Alex Tame reflects on the Licensing Executives Society’s AGM 2019

The Licensing Executives Society (LES) for the UK & Ireland held its AGM on 18 June 2019 and Coller IP’s Alex Tame was in attendance:

Back in 2016, I had the privilege of presenting at the LES AGM on IP management in corporates and then attended the 2019 meeting, which focused on best practices in licensing in addition to general industry updates, as a delegate. As new supporters of LES, the team at Coller IP is keen to help get more involved in shaping its future and energising a new generation of business professionals for whom IP is now affecting other activities within their ecosystems. I was interested to learn how LES is tackling these (and other) challenges across its membership and while there is plenty of scope for improvement, this year’s AGM featured a range of thought-provoking discussions and views that seem to be heading in the right direction; here are a few of my key takeaways.


Deals in the life sciences sector are still happening

The life sciences panel was adamant that the market is still vibrant with buyers and sellers, while the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on the sector continues to evolve.  Elsewhere, China is becoming more active, but this is not necessarily leading to more life science related deals.


Licensing deals are shifting away from formal IP

Academic tech transfer offices highlighted a shift away from patents and other types of formal / legal IP within their commercialisation activities; instead they are seeing a move towards deals centred on impact and relationship. As patented technology becomes less significant (as a proportion of the overall licensing arrangements), this shift to more intangible-centred deals is causing challenges in terms of valuation and, looking to the future, we can expect to see a greater degree of focus on valuation – although I remind readers of this blog that valuation is all about context, context, context!


Patents simply tell a story

The AGM’s annual lecture featured a fascinating talk on effective patent strategy with the speaker reminding the audience that patents simply tell a story with a few choice statements at the end; an interesting view! We were also reminded that patents are rarely read by skilled technical people, instead they are read by Patent Office Examiners, investors, competitors and – perhaps most importantly – Judges!

The team at Coller IP looks forward to developing our involvement with LES over the coming years and to close, here a few choice quotes from the day:

  • “Spinouts are really just value-added licensing arrangements”
  • “Focus on creating intellectual property rather than lost property

If you are interested in learning more about any of the topics highlighted in our LES reflections, then please get in touch.

Coller IP offers best practice IP consulting focused on strategy, valuation, training and IP asset management with offices in Oxford, London & Belfast.