Licensing IP may be the ultimate coming together of IP and business strategies

IPBlog wrote earlier about the Canadian International Council’s commissioning of a paper to study what appears to be an institutional lack of knowledge of the value of IP resources. Now the Montreal Gazette reports on CIC’s two-day conference on the topic. Unfortunately, more questions were asked than answers given. Professor Daniel Gervais (Vanderbilt University) went so far as to compare patents to physicists’ dark matter, “We know it exists, but we don’t quite know what it is.”

Marshall Phelps, Jr. formerly of IBM fame, the author of Burning the Ships: Transforming Your Company’s Culture Through Intellectual Property Strategy, told the audience the answer to the current patent-buying frenzy and valuation bubble is for companies to understand what they have (don’t look to the balance sheet for any help) and to adopt a smart paid-licensing model.

Coincidentally, Bloomberg reported that Sears is now looking to augment revenues (sales have been lagging since 2007) by licensing their Craftsman, DieHard and Kenmore brands. Though it would come with problems (lack of control, guarantees, etc.), there should be some potential in these brands;  a  quick search in ktMINE for trademark licenses in the retail world yielded nearly 100 agreements, with over half of them using a basis of license net sales, and with a median royalty rate between 4%-6%.