BBC News: Looking for incremental income to add to your business’ books on the long road to recovery? Why not throw intellectual property into the mix? Julian Nolan has just the thing to help refocus any business on their IP in his topical piece, Intellectual property is not a luxury. He writes:

When it comes to developing new products, many large international companies, such as Procter & Gamble and Nestle, actively acquire some of the technology needed for new products from third parties.
 
Small companies can, however, also benefit by adopting a similar “in-licensing” approach for technology that has been researched at third party research and development laboratories, such as those at universities, companies and government research institutions.

Very often this allows new products to be brought to market more quickly, and at less initial cost, than might otherwise be possible, and perhaps be used to compensate for any reduction in your product development budget during the recession.

At the other end of the product lifecycle spectrum, mature or legacy products can sometimes take up a disproportionate amount of business management and engineering time.

That doesn’t mean you should give up on these older products, as they create a reliable and steady flow of income from an established customer base. If you’re totally fed up with maintaining them though, there are other options to keep monetizing them without intensive hand-on involvement.

One idea to consider is whether the IP behind these old products can be licensed out, and perhaps combined with a related supply agreement so you are able to support your customers.

This approach can help to free up management, engineering and production resources as well as sometimes producing a nice boost to related margins.

Finally, if you already have licensing deals for some of your IP, then consider whether repeat deals may be possible.

Multiple licenses with the same customer generally cost less to execute and are less risky.

Every little bit helps, in any case. So, keep a stiff upper lip, maximize your return on R&D investments through the judicious use of patents to create revenue streams, and most of all, whatever you do, read the Innovators-Blog each day for the very best in IP news and commentary.

PR Web: Ocean Tomo, a leading intellectual property auction house, released information on its plans for an upcoming IP event, the IP Think Tank event on March 24-25, 2010, in San Francisco, California. From the news release, ICAP Ocean Tomo Announces IP Think Tank Track: Developing a National Intellectual Property Economic Infrastructure, come more details of this note-worthy development.

ICAP Ocean Tomo, the intellectual property brokerage division of ICAP plc (IAP.L), today announced one of four program tracks for the upcoming IP Think Tank event on March 24-25, 2010, in San Francisco, California. The tracks are focused on exploring the next generation of intellectual property (IP) development.

“The concept of developing a national IP infrastructure is extremely relevant and thought-provoking,” says Dean Becker of ICAP Ocean Tomo. “Thought leaders from IP and corporate finance communities will benefit from discussing the components necessary for building such an infrastructure. They will be offering constructs for standards, patent ratings and trading to facilitate asset transactions and corporate liquidity.”

And not the three-martini lunch kind of corporate liquidity you might be thinking about, constant reader. Following Ocean Tomo’s presentation will be a look at the future of IP economics. Here are a few tidbits on that subject:

The National IP Infrastructure track will follow ICAP Ocean Tomo’s well-received IP Think Tank conference model, beginning with panelist presentations on subject matter, including valuation standards, policy leadership, and standard contracts. The program then continues with a collaborative panel and audience discussion on the future of IP economic infrastructure development, wrapping up with a presentation of the session by moderator.

In a separate PRWeb.com piece, USPTO Director David Kappos’ upcoming speech in New York State to future IP lawyers takes center stage. The following is a short synopsis of what’s to come:

In his talk at the Law School, he will discuss the future of the patent office, as well as the issues it currently faces, including patent quality, long waiting times for patent examination, and a 770,000 patent application backlog.

“In order to assist the businesses, innovators, and inventors that create American jobs, the USPTO must be a model in the world for IP administration and protection,” Kappos said. “We must lead in application pendency, examination quality, as well as protection of IP rights globally. To cut long wait times, and reduce the backlog, the USPTO is working diligently to increase examination capacity and gain process efficiencies. To ensure the highest quality patents the USPTO is reengineering its quality management program from top to bottom.”

This event is free and open to the public.

If this kind of thing is your ball of wax, be sure check out the related news release, Director of the USPTO, David Kappos, to Speak at New York Law School on the Future of the Patent Office.

Bloomberg.com: Pink Floyd recently won a bid to secure additional royalties for the sale of its fantastic and famous albums. James Lumley and Erik Larson report:

The ruling gives Pink Floyd leverage to seek more royalties if the band decides to allow single-song sales in the future, said Ian Karet, an intellectual property lawyer with Linklaters LLP in London, who isn’t involved in the case.

“At the time the contract was signed, it is unlikely they were foreseeing online sales,” Karet said today in a phone interview. “Everybody in the music industry is looking to extract whatever value they can at this point.”

EMI, owned by Guy Hands’ Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd. private equity group, was granted a request to have part of the judgment relating to royalties given without the media present.

Pink Floyd claimed it owned the rights to all of its music, and not just for ‘albums’ which was the niggling detail that spawned EMI to try to muscle in on the digital download booty. As far as the contract with Pink loyd goes, “EMI’s lawyers claimed it only applied to the ‘physical product’ such as compact discs and vinyl records” which is to say, they were being a bunch of weasels. There’s more for the taking: just click on this title: Pink Floyd Wins Contract Suit Against EMI in London (Update1).

TechDirt.com: Mike Masnick poses a number of interesting questions concerning a book featuring derivative works from a child’s monster drawing in his related piece, How Does Copyright Apply To Your Kids’ Monster Drawings? He writes:

Justin Levine has an interesting blog post up about a book I hadn’t heard of, called The Monster Engine. The author, Dave Devries, took children’s drawings of monsters, and turned them into paintings that use the identical line structure of the kid’s drawings (he projects them on the wall and then draws over them). Apparently, Devries’ work is quite popular, and people have talked about it on the internet for years…

Of course, the interesting part of Masnick’s post is the comment section, which is his usual modus operandi. A few of the comment posters bring up the issue of child copyright protection and the validity of contracts signed by minors or children under the age of majority.

Bonus IP piece o’ the day: i4i Review Redux by the Patent Hawk at The Patent Prospector.