WASHINGTON, DC, February 26, 2003 – While awareness of patents as strategic business assets has increased over the past few years, a lot more work still needs to be done to educate senior management, shareholders and regulators about how they affect performance.
This was the consensus of eight authorities on intellectual property at a roundtable discussion focusing on the new emphasis on patent value convened by the International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI), an IP development organization and think tank.
The roundtable workbook, The New Emphasis on Patent Value: Opportunities and Challenges, is being published this week. Workbook contents include an edited transcript, introductory remarks, and briefs about patent value contributed by IP experts in business, finance, law and academia. The New Emphasis roundtable was held in Washington last summer at the Cosmos Club, and was designed to help IIPI and its worldwide constituents and supporters, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), better understand the concerns of the IP, business and investment communities about how patent value is understood and utilized.
“The potential for a patent ‘meltdown’ – mismanagement of R&D dollars or patent rights which lead to a significant loss of shareholder value – is greater than we think,” says moderator Bruce Berman , editor of IP bestseller From Ideas to Assets – Investing Wisely in Intellectual Property. “Efforts are being made by some managers and investors to get a handle on their intangible assets. At the same time, FASB and the SEC are beginning to recognize the need for companies to better assess and disclose patent value.”
“IP has got to be on the CEOs’ radar screen as something worthy of their attention,” stated USPTO Commissioner for Patents Nicholas Godici. “ Frank ly, what we have not seen in Washington is CEOs stepping up to the plate to show that they are actually aware of intangible assets and the need to identify their importance. Either they are unaware of the problem or are uncomfortable discussing it.”
Other IIPI Roundtable participants included:
· Kevin Rivette, patent attorney, inventor, IP strategist, and author of Rembrandts in the Attic, the most widely read book on patents
· James Malackowski, Managing Director of Duff & Phelps Capital Partners and past-president of the 8,000-member U.S. Licensing Executives Society (LES)
· Marshall Phelps , Vice Chairman of ThinkFire Ltd. and founder of IBM’s $1.7 billion licensing business
· Professor Margaret Blair , an economist at Georgetown Law School and co-author of “Unseen Wealth” with former S.E.C. Commissioner Steven M.H. Wallman
· Harry Gwinnell, Director of IP for Cargill, president elect of IPO, a former PTO examiner
· Professor Joshua Lerner, Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School who has written about patents as potential road blocks to innovation and business development
· Irving Rappaport , Director of IP Licensing for Symyx, a Silicon Valley biotech company, and has served as chief patent counsel for National Semiconductor, Apple Computer, Data General and Medtronic.
The New Emphasis roundtable workbook prepared by IIPI for the USPTO also is available to executives, investors and others interested in intellectual property.