From a review of press coverage, you could easily believe that patent licensing is all about opposing forces, conflict and litigation. A patent owner sues another company and after a while the parties settle. Sometimes the patent is found invalid or it is ruled the defendant does not infringe it, and if not, courts issue injunctions and award damages.
Military language has often been used when it comes to patent licensing and litigation. The media talks about patent ‘wars’, industries or companies are ‘under attack’. This creates a negative energy and is not helpful. This is not a match between two sporting teams where the only outcome is victory for one team and defeat for the other.
From my previous roles, including as senior vice president of Nokia Technologies, I understand the importance of solving licensing challenges in a fair, and collaborative, way. That’s why I joined the Marconi team two years ago. The common thread that runs through all of our companies is the desire to find better solutions to licensing from a position of independence.
It’s crucial to the IP ecosystem that deals happen quickly and fairly. With over 200 years of patent licensing experience between our key executives, from both sides of the negotiating table, we have the resources, expertise and insights to ensure that we can create fair solutions for all parties.
Our approach to patent licensing has become increasingly successful. For example, one of our companies – Avanci – currently has 39 licensors in its marketplace, all driving Internet of Things innovation.
How do we ensure both sides of the table get the best possible deal? Well, it’s simply based on the notion that the conclusion of a patent license is not much different from any other business transaction. The same rules of human behavior apply. In the center of this are trust and relationships. A successful licensor must have insight and understanding about what drives licensees’ thinking. If a licensor makes the effort to build relationships and have discussions that show this insight and the willingness to take licensees’ viewpoints into account, the process already has a good start.
The insight we have about the needs and wants driving decision makers on both sides of the table enables us to be the solution builders. That starts with understanding the acceptable range of outcomes in any deal, whether that’s from the licensor’s or licensee’s perspective. We are the bridge.
While a patent license is a unique product, the sales arguments are not that different from other commodities. The product needs to be of good quality, the buyer needs to be convinced about the need for the product and the price needs to be right.
Our mission is to provide solutions that work for both sides – and ultimately for the consumers who will benefit from the innovation that results. While for licensors, initiating litigation against an unwilling licensee may still be a necessary step to gain attention and to resolve a deadlock in negations, it is rarely a good first step. This is why successful licensing operations are built on trust and insight – irrespective of whether one is a licensee or a licensor.