is a student at University of Gothenburg where he’s pursuing a master’s degree in law and a master’s degree in innovation and entrepreneurship in biomedicine with a major in Intellectual Capital Management. Hannes works as an intern at the Richardson Oliver Law Group on various IP strategy, IP law and business strategy projects in Silicon Valley. He also has prior experience as the CEO of HandelsConsulting AB, one of Europe’s largest student operated management consulting firms. Hannes is an appointed representative of University of Gothenburg School of Business, Economics & Law on the Student Council of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences.
Occasionally, we hear people say, “brokered patents are all junk.” This begs the question, “are operating companies and non-practicing entities (NPEs) spending hundreds of millions of dollars buying junk patents?” Luckily, the short answer is no. We know clients have successfully bought and used brokered patents to substantially alter their licensing and litigation posture at a lower cost than the alternatives. We also know that patents on the brokered market rank higher than average patents. So why this disconnect? We are victims of our own cognitive biases and the behavioral economic traps that make it harder for buyers to find and buy patents… When only a small fraction of what we are looking at is ultimately interesting to us, our brains can trick us. Using a structured decision-making process together with some tools can overcome those biases and allow us to identify and buy the patents that fit our business needs.
10,000+ patents, spending $10M’s per year, cross-licenses, and license potential with dozens of companies, what’s the value of the portfolio to the business? Is your patent strategy valuable to your company? How? OK, tag you are it, what is the answer? The problem seems intractable. In previous articles, we have discussed how to determine your general patent risk and how to put a number on it. But where do you start when you are trying to estimate the value of your patent strategy?
When managing many of cross-licensing negotiations it can be hard to prioritize your activities. In a recent case, the client experienced this very thing and felt they would benefit from a clear overview of their efforts… Determining the risk potential from a given licensor required us to look at several variables. Steps 1-4 of Figure 2 focus on assessing the strength of the infringement case presented by the opposing company. Finally, in step 5, we estimate the impact of that case on our client’s revenues based on the number of evidence of use (EOU) materials still in the case. Based on these assumptions, we calculate the total potential risk to our client.
Your CEO: “Why are we spending so much on patents?” Your CFO: “Do we have a financial model for this spend?” The path forward isn’t clear. Now what? Using a model that examined both patent risk and expected risk reduction allowed the client’s IP department to put a number on the value of their efforts. In turn, this enabled the executive team to grasp the return on investment (ROI) from the patent strategy. Our client now had a tool to use for making decisions on how to mitigate patent risk and where to spend money to build their patent portfolio. The implications extend further into setting metrics and plan objectives to ensure that the patent strategy is on track.