The Silver Bullet

Intellectual property is valuable. There are no formal, register measures of global revenues from IP sales and licensing, but figures of over $100B per year are spoken off, and seem reasonable, even cautious. The economic benefits of IP will certainly be in the $ trillions. Companies now look to their Head of IP to produce revenue, bottom line revenue, which can boost company performance, at least temporarily. Kodak announcement in early 20101 seems a case in point.

Kodak announcement of better than expected results owes some debt to a “one-off” IP transaction. Leaving speculation of the what and how to others, the key point is the strategic potential of realising value from IP. In the case of Kodak the press reports talk of the company staving off the threat of bankruptcy. Strategic value indeed.

It is now 20 years since Kevin Rivette and David Kline’s ground breaking book “Rembrandt’s in the Attic”, pointed to hidden value in IP assets, particularly patents. The large corporates, the IBMs, Microsofts, and Sonys of the world have got the message. They drive value, hard cash to the bottom line, from their IP portfolio, as well using them for other commercial, business purposes. Not everyone does though, and fewer still have adapted their business models, or even augmented them, to lock in the creation and realisation of value from IP.