June 23, 2009

R.I.P. Ocean Tomo - Intangitopia Special Report

Last week Ocean Tomo sold their patent auction part to ICAP. This created some stir in the news and blogosphere, examples and very few (bloggers) actually seemed surprised. IP Law&Business , and Managing IP among others, have good pieces on the deal. That articles also feature commentary, also found elsewhere, by Ron Laurie from Inflexion Point who says that the major reasons were:
* The Ocean Tomo business model of targeting the low end of asset quality
* The difficulty to conduct diligence.
He also mentioned Intellectual Ventures' likely withdrawal from bidding at Oceant Tomo auctions as. That rumor, which fueled the debate of IV "puppetmastering" the auctions, led to another good IP Law&Business piece (pdf), an interview with IV chief of acquisitions Kevin Barhydt.

The 5$ million in cash and possible 5$ million in stock is a fire-sale price for OT, which for long time where hyped as the saviours of IP liquidity (also by myself, as found in previous posts here and here). Personally I must admit that I believed in the OT model for a while, but in hinsight it was more likely due to lack of experience. Regardless if it was IV in disguise who bought the OT patents or not, it seems as if buying patents "blindly" is not something people are less interested in doing - also likely related to the recent drop in financial strength of many firms. Regardless of that, I still would like to cast some light, in form of Ocean Tomo statistcs, on what I believe to be the death of the public IP marketplace.

Please find a Intangitopia Special Report - where 8 full Ocean Tomo auctions are analyzed inside and out in order to provide you with a better and objective view on what once was the great Ocean Tomo.

// Marcus Malek

(Follow me on twitter)

IP as a financial asset will be discussed further by prominent IP thought-leaders during CIP FORUM 2009, 6-9 Sep, Gothenburg, Sweden

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