The 2016 IP Dealmakers Conference was held at the Apella in NYC on November 17-18. Sold out for a third year in a row, the conference continued to be the premier forum for investment funds, corporate executives, and monetization experts focused on intellectual property. The actively attended sessions covered topics such as IP finance, the current legal environment, the impact of the election on the IP business, IoT, and the business of patents in China.
The general mood of the conference was upbeat: in spite of the downturn in the patent business over the last several years and the lower success rate in patent enforcement in the US, participants speculated that the Trump administration would be more friendly than the Obama administration to IP rights holders. There was the belief that changes within USPTO would lead to less patents being overturned by the PTAB which has become a commonplace tool used by defendants in patent disputes to extinguish patent rights.
Participants also reported that patent enforcement outside the US, and in particular in China, has been a successful mechanism for revenue generation, and dealmakers reported that having an international patent portfolio had become an important investment criteria. The protection and monetization of trade secrets under the new Defend Trade Secrets Act 2016 (DTSA) was discussed and a specialized panel on that topic reported that the use of trade secrets to protect IP was going to increase.
Overall, participants in this year’s forum indicated that deals continue to get done as we emerge from this challenging time. The one-to-one meetings at the forum were highly successful, with over 200 meetings being held, and many parties reporting deals being struck right at the conference.