As I am quick to point out when asked, teaching is the one part of my job I enjoy the most. It’s both a forced discipline to crystallize and advance your own thoughts as well as a catalyst for insight driven by the questions of the students. This morning I had the opportunity to again teach the class of my good friend Professor James Conley, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Class 441, Intellectual Capital Management.
I have taught this and similar classes before, almost always on the general subject of global IP market development. It’s a topic I enjoy as it is in part recounting the success of Ocean Tomo over the past decade, but mostly because it provides a license to predict where our industry is heading.
My presentation is available to you but if you’re curious as to the over arching themes:
- IP as an asset class began its modern ascendancy in the mid-1980’s shortly after the creation of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Correlation or causation is less clear.
- As IP value became clearly separate from the operating entity which created it, the decade spanning the turn of the century witnessed the birth of a new industry of IP intermediaries, from web portals to brokers to auctioneers.
- Accounting and regulatory standards are always a lagging indicator and this is true for IP value recognition as well, but it appears as though such efforts, in small increments, have finally drawn global approval.
- Ultimately all assets of such significance will move to fair and transparent markets, and not surprising, IP is well on its way with the Intellectual Property Exchange International (www.IPXI.com) taking point.
- The surprising unpredictable force within IP markets today is a growing harmony of governments investing billions of dollars to leverage IP as a tool of economic development.
Listening to the student’s questions today, I was struck by their advanced understanding of IP as an asset and the diversity of experience that is being focused on unlocking its value. I suspect this is a testament to Professor Conley’s course generally, but in some way I also believe that it reflects a growing recognition that career success – whether as banker, lawyer, executive, engineer or consultant – will be increasingly differentiated by one’s understanding of IP as the asset of today and tomorrow.
I look forward to my next opportunity to teach.