5 Dec 2011

Firms told to be aware of value of intellectual property

6:51 am on 5 December 2011

Firms are being told their intellectual property is more valuable than they probably know.

Global IP Law Group's managing partner, Steven Steger, brokered the $US4.5 billion sale of bankrupt Nortel Networks patents to a consortium of companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Research in Motion and Sony.

Nortel's operating businesses only sold for $US3.2 billion.

Mr Steger says the sale price made people take notice, though it did reflect the strength of Nortel's patents, particularly in the in-demand wireless handset area.

But he says it highlights that patents can be a valuable way to raise cash.

Mr Steger says there's a lot of hidden value in patent portfolios currently because these companies spend a lot of money on research and development.

He says it's a way to get a return on that R&D investment, rather than just abandoning that line of technology, they can gain some revenue from that research and development.

EverEdge IP chief executive Paul Adams says company boards should focus on ensuring they can create all the wealth they can out of their research and development assets.

He says because New Zealand companies are smaller they will do their own research and development and then go to an external firm to file a patent.

Mr Adams says most of the knowledge and expertise around the intellectual patent will be in that external firm.

He says in New Zealand the board needs to focus on the fact that they have patented assets and perhaps something should be done with them rather than just leaving them sitting there.