Online auction offers Indian IP a global market

Written by Arun S | New Delhi, Jun 19 | Updated: Jun 21 2008, 05:06am hrs
In a first for India that could transform the outlook towards intellectual property (IP) transactions in the country, Bangalore will host a live simulcast later this month of a unique auction to be held in Amsterdam: that of IP assets in different categories.

The auction on June 26 is aimed at helping inventors, small & medium enterprises, investors and even top multinational companies fetch good value for their patents, copyrights and trademarks--or at the very least garner much-needed publicity, even if their IP offerings do not find buyers. The annual event, now into its third year, includes India for the first time.

The department of industrial policy & promotion (DIPP) and department of information technology will coordinate the Indian side of the event, which will see the participation of senior IP professionals, Indian think-tanks, representatives from the Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology, as well as representatives of companies, including outsourcing firms like e4e and Computer Patent Annuities, and academia. Indian companies can now get an insight into the future of IP, thanks to these auctions, said a DIPP official.

The auction would be simulcast by Ocean Tomo, a firm in the business of intellectual capital equity valuations. Ocean Tomo held the first such auction in April 2006 in San Francisco and claims to have completed transactions worth over $70 million in the last two years. Without the auction floor, buyers of IP have extreme difficulty in understanding market pricing, as a very limited public dataset for comparable transactions is available, the company website claims.

IP law specialist Pratibha Singh agrees. Companies like IBM earn million of dollars by licensing patents and even have a separate division for it. Several companies, research institutions and universities own valuable IP that they dont use or cant implement commercially. Many Indian companies have not realised the potential of this business fully.

For its upcoming auction, the company will offer 65 lots of IP assets for sale in 20 categories, including smart cards, manufacturing & automation, online & mobile commerce, lighting technology, telemedicine, computer systems & software, digital media systems, domain names, security & authentication systems, messaging and electronics & handheld devices.