SALE / Disposition
In a sale environment, intellectual property is often the last asset group to gain attention. Typically, once the hard assets (i.e., A/R, inventory, equipment, real estate, etc.) are addressed, the focus then shifts to what’s left—intellectual property and intangible assets. The intangibles represent the biggest opportunity to generate substantial incremental value for the seller through the monetization process.
The inventory and triage should identify the full extent of the intellectual property and intangible assets owned and/or operated by the seller. This group of assets may include the obvious assets, such as trademarks, patents, copyrights and domain names. However, there may be additional assets that are overlooked, ranging from software and customer databases, to trade secrets and license agreements.
Once the assets are identified, it is important to triage the portfolio into the most logical groups for valuation and/or disposition purposes. From here, ownership of the assets must be verified to confirm the seller’s rights. Encumbrances on the assets can severely impact asset value and hamper the ability to exploit the assets in the marketplace.
Once the assets are properly assessed, the “go to market” strategy is developed. From a top-level perspective, intellectual property is by definition unique and few comparables exist in the marketplace. These assets require a strategic plan to effectively communicate the inherent value opportunities, as intellectual property includes the ability to leverage the assets into new opportunities. Whether via strategic licensing, joint venture, sale or other monetization scenario, intellectual property contains untapped value that, when properly exploited, can generate substantial returns for the new owner.
When marketing these assets, targeted buyers will require substantial information about the assets and the related opportunities. To maximize value, the assets must be creatively packaged and communicated to an expanded universe of potential buyers. Disposition agents must possess a vast network of resources to reach a broad audience. While direct competitors may be the obvious targets in many cases, the expanded universe of potential buyers should include financial and strategic buyers. Moreover, buyers can be targeted through specific intellectual property and other industry resources.