What will attract rights holders to IP marketplaces?
Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2024

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

What will attract rights holders to IP marketplaces?

There is a lot of talk about the future of IP marketplaces, but not all rights holders are convinced of the benefits

At Hong Kong’s public briefing about its plans to be a hub for IP deals, advocates such as Secretary of Commerce Gregory So and IP Department director Peter Cheung touted the benefits of IP marketplaces and the importance of intellectual property to economic competitiveness. However, though a number of government and private entities around the world are looking to build such marketplaces, some rights holders are more sceptical as to what benefits they will bring to their companies.

“There’s a lot of talk of IP trading, but I’m not sure what this will actually mean,” said a senior IP counsel from an international lifestyle brand. “IP has been sold and licensed for years, so it’s unclear how Hong Kong’s plan to be an IP marketplace will change things.”

From the perspective of larger companies with expertise and resources, the exchanges envisioned by governments such as Hong Kong and Singapore may not provide many benefits.

“My company has bought a number of brands in recent years, and you have to do your due diligence each time and work out all the details in the deal,” the IP counsel explained. “If we’re buying a trade mark, we’re obviously buying it for the goodwill that it has built up; I’m not sure companies need a marketplace that will help them find and buy an unknown trade mark that doesn’t have any associated goodwill.”

Of course, advocates argue that the marketplaces can help in a number of ways, such as reducing transaction costs by providing matchmaking for rights holders and service providers. For example, in Germany, the Fraunhofer MOEZInstitute’s IP Industry Base(IPIB) provides a database of service providers. The IPIB allows users to use IPC codes to find legal professionals that have experience with a specific type of patent. Similarly, both Hong Kong and Singapore’s plans to be Asia's IP hub stress the need to build up the professional infrastructure. Singapore has been working on this for a number of years now since the establishment of its IP Academy back in 2002.

Proponents of IP marketplaces also say that they also provide a valuable service in helping to bring exposure to IP generated by SMEs and helping small inventors find licensors or buyers. The logic makes sense for patents where even large companies are looking for patents to strengthen their portfolios. However, this is often extended to the buying and selling of trade marks, where it is a bit uncertain. While companies commonly buy uncommercialised technology for various purposes, there does not appear to be much value for companies in searching for and buying unused trade marks.

What do you think? What does an IP exchange need to attract users? Should exchanges focus on providing easy access to support services? Or should they take a completely different form, such as IPXI’s financial exchange model?

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
Law firms that pay close attention to their client relationships are more likely to win repeat work, according to a survey of nearly 29,000 in-house counsel
The EMEA research period is open until May 31
Practitioners analyse a survey on how law firms prove value to their clients and reflect on why the concept can be hard to pin down
The winner of Managing IP’s Life Achievement Award discusses 50 years in IP law and how even he can’t avoid imposter syndrome
Saya Choudhary of Singh & Singh explains how her team navigated nine years of litigation to secure record damages of $29 million and the lessons learned along the way
The full list of finalists has been revealed and the winners will be presented on June 20 at the Metropolitan Club in New York
A team of IP and media law specialists has joined from SKW Schwarz alongside a former counsel at Sky
The Irish government has delayed a planned referendum on whether Ireland should join the Unified Patent Court, prompting concern about when a vote may take place
With more than 250 winners recognised during the ceremony, there are many reasons to be positive about the health of the IP industry in EMEA
Gift this article