By Robert Harkavy, IPR Connections.
What was once the preserve of a newspaper’s business section is, more and more, finding its way on to the front pages. This, of course, is partly due to the worldwide economic situation and its relevance to the population at large, but also because people are starting to recognise that what happens in the boardroom is increasingly significant to the wider world.
Few sentient beings could have failed to notice the Apple v. Samsung smartphone wars, which have been raging for what seems like eons in courtrooms across the continents – and patent squabbles about phone and tablet technology are by no means limited to these two industry behemoths.
The truth is that a company’s patent assets, while invisible, intangible and difficult to quantify, are – in many cases – the mainstay on which their business depends. Fail to manage, commercialise and protect these assets and you could have your own personal Kodak moment.
Recognition of the role of patent assets in the modern business environment is just part of a wider international movement to encourage, foster and reward innovation. Witness the UK’s Patent Box, the America Invents Act or the recent streamlining of the European Patent process. And with more and more companies investing ever-increasing sums in their patent assets, bankers and investors need to ensure that they don’t miss out on the innovation boom.
Registering just one patent can be a costly and time-consuming process, and one which requires expert input at every stage of the journey. But the rewards for both the company concerned and its investors are potentially eye-boggling: the next labour saving household appliance, wonder drug or gas extraction process, to pluck a few examples from the air, will all be covered by multiple patents. It is those financiers who have had the presence of mind to put their hands in their pockets at the outset who are best placed to reap the considerable rewards when the product finally reaches market.
Step forward the London Patent Summit, a new conference, expo and networking event designed to address the management, commercialisation and monetisation of patent assets. Taking place at the London Stock Exchange on 8th and 9th October, the Summit’s headline partners include CPA Global (www.cpaglobal.com), Deloitte (www.deloitte.com) and IP Value Added (www.ipvalueadded.com). Speakers are drawn from a range of industry thought-leaders, including Stephen Pattison from ARM Holdings PLC, Richard Vary from Nokia and Peter Elliott of Unilever.
“The format of the Summit is quite unique,” explains Slava Blagoeva, CEO of organisers IPR Connections. “As well as a traditional, theater style conference, we’re also providing a networking expo. Rather than commonplace exhibitions, with ranks of aluminium-framed stands, we’re providing all our participants with a table, chairs and free wifi . This will allow exhibitors to showcase their products and services to industry leaders and senior decision makers from a variety of patent reliant industries in an atmosphere designed to encourage genuine and meaningful networking.”
This brings us to one of the perennial problems associated with conferences: the fact that the delegate demographic is too often skewed in favour of service providers (lawyers, consultants, accountants etc) – and frequently to the detriment of the genuine movers and shakers from industry. “This won’t happen at the London Patent Summit,” continues Blagoeva. “For the first time, we’ve introduced a 75/25% delegate split, where at least 75% of our delegates are guaranteed to comprise senior personnel from patent reliant industry. This ensures that, unlike at some conferences, we do not find ourselves in the situation where a vast number of service providers are all vying for the attention of a comparatively tiny number of potential clients.”
Why should potential investors attend the Summit? For starters, investing in intangible assets is quite unlike any other type of investment. The vast amount of expertise on hand at the London Stock Exchange will ensure that investors will receive an essential grounding in what the process entails. Knowledge, after all, is power! It’s also worth pointing out that few events can offer participants the opportunity to spend two days in one venue with the likes of ARM Holdings, Shell, Deloitte, Nokia, Unilever, HM Treasury, MSD, the University of Oxford, GKN, British American Tobacco and more. Many might conclude that this alone justifies the entry fee.
For those wanting to participate in the London Patent Summit, the news is mixed. Major sponsorship opportunities are all but sold out, but a handful of packages remain. With regard to the expo, and as a result of demand, additional space has been secured from the London Stock Exchange, and a two day spot can be bought from £2,500. The news is a little bleaker when it comes to delegate passes but, again, the organisers have held a few back if you’re late to the party. For more detailed information, visit www.londonpatentsummit.com, or call 020 7352 4356.