The business of responsible licensing – highlights from NPE 2015

IAM Magazine hosted a successful NPE 2015 conference in New York last week, with over 200 industry delegates taking part. This conference, the industry’s first to focus specifically on the NPE community and our important role in the business of patent licensing, was an inspiring forum where we discussed the most pressing issues and explored how we can work toward a more positive view of our industry. Here is what I saw as the conference headlines:

Collaborative engagement in patent reform is essential for our industry

NPE 2015 attendees including senior leaders at NPEs, inventors, investors, lobbyists, analysts and lawyers agree: our collaborative participation is foundational to ensuring that proposed patent reforms are structured to stimulate, not stifle, ongoing innovation. We’re in this together.

“Licensing is under attack and industry needs to be more visible and voluble.” – Russ Merbeth, IV

Educating legislators on patent reform issues is well worth the effort

I took part in the opening panel, which focused on the current operating and policy climate. We had a frank discussion about how patent law is simply not a priority for most on The Hill. It takes a lot of time and effort to s how up and educate our legislators about both sides of the story; we’ve not got as deep pockets as our opponents, but we need to keep trying.

“What we have come to understand is that most people in DC are well-intentioned and work extremely hard, but they just do not have the time to research issues deeply. What they hear is what people tell them, so if you don’t go to make your case they will never hear it.” , Conversant

A sneak peak of Kappos’ critique of the Goodlatte Innovation Act

David Kappos, former USPTO director and a senior advisor to the Partnership for American Innovation, spoke out frankly on the Innovation Act. He made striking remarks which we now know were a warm–up for his no-holds-barred speech in Washington DCat the LeadershIP conference. He argued that current proposed legislation has the potential to devalue the patent system and cause decrease in investment in innovation.

“The Innovation Act is such a damaging piece of legislation. It will cause the mass devaluation of the patent system, which in turn means the mass devaluation of innovation. And when that happens you will get much less investment in innovation – that’s how the free market system works.” – David Kappos

Creative opportunities: NPE business models and markets

There was a recognition that NPEs who are in the business for the long game have to be creative about long-term growth strategies, building quality portfolios, and entering global markets. Germany was highlighted as a jurisdiction that is particularly promising to patent licensing entities. Numerous panelists commented that Germany was tops on their list of venues. Countries mentioned as strong opportunities alongside Western Europe, Japan and the US, were Indonesia, India, Turkey, Brazil and China.

“One result of this push across the Atlantic is that while US patent prices may be falling, in Europe they are starting to edge up.” – industry source to IAM’s Joff Wild

Conversant will be at IPBC China in Beijing this April. Watch this space for our highlights from this key event, themed ‘Maximising IP value’ in the Chinese marketplace.