|The Kats take an interest|
in BRIC licensing ...
Another topic under analysis on this programme is the interface of patent licensing and competition here, a topic that has fallen to the IPKat's friend, barrister Jonathan D. C. Turner. A man whose eye is closely focused on the subject (his book on this very topic will soon approach its first birthday), Jonathan has the task of selling the Technology Transfer Block Exemption (TTBE: Regulation 772/2004) to an audience which will surely contain many of the unconverted. Jonathan offers to enable conference participants to find a "path through the forest". Some folk will probably jump at the thought of a way to ascertain whether their patent licences can safely be regarded as non-anticompetitive, so they and their investors can sleep peacefully at night. Others may say (as indeed some do) that if the forest is so difficult to find a path through, there's a good chance that the European Commission's competition chaps can't find a path through it either.
A third topic that caught this Kat's eye is the presentation by Paul Brown Hogan Lovells LLP) on the transactional dimension: is it better to license than to sell a patent, what are the current criteria -- and what if anything is the impact of the patent auction? It is this Kat's firm contention that the reason why patent auctions have been so unsuccessful to date is that, in the main, (i) patent owners only auction their patents if they can't find a better and more profitable way of selling them, and (ii) there's no point in anyone buying a patent at auction unless it fits their immediate manufacturing or R&D needs or they are playing Monopoly and hope that someone will land on their property after they've bought it so they can earn some rent. The position would change if entire, fully-functioning and profit-generating patent and know-how portfolios were auctioned as single lots, with prospective bidders being able to get some idea of their value.
You can check out the day's agenda here, inspect the speakers' credentials here and download the brochure here.