Monday miscellany

Merck v Merck: what you think ... so far.  With only a few days to go, responses to the IPKat's sidebar poll on how best to resolve the problem of there being two different pharmaceutical companies both called Merck have been quite surprising.  For the first couple of days there was no obvious consensus, but now -- with over 350 participants expressing their views -- over 200 think the best outcome would be for the US version of Merck to hand the mark back to its German originator, from whom it was appropriated at the time of the First World War.  Even so, if you've not yet registered your opinion there's still time to do so!

Around the weblogs.  Congratulations are due to three of the IPKat's favourite blogs for reaching milestones. African regional weblog Afro-IP has just welcomed its 800th email subscriber, while IP Tango and Art & Artifice have both signed up their 500th email subscribers respectively. Elsewhere, on IP Draughts, Mark Anderson combines wit, wisdom and not a little literary skill in his post "Research Results: more moonbeams in a Jar?", on how (not) to deal with know-how that emerges somehow as the result of a research project.  Finally, if you thought that the United States was the only country that has been chewing over the issue of first-to-file versus first-to-invent when it comes to patent filing, you may be amused or deeply troubled by a version of this debate that is reflected by Indian patent law, as Sai Deepak explains in a guest post for PatLit.

Every year since 2000, the Institute of European Studies of Macao (IEEM) and Katfriend Professor Anselm Kamperman Sanders (Maastricht University, The Netherlands) have organised an event on Intellectual Property Law and Knowledge Management. This year's programme comprises three activities:
* The Intellectual Property Law School (Monday 12 to Friday 16 May 2014, Macau Cultural Center)
* The Intellectual Property Seminar (Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 May 2014, Macau) Trade Secrets,
* The Professional IP Update 2014 (Wednesday 21 May 2014, Hong Kong) 
 More information about these exciting events, in which guest Kat Alberto will be participating, is available here.

International Patent Forum 2014: who exactly is speaking?  Earlier this year, in "A touch of the Waldorfs", the IPKat posted this piece about this year's International Patent Forum, organised by Managing Intellectual Property magazine for 18 and 19 March.  At that time, while there was a list of speakers, the programme cunningly left it a bit of a secret as to which speakers were participating in which sessions.  To see exactly who's doing what, just click here.  Given recent world events, the session entitled "Russia Focus" on the first day may be memorable ...

Refreshingly candid.  Katfriend Jackie Maguire (Coller IP) is one of the lucky souls who were called upon to form a group of European experts reviewing the secret and mysterious art of IP valuation. The experts' final report, Intellectual Property Valuation, can be accessed here (it's 104 pages long). Published by the European Commission, it leaves no stone unturned, and even manages to footnote an IP Finance blogpost by Mike Mireles, “A Kodak Moment” or “Rembrandts in the Attic”: The Valuation for the BlackBerry Patent Portfolio, here. Jackie has posted her thoughts on her company's website here, where she says (among other things):
"There is a clear need to increase market actors’ confidence and certainty in IP valuation methods as a way to stimulate IP transactions, to support IP based financing and to give companies the tools to provide information about their IP. This will also allow investors to better understand the business and the value of the company itself and even to provide decision makers with the required information to decide whether to enforce or to license IP.

However, the Expert Group has demonstrated that it is not the lack of valuation methods per se, or even standards for valuing IP that are missing, but rather other barriers that are having a greater influence on business and lenders. As IP is, by its nature, innovative and therefore different, each case for valuation requires investigation, rather than having an automated approach to IP valuation.

As a result, IP valuation of a company’s assets is an opinion, at a particular point in time – similar in many respects to the way that a legal opinion is given [how refreshing, says Merpel, that an IP valuation can be something other than the inevitable and unarguable consequence of the application of unchallengeable criteria ...]. Although an informed layman might proffer a good guess, ... in the same way that one cannot automate the judgement on a law suit, one cannot automate judgement on an independent IP valuation. There are many factors involved and evidence and purpose can have a large impact.

The valuation of IP assets is complicated by the fact that no two IP assets are the same. This is inherently the case when IP is protected by rights such as patents and trademarks, where a requisite for obtaining such rights is that the IP does not already exist. The uniqueness of IP makes comparisons with other IP difficult, thereby limiting the usefulness of comparison based pricing. As a result, valuations are often based on assumptions about the IP asset’s future use, what important milestones will be met and what management decisions will be taken [well said!].  ...".
Monday miscellany Monday miscellany Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, March 10, 2014 Rating: 5


  1. Jeremy, the credit for the article on IP Draughts goes to my colleague Stephen Brett.

  2. This blog is clearly very popular with people who didn't do history at school.

  3. "The valuation of IP assets is complicated by the fact that..." is a movable feast!

    I hope these sorts of sensible assessments of the reality around IP valuation will have an impact and start putting to bed the abject nonsense, which is "IP as an asset class".

    Was the Kodak moment the point where 1/10th of its patent portfolio was valued at $4 billion when its market capitalisation was around $650 million or was it when that patent portfolio was sold for less then £100 million?

    Bit of a difference of "opinion" there then.


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