Last May, I attended the Intellectual Property Symposium hosted by the Canadian Council of Innovators and the Business Development Bank of Canada.
The event was a first in its kind in Canada…bringing together investors, financiers, academics and the government. The intention was to start a conversation on what can be done to get the various stakeholders involved more comfortable in leveraging the intellectual property assets of Canadian technology companies, which in turn will improve their competitiveness.
This event clearly lines-up with the Canadian government’s investment strategy aiming at helping “Canadian businesses, creators entrepreneurs and innovators understand, protect and access intellectual property (IP) through a comprehensive IP Strategy”. Last week, the Canadian government announced the Patent Collective program and launched the ExploreIP: Canada's IP Marketplace to help entrepreneurs access and leverage IP.
All speakers contributed to the success of the event, but I want to highlight two in particular:
“IP Strategy to create enterprise value” from Louis Carbonneau, CEO of Tangible IP: the presentation explored what it means to value IP and how IP plays a role in building and maintaining value in an enterprise. The opening slide which set the tone for his session clearly demonstrates the growth in the value of intangible assets for S&P 500 companies over a span of 40 years.
“Managing your IP as an enterprise asset” from Ed Fish, Managing Director at Houlihan Lokey: the presentation explored the market option for transacting with IP and how lenders can gain confidence in using IP as a secured asset. The discussion of “value” of IP was the main focus of this presentation. There is much to be done for making the IP marketplace more transparent and accessible. Lenders need to know where to sell or liquidate IP if things go sour on a deal.
I believe a forum like the one created by the IP Symposium should have a sequel. Increasing awareness and knowledge of issues relating to intellectual property financing can help promote access to financing using IP.