Word came last week that the IP Auction platform that Ocean Tomo had pioneered and built into a world-renowned marketplace for high-profile intellectual property is now in the hands of another company, British information brokers ICAP. According to a press release:
ICAP (IAP.L), the world’s premier interdealer broker, announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire the transactions division of Ocean Tomo LLC, the leading Intellectual Capital Merchant Banc® firm, for an initial consideration of US$10 million at closing, comprising $5 million in cash and $5 million of restricted ICAP plc stock. Application will be made for the listing of 692,226 ordinary shares of 10p each which have been conditionally allotted as satisfaction for the stock consideration. The agreement also provides for a long term license to the Ocean Tomo brand and mutual referral. The transaction closed on 15 June, 2009.
Michael Spencer, Group Chief Executive Officer, ICAP plc, said “Patent brokerage is an exciting new field that will help to provide a marketplace and access to liquidity for an asset that has historically not been served by a vibrant trading market. It offers participants new opportunities to monetize intellectual property and to diversify investment portfolios with a new non-correlated asset type. The combination of ICAP’s existing successful patent brokerage business and the Ocean Tomo brand will help us build a leadership position in the global patent and intellectual property broking market.”
The Ocean Tomo transactions business includes the market leading Intellectual Property Live Auction venue, a Private Sale Brokerage unit, the Patent Bid/ Ask Platform and “The Deans List”.
Ocean Tomo’s Vice Chairman, Dean Becker, and nine employees will be joining ICAP.
Dean Becker, Vice Chairman, Ocean Tomo, said “We are excited to join ICAP as this transaction offers us the opportunity to grow the business further and help the market reach its full potential.”
Intellectual property (IP) assets are increasingly drivers of business success. Industry analysts estimate that the current total asset value of global patents is more than $10 trillion and growing. Patent monetization is a global business empowering innovative companies to hedge their ideas on future economic benefits.
Patent brokerage is designed to address the needs of buyers and sellers of IP assets and closely follows the increase of patent liquidity demand among companies and investors across all sectors. ICAP’s patent brokerage business leverages the talents of experienced intellectual property monetization professionals to match buyers and sellers for the sale of patents and other intellectual property assets.
Ocean Tomo retains its lucrative expert witness practice, which was actually its top revenue generator. How this might change the intellectual property marketplace is uncertain. I have had discussions with a few IP professionals who believe this won’t affect the market at all. It seems as though the leaders of Ocean Tomo will still be involved in the integral part of their transactions practice. I have enough faith in Dean Becker, Jim Malackowski, and DJ Nag to believe that they know what they are doing. These are entrepreneurial-minded professionals with a lot of expertise in the IP market. More soon . . .