Richard Lloyd

Are we seeing a period of accelerated innovation in the IP monetisation market? Most observers would recognise that the current climate for making money from IP assets in the US is tougher now than it was in the past.

From the Supreme Court, to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), to potential new legislation, it’s clear that there has never been more uncertainty over how you value and commercialise a patent. But at the same time the market has demonstrated a continuing ability to develop new products and services in order to help businesses negotiate some of the hurdles they face.  

In the next month or two we should see the launch of the US Patent Utility, a new initiative developed by Jay Walker’s Patent Properties to appropriately value all patents and to deepen the pool of IP owners able to make money from their inventions.  Earlier this year IPXI finally announced its first offerings while, in May, the litigation funder Gerchen Keller Capital moved quickly in the light of two Supreme Court decisions to offer litigants a policy to cover attorney fees if they were awarded in a case.

Another new initiative that launched recently is a tie-up between IP adviser Soryn IP Group and niche investment bank Liquid Venture Partners. The pair have formed a venture called Liquid Patent Consulting designed to offer start-ups and small businesses eager to exploit their IP not only access to banking advice, but also to expertise on developing and commercialising a patent portfolio. Although they are well positioned to advise large companies, the aim is really to target smaller businesses which may lack the resources for a full-service internal IP function.

According to Soryn’s Michael Gulliford the advent of first to file under the America Invents Act has placed a greater pressure on companies to register their new inventions. That pressure, he says, is often felt more by smaller businesses that lack the manpower to file quickly.

Perhaps there would still be a need for these new services among small businesses even if the market wasn’t dogged by such uncertainty, but there’s no doubt that the questions that continue to hover over IP monetisation have breathed life into some particularly innovative thinking. That said, innovation is not a cure-all for the maladies that currently dog the market. Some clever people coming up with ways to ameliorate the impact of the ever-shifting sands cannot simply sweep all of the uncertainty away. But, at the same time, it’s fascinating to watch new ventures take shape. How well they survive may say much about the times we’re in.