Pallavi Shah

You have won industry acclaim for your extraordinary deal-close rate. What is the secret to this success?

Mobity's deal-close rate stems from a unique mix of strategic selectivity, rich relationships, industry reputation and exceptional dealmaking skills.

We assess client portfolios meticulously and shoulder almost all of the (often substantial) diligence costs at our own risk. We only accept portfolios that are likely to yield premium outcomes for both the buyer and the seller.

We have built strong relationships with influential decisionmakers in many industries worldwide. During my 30-year career, I have nurtured trusted connections with senior legal, technical, finance and business executives in countless operating and licensing companies, business units within Fortune-global corporations, SMEs and venture capitalist and private equity financiers globally.

Our integrity and authenticity, exemplified by closing numerous deals, make buyers trust Mobity and prioritise our portfolios. They know that we adhere to their criteria, including the addressable market, infringement, patent quality, portfolio size and pricing.

My upbringing across Asia and the United States gives me a unique perspective, facilitating meaningful professional and personal connections with people of diverse backgrounds. I discern subtle nuances in their motivations and behaviour, whether conscious or subconscious. This ability to read people and situations effectively allows me to craft win-win solutions and narratives and nudge clients toward success.

How do you generate multiple offers on a portfolio?

Our proprietary and proven sales process is customised explicitly for IP transactions. It draws inspiration from the investment banking M&A approach and amalgamates the strengths of large banks as well as boutique firms. We carefully control the message and engage qualified buyers with timely and tailored pitches. Buyers find our stories – which go beyond technical analysis – emotionally appealing and the opportunities we offer irresistible.

Which mistakes are common in US IP transactions? How do you help avoid or mitigate them?

Many IP owners neglect to monetise their non-core assets. The few that do may mistime market entry by either waiting too long or rushing to sell. Some sellers harbour unrealistic price expectations, and most do not truly understand the buyer's decision-making criteria and timeline.

IP buyers often set high acquisition standards and focus on flaws instead of solutions. Some acquisition executives have insufficient organisational influence. They incorrectly believe that there is no penalty for rejecting portfolios. Operating companies that dither risk well-funded NPEs buying the patents they passed on. They may learn later that litigation and licensing are far more expensive.

Being constantly in touch with sellers and buyers gives us an excellent finger on the pulse of market dynamics. We leverage our expertise and relationships to help them navigate challenges and mitigate risks. We also advise sellers on managing customer blowback from their transactions.

What has been your most memorable deal to date, and why?

I have closed numerous noteworthy deals. For example, a buyer was in dire need of memory intellectual property for cross-licensing. It sought three to five patent families from our client for a price well above their market value.

Working with our client, we identified five suitable families. Each had fewer than two years of life remaining. However, these patents belonged to a standards pool and the prosecution attorney initially vetoed the sale. We leveraged our strong relationship with the business unit head, a former colleague. He often incurred significant freedom-to-operate licence expenses for someone else's intellectual property. We convinced him that he finally had a chance to profit from his. He bought in and championed our cause wholeheartedly. The IP team appreciated our assistance in securing internal approval. Through adept negotiations, we established a field-of-use carve-out with royalties for the standard and overcame the veto.

All stakeholders (including the prosecution attorney) were delighted when we closed an eight-figure deal. Within months, the buyer called us again to express sincere gratitude for saving them a substantial nine-figure sum.

How do you expect the IP transactions space to evolve due to the technological convergence in various industries?

As technological convergence reshapes industries, IP transactions must evolve. We expect a rise in IP transactions, a focus on licensing and an acute need for expert guidance. Firms like Mobity will play a pivotal role in facilitating successful transactions.

For example, established firms must increase acquisitions and licensing to build a defensive IP moat to keep new entrants at bay. We already see automotive companies divesting traditional patents and reinvesting the proceeds to buy intellectual property for electric vehicles and 5G, which is spurring more IP transactions and boosts their value.

Pallavi Shah

MD, Transactions
[email protected]

Pallavi Shah heads intellectual property at Mobity and is a FINRA-registered broker-dealer. Renowned in the IP investment banking community for fearless negotiation skills and premium outcomes, she has closed more than 75 patent sales/licensing transactions in the past five years. Previously, Ms Shah served Houlihan Lokey, HP, Sun and Sarnoff Labs. She is a published author, media spokesperson, the inventor of 18 highly-referenced patents and holds a BE and MS in engineering.

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