keep it privileged along the way as necessary/appropriate.

The difference (this time) is that the business of intellectual property is less about the legalese and centered first on the business and financial implications then the legal ones follow. Maybe a subtle shift to some but an important paradigm shift for those of us PHOSITA…lol…

Techson looks forward to the new legislation our political leaders are forging and, while that advances, we are hard at work helping our clients and their counsel forge a new IP outlook with ROI and commercialization front and center.