Friday 20 March 2009

UK insolvency practitioners

Last Wednesday, following a virtually fruitless appeal on this weblog, the IPKat asked, "are there any IP-savvy insolvency practitioners out there?". He has since received a bagful of correspondence, some of it printable and all of it interesting. He has passed it back to IP Finance for the perusal of its readers.

The following individuals and/or firms have either been recommended by others or have written to express their own involvement:
Richard Fleming (KPMG)
James Sleight and Stephen Goderski (Geoffrey Martin)
Stephen Katz (Fisher Partners)
Brett Israel and Trystan Tether (Bird & Bird)
John Pennie (Dickinson Dees)
Martin Austin, Steve Parker, Trevor Binyon (Tenon)
Beverley Marsh (Vantis)
Andrew Tait (Abbott Fielding)
David Stephenson (David Rubin & Partners)
Robin Staunton (TLT LLP)
Lee Manning, Fiona Watson, Brian Simpson (Deloitte)
Philip Long (PKF)
Shirley Jackson MBE (BN Jackson Norton)
Radford Goodman (insolvency) and Jonathan Ball (IPR) (Norton Rose)
Alexander Stewart (Hogarth)
ReSolve Partners LLP
Grant Thornton
There were also some interesting comments. For example, Richard Yoxon (Intangible Business) wrote:
"As a result of recent negative press regarding pre-pack administrations, some insolvency practitioners are waking up to the fact that they need to get to grips IPR but they’re starting at the bottom of a steep learning curve. Intangible Business is supporting those insolvency practitioners who are alive to IPR issues. There may be plenty of scope for more innovative solutions in the longer term but for now the IPs need to learn to walk before they can run. It is also important to note that the attitudes and approaches to IPR of individual insolvency practitioners within a firm may differ".
Bernie O'Brien (Green Planet Enterprise) comments:
"I read with interest your posting regarding the paucity of insolvency practitioners with experience in IP rights...I have spent much of the past 15 years in the IP development business globally, and I am yet to find such a practitioner.

I spend a great deal of time having to educate accountants and insolvency experts on the realities of dealing wtih IP rights, and have been able to change professional thinking on restructuring on a number of occasions. I have had an increasing number requests over the past year to advise on company rescues where there are substantial IP assets involved.

With a legal background and a wealth of constructive experience at the sharp end of the IP industry (and having recently advised a client in the UK on pre-insolvency matters), I have no doubt that my input would be of benefit to your reader. There is also a new IP finance product coming to market which could be of interest".
Keith Hodkinson (Chairman, Marks & Clerk International) adds:
"... I went round the country last year on a roadshow organised by R3, the association of business recovery practitioners, speaking about the valuation, sale and purchase of IP rights in insolvencies and liquidations, along with a number of insolvency and valuation experts who claimed to deal in IP related transactions (mostly trade marks in fact, dealing with luxury brands like Asprey but also talking about issues such as the MG and ROVER (ROEWE) brand. As I recall we did events in London, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham and Belfast and there was a good deal of interest but a very large and evident gap in knowledge among practitioners about methods of valuation and risks attached to IP rights. it was clear that a lot was going to waste and that these rights were thought of as "difficult" things to sell and accompanied always by the most extreme caveats and a great reluctance to execute any useful documents for overseas rights recordal.

Over the years I've done quite a few of these and they combine the worst of time pressure with lack of cash for due diligence and scrappy documentation with great difficulty in proving title.

In passing I have also done quite a few acquisitions of IPR as bona vacantia from the Treasury Solicitor (another IPKat item) and that is relatively straightforward".
Thanks, everyone, for your responses.  IP Finance is considering having a meeting on this issue and will let readers know if/when this comes to pass.


Anonymous said...

Metis Partners act for a number of insolvency practitioners who are concerned about their accountability in pre-pack cases. We cover their **** and advise them on the value of the intangibles and IP and assist them in the negotiations with management for the purchase of those intangibles.

We are now being used by the banks to assist in debt restucturing using intangibles/IP as leverage. These are critical assets for any business but until now have been largely ignored by many bankers.

Money for Nothing! - that's what Metis Partners offer insolvency practitioners. In any corporate recovery situation, maximising the financial recovery for creditors is vital. Metis Partners help insolvency practitioners do this by focusing on the assessment, valuation and sale of formal IPR (patents, registered trade marks and designs) and certain key intangible assets such as brand, organisational knowledge and know-how, software and customer lists.

Jeremy said...

Here's another name to add: Patrick Elliot (Brown Rudnick)