Finance: Participants from the world of finance indicated that investment banks rely on conventional financial metrics. While there is general recognition that intangibles account for 70% of enterprise value, there is a level of ignorance about IP as an asset class [the "70%" figure is a great starting point for discussion. While the figure may have some validity when spread across enterprises as a whole, it will differ radically as between different sectors and between different enterprises in the same sector. Those intangibles may be renewable or non-renewable registered rights, unregistered rights or amorphous rights like trade secrets. Worse, the IP rights may actually be owned by others and enjoyed only by way of a licence. Given this reality, one can question whether the 70% figure is of any genuine use];
Corporate: From a corporate perspective it was recognised that IP is increasingly important in a broad range of corporate transactions, and it is essential to focus on what matters: this is rarely a question of valuing a single piece of IP, but rather is a matter of addressing its importance to the deal as a whole [the contextualising of IP rights within a corporate business plan or an ever-changing market cannot be underestimated: while IP rights were conceived at a time when the paradigm was one IP right per product or process, this is rarely the case today].
Lawyers: The lawyers participating in the discussion pointed out that the contractual matrix (e.g. assignment, exclusive or non-exclusive licence or pooled rights) is an important part of the picture. Clients appreciate the external team’s ability to see the deal as a whole [where the remit of the external team includes non-IP issues such as tax-efficiency or possible antitrust and competition problems, clients may be asked to keep many different considerations in mind at the same time -- this can be a problem when time is pressing or when the external team struggle to appreciate the issues relating to each others' professional disciplines].
Analytics: Analytics experts observed that, while financial markets are familiar with S&P-style indexes to rate the general state of affairs, an appreciation of the function of IP rights within a business would benefit from better ways of communicating relevant risk- and value-drivers [but that people who are familiar with the traditional indexes and who have learned to operate successfully in reliance on them need some persuading that further data -- however well it is communicated to them -- will deliver that benefit].A measure of consensus was also achieved across a range of topics. In particular:
* More attention is now being devoted to IP across a wider range of transactions than was previously the case;Readers are invited to offer their thoughts on the points made above. Have the participants got it right? Do let us know what you think.
* Sector-specific approaches to IP are fundamental (e.g. pharma/biotech has characteristics that are not found in other sectors);
* Since both time-scales and budgets for completing transactions are tight, trusted advisers are highly valued;
* There is still some way to go before IP issues will be recognised and taken into account as part of the deal-making process;
* The financial services sector can derive benefit from gaining a greater degree of familiarity with IP issues and trends.