What has been the highlight of your career to date?
The general counsel of one client recently provided the following note to other internal team members regarding an IP advisory project, and this summarises the cumulative highlights of my career – growing “enterprise value” via IP management and supporting work that is “mission-critical”:
Adapt’s advice and tremendous help on a key area of enterprise value for [client name]! (just so everyone knows, what Adapt works on is mission-critical for us).
While not all clients measure outcomes in terms such as “enterprise value”, supporting early-stage companies and individual inventors in generating value for their intellectual property has been incredibly rewarding.
You are well known for your expertise negotiating and closing complex IP transactions – what, for you, defines a successful deal?
Successful deals are simply defined by meeting – and hopefully exceeding – initial client expectations across a spectrum of considerations, including price optimisation, time to closing, limiting unexpected costs and reducing surprises.
We also view successful deals on the basis of deal creativity. While many IP transactions that we manage conclude with upfront payments and transfer of rights, the deals that have been more interesting have involved more complex economic engineering that may include components of ongoing royalty provisions, equity instruments and technical consulting/employment opportunities.
As patent pools become a more established part of the commercial landscape, what trends do you think will shape how they develop next?
Patent pools continue to be interesting, and I believe venture capital and private equity investors will begin to pay more attention to these amalgamations of patent assets – and hopefully facilitate the curation of such pools – to align with their portfolio investment strategies. For example, if a venture fund is investing heavily in a field such as mobility, then that venture fund may want to build, or participate in, a relevant patent pool to help clear future patent risk and access others’ innovations for future development.
In addition, as various markets shake out in a recessionary environment with a higher interest rate, there will be more distressed companies and potential industry consolidations. For example, we wrote previously about patent portfolio observations in the SPAC-driven market and, fast forward to present, many of those companies are struggling or failing. There will likely be patent assets from those types of companies that find their way into patent pools or other licensing vehicles.
What tips can you share for engaging – and ensuring buy-in from – key stakeholders?
First, determining strategic direction is critical to ensure that business units, legal and finance agree with the goals of the programme. Second, the process to achieve the desired outcome needs to be clearly demonstrated, with key objectives met and reported. Third, incentives need to be aligned to ensure maximum commitment to achieving key objectives.
Client education across these points is an area where we are spending more time at different phases – especially related to expected valuation, cost management and timing. We expect this to continue, especially as we are seeing more patent assets come on the market, as cost management remains a heightened focus.
Given the extreme speed of global events – especially over the past few years – what are your recommendations for keeping your clients’ patent strategies current?
Clients need to fine-tune strategic goals and cost models continually. We have seen clients begin to cut patents from various global jurisdictions and slow or end filing of continuations to build patent portfolios – all to save near-term cash. I agree that this may be critical, but in many cases, these actions are not optimal for patent portfolio value maximisation. We also continue to see value in and availability of third-party litigation funding to support value creation. While various jurisdictions are scrutinising the transparency and returns of these funding regimes, there is – and will be – continued value in utilising such resources to keep patent strategies current and protect for the future.
Founder and President
Grant Moss is the founder and president of Adapt IP Ventures LLC, an IP transactions and advisory firm that assists innovative companies to sell, license and acquire patents, technology and other IP assets, as well as IP valuation-related engagements. Mr Moss has successfully developed and led patent sales, licensing and acquisition programmes across a diverse set of industries, generating multimillion-dollar returns for his clients and partners.