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Delegates from all four corners of the globe arrived in Cascais, Portugal on Sunday evening for the opening reception of this year’s IP Business Congress. A few had made the journey to the seaside town a little earlier to join in with what has become a pre-IPBC tradition.
Thirty thought leaders from the world of IP – around half of whom were senior executives from IP-owning companies, the other half IP service providers – took part in innovation games aimed at identifying future trends in IP strategy. This year’s games focused on large-scale IP transactions and their effects on the IP asset marketplace as a whole.
The gamers were split into three teams by Innovation Games Company CEO Luke Hohmann. Each group was tasked with playing out hypothetical scenarios that could face chief IP officers and their service providers.
One team attempted to predict the trends that would impact global IP practice over the next five years, and how various types of entity would be affected. The second group considered how the relationships between different types of entity shape the IP transactional marketplace and can have far-reaching implications on stakeholders. By creating a ‘cause map’ (with liberal use of post-it notes and multi-coloured string), the team conjectured on all of the possible consequences of a single IP transaction, including the wider business and economic impact. The final group was asked to pick a specific IP transactional event and consider who would be most affected by that event and how they should respond. Focusing on AOL’s sale of patents to Microsoft, the team highlighted the knock-on effect that deal has had on other companies, including Yahoo! and Facebook.
Some of the key takeaways on the day were that:
• Awareness of intangible asset value has already reached an inflexion point and will continue to grow; however, business leaders still tend to have a dated approach to IP strategy.
• Startups will need to focus on growth markets and the protection of their IP there; as well as emphasising their differentiation and making sure that the skill to raise capital is integrated with the IP strategy function.
• The world’s largest operating companies will need to be able to better predict trends in litigation, and will need to redouble their efforts when it comes to lobbying legislators and the media.
• Financial markets are desperate for hard data on intangible assets, and there is an increasing need for accurate and relevant IP valuation methods – though, the gamers thought, the search for uniform methods applicable to all IP owners may be in vain.
More insights from the innovation games will be revealed in the next issue of IAM. The IAM team – and plenty of IPBC delegates – are tweeting from the conference, using hashtag #IPBC12. Please feel free to do so too.