New Delhi: Call it stretching the concept of laissez faire beyond extremes, but the human brain is now up for sale to the highest bidder in what is being touted as the first auction of its kind anywhere on this planet. And no, this isn’t about trading in human organs or paying top dollar for the best employee.
IP Auctions GmbH (IPA), a German company specializing in patent evaluation, patent monetization and patent management from different technology areas, is presenting the Intellectual Property Auction. At an international event in Munich, slated for 14-15 May, companies will try and outbid each other for patents, licences and trademarks that are the brainchild of other, more research driven organizations.
IPA will be auctioning more than 320 patents in about 70 lots from companies such as Bayer Innovation and Rolls Royce, and research institutes such as Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, besides individuals.
Apart form trademarks, the live auction will offer patents and licenses covering technologies such as mechanical engineering, aviation, automotive, electrical engineering, process automation, materials science and nanotechnology, microelectronics and IT, consumer products, biotechnology and life science, medical science and ”green” technology. In addition, IPRs of the Future, that is early-stage technologies from research institutions, will also be on the block.
IPA is an independent member of an international network engaged in bringing European Technology to the World. The company’s director, Manfred Petri, says its objective is to commercialize first-class IP rights of all technology areas via auctions.
Perti was in India recently to invite both Indian intellectual capital and bidders to the event. In an email interview with Livemint, he said he was confident of getting a good response from India, given the growing number of acquisitions by Indian companies outside their homeland. But he declined to give details of participants from the country.
The major goal of this auction, says a company release, is to provide IPRs to companies and help them expand into new markets or to enlarge their range of products and services. There are various vehicles of trading IP Rights, such as traditional bilateral exchange, public patent value funds, private placements, supplements for private equity investors and auctions.
However, the auction offers a number of advantages, the biggest being its potential to substantially lower overall transaction costs, and represents the shortest distance from the brain to the market.
IPA has established an online data room for registered bidders. Each participant will receive a bidding number and a password, both of which are keys to the online data room. Once a bidder has access to the online dataroom, he can communicate with the seller either directly or via an administrator, pose queries and seek clarifications.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) is a booming trade globally, with royalties between 1990 and 2000 rising from $10 billion to $100 billion.
Despite the rising importance of intangible assets, the trade in intellectual property rights is still underdeveloped and not very transparent. This leads to substantial economic loss. For instance, a survey by the Austrian Patent Office says that in Europe, 15- 30% of research expenditure – equivalent to Euro 50 billion a year – is spent on duplicate inventions.
A patents auction is a means of preventing duplication of inventions, of promoting trade in intellectual properties, thus saving considerable costs for companies, says Petri.