San Francisco, CA October 6, 2014 – Ocean Tomo, LLC, the Intellectual Capital Merchant Banc™ firm, announced today from the annual meeting of the Licensing Executives Society its re-entry into the live, intellectual property (IP) auction market.
“We are very excited to announce the launch of our next generation auction platform from San Francisco, the site of our inaugural intellectual property auction,” said Chairman & CEO James E. Malackowski. “After several months of working with the corporate buyer and seller community to define the parameters of the auction, we are now accepting submissions from patent owners wanting to sell high quality technology patents in an effective, transparent forum for commerce.”
Ocean Tomo has deep experience having created the live multi-lot IP auction marketplace in 2006. The firm exited the auction business in 2009, but has now returned to the business it pioneered in response to input from the patent acquisition and divestiture community that it would again benefit from a more transparent process for the purchase and sale of patents. The firm’s new offering will incorporate a number of changes requested by operating company buyers and sellers.
“The demands of the IP community are much more sophisticated and demanding now than they were eight years ago,” said James Trueman, the head of Ocean Tomo’s Transactions business unit. “We spoke with dozens of buyers across North America, Europe and Asia ranging from mid-size to Fortune 100 operating companies with combined acquisition budgets in the billions and we heard a few common themes loud and clear.” The strongest among those themes is a “less is more” focus on quality.
“Our needs have evolved when it comes to acquisitions. Today, we are focused on quality rather than quantity and the patents we are looking to acquire must meet very specific objectives,” said head of acquisitions at a Fortune 250 technology company. “We welcome Ocean Tomo to provide us with offerings that are supported by strong ‘evidence-of-use’ because my team doesn’t have the time to evaluate and prioritize everything that comes across my desk.”
Ocean Tomo, which is already back in the market for private IP transactions, has concluded that buyers and sellers alike valued and want to see a return of simple, transparent system that provides clear timelines for sale, equal access and price discovery.
“I was disappointed to see the market move away from the open environment that Ocean Tomo created. I like the auction format because it is straight forward and provides a reasonable, well-defined amount of time for diligence,” said the head of patent acquisitions at a Fortune 100 technology company. “I also like the real-time market intelligence a live auction provides when bidding while being able to see the price at which other patents sell. This helps me value future acquisition opportunities.”
“An auction can help close a sale faster than a private transaction because the market knows there is a fixed date on which they will be able to acquire a portfolio,” said the head of patent monetization for a Fortune 100 company, “which will reduce the time to monetization while helping me meet my revenue targets.”
Ocean Tomo plans to hold live auctions four times a year, approximately quarterly, with special purpose events in between. No more than 25 lots are planned for each auction, significantly less than the 100-plus lots offered early in the firm’s auction history. The firm will utilize an open outcry auction format for most lots, but has plans for the use of different auction bidding models for unique lots that will be shared with the IP community at a future date. Ocean Tomo plans to broadcast all events expanding to an expected global audience remotely bidding while reducing the travel commitments for both buyers and sellers. Diligence will again be through access to an on-line data room as well as facilitated interviews with sellers.
“Live auctions are an important part of a complete Transactions platform supported by the firm. We are unique in our ability to offer a range of solutions to our clients rather than the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach others presume,” said James Trueman. “Buyers have expressed an interest in a telepresence remote access auction to lower the barriers to participation. Many of our buyers also prefer the security and privacy of their own offices in order to discuss their offers while an auction is in progress. These benefits -- in addition to others that will be announced shortly -- will encourage a larger community of both buyers and sellers. It’s pretty exciting.”
Ocean Tomo’s first new auction will be held in the Spring of 2015. Submissions from patent owners looking to sell their patents are now being accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Buyers who wish to register to bid or who have questions may contact Ocean Tomo at email@example.com.