Slow down in IP auctions?

Joff Wild’s blog has a run-down of the first day of the ICAP Ocean Tomo auction — and the news is not good. Both sales and then number of patents auction are down significantly. Joff quotes Terry Ludlow of Chipworks summary:

If patents with clean provenance, limited licensing encumbrances and solid claim charts are offered, they still sell on the open market. But, no-one is buying speculatively. And, with the relatively high reserve bids published for the patents, most of the lots attracted no bids at all! The aggregators seem to have been entirely absent.

From what it sounds like, the bloom may be off the “IP-as-speculative-investment” rose. That may not be such a bad thing, however. If intangible assets can settle down as a solid asset class, then there is opportunity for sustainable growth in IA financing. But, as I worried about yesterday, if they remain “exotic” they are likely to remain a very small part of the financial markets. We need more vanilla and less Tabasco in this market.

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