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Should patent-brokering service offer portal functions?

Posted: 13 Feb 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Open-IP consortium  patent brokering  Web portal 

Participants in the first Open-IP.org consortium meeting on Feb. 8-9 debated whether a patent-brokering information service should be a generic database for multiple Web portals or whether the group should offer portal functions to help patent buyers and sellers.

While the 40 technologists and attorneys attending the initial meeting spoke of hurdles to creating an effective consortium, most agreed that the effort had merit.

Taeus International Corp., a specialist in intellectual property (IP) and reverse engineering, called the meeting and invited law firms, semiconductor companies, OEMs, patent auction firms and other IP specialists.

Server pool
Taeus CEO Art Nutter said the original concept of Open-IP involved managing a common server pool to link the databases of external, for-profit portals, though "it certainly might make sense to offer value-added portal functions to get into patent archiving and filtering."

"There are really great features in the specific portals from people like Patent Caf and Yet2.com," added Matt Troyer, marketing director at Taeus. "But they're not attracting users. The Alexa ratings of most of the portals stink. How can we change this: simple aggregation or a portal of portals?"

Troyer said the intent of Open-IP is to create a universal language and protocol to create the equivalent of a Multiple Listing Service for licensable patents. The organisation would set up syndication procedures and patent categorisation methods using common XML and SOAP-layer interfaces. The overall Web model would use familiar publish-subscribe models from Service Oriented Architecture Web 2.0 architectures.

IP sources would publish to the list, while some analysts and legal firms would only subscribe. Most companies, however, would have a bidirectional relationship to the common portal, reflecting their roles as buyers and sellers of IP.

Ken Sheets, IP manager for Computer Patent Annuities North America LLC, said there was no reason a consortium shouldn't consider a portal, if its functions would provide search or archiving value not present at other sites. Dipanjan Nag, director at patent auction specialist Ocean Tomo, said a "best practices" guide to structuring patent offerings could include patent-metrics guidelines for assessing the quality and application breadth of patents, similar to the "IPQ" metric developed by Ocean Tomo.

New asset class
J. Cameron Pittman, an attorney with IP Acceptance Corp. of New York, said that if buyers and sellers could rely on such metrics, that would create additional value for external investors. In the aftermath of the subprime mortgage meltdown, he said, investors are looking for new forms of securitised assets, and standardised patent metrics could help establish patents as a new asset class.

Executives also considered reports on data syndication, portal requirements, best practices for IP sellers, funding mechanisms, patent categorisation and future initiatives. Once an initial release is established for patents, the future initiatives could involve similar data brokering for trademarks and copyrights.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times




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