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London IP Week – something for everyone

14th December 2018 | Leave a comment

London IP Week was a fitting end for the IP conference season, covering a broad range of topics. These included the recurrent 2018 theme of IP shifting from a strictly legal sphere to a more strategic role in organisations. Technology and specifically improved analytics is helping with this evolution.

Return on investment was a topic explored by many of the speakers through a variety of perspectives on both “return” and “investment” from both an industry and advisor perspective – and how to make better use of available data. Anne McAleer, from fingerprint scanning company IDEX Biometrics, emphasised that semiconductor companies needed to patent in order to be credible. Other returns include risk mitigation and value in cross-licensing and settlements. Slightly more intangible was the patent portfolio in the context of company valuation.

Our CEO Nigel Swycher was part of an engaging panel on the importance of technology in managing IP. Birgitte Andersen, set the scene by examining a number of initiatives close to the heart of the Big Innovation Centre, such a financing, lending and valuation. The overwhelming message from the panel was that there was a role for technology, but not one that would replace the need for expert human advice anytime soon.

Satish Tiwary, Head of IP Analytics at Airbus, defined his role as providing strategic information to the Airbus leadership. This is achieved by performing competitive intelligence around suppliers, customers and the industry more generally. Analytics can help predict what competitors are planning. Aerospace has a number of unique characteristics in that the product is likely to be in use for 30 years, so long term horizon scanning is hugely important. Satish concluded with an observation that repetitive work will be done by machines, which helps IP professionals become more strategic and take on leadership roles.

Nigel Swycher put it this way “AI is about machines replacing repetitive tasks with computers, leaving more time for value added work. These opportunities should be embraced not resisted”. Nigel explained why there has only recently been a quantum leap in the availability of high quality analytics; namely a combination of the mass digitisation of patent data, the ubiquity of cloud computing making it possible to run computer-heavy algorithms, and the disruptive influence of technology across multiple sectors.

There were thought-provoking panels on the impact of digital revolution. What to do about trade mark hoarders in China? How to deal with counterfeits in on-line marketplaces? The answer looks set to be a blend of self-help, regulation and reform, but as always the problems will race ahead of the solutions.

Kim Gagne, European Cloud Alliance, discussed risk in the open source and presented data on the increase in cloud patent related lawsuits. NPEs have increased their acquisition of patents in the field and he reviewed a range of private ordering mechanisms, such as Lot Network and AST. This is a topic very close to Cipher’s heart as we have recently launched Cipher n/d in collaboration with AST to reduce patent litigation and increase rational licensing.

In short, something for everyone – a bit like Christmas!

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