Tuesday 3 March 2015

IP Finance Toolkit: a good first step?

The UK Intellectual Property Office's IP Finance Toolkit is now out. For reasons that baffle this blogger, it has not yet been placed online by the IPO, though the Office has given permission to our friends at Coller IP (who participated in this project) to host the 44 page document here.  According to its summary:
“Banking on IP? The role of intellectual property and intangible assets in facilitating business finance” report was published [in] October 2013. The report sought to examine how effectively SMEs are able to use their intellectual property assets to secure the finance they need for company growth. It highlighted barriers faced by IP rich businesses seeking debt finance.

In March 2014 the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) published “Banking on IP, An Active Response” . This summarised the IPO’s conclusions and set out the actions it intended to take to address some of the barriers highlighted in the original report.

One of those actions was the development of tools or a framework to support a better dialogue between businesses and financial services professionals. The tools will help businesses articulate the IP they have, how it is secured and how it supports the future cash flow of the business. This toolkit has been developed with that aim. It is geared to:
• Help lenders and businesses talk the same language;

• Encourage and guide businesses to document their IP assets ahead of any application for finance;

• Help businesses to develop more effective IP management and commercialisation strategies; and

• Raise awareness of the wide variety of finance options available for IP-rich businesses.
We hope you find this guidance useful and would encourage you to work through it in advance of any discussions with potential lenders. We would also encourage potential lenders to use this guidance to understand potential value that intellectual property assets may have to a business seeking debt finance
This blogger appreciates that a document as short as this one cannot hope to be a panacea for all the ailments associated with IP finance. He hopes, though, that it will help to improve the efficacy of communication between those who need IP finance and those who offer it -- even if there remains an even bigger bridge to cross when seeking to balance the deep-roote caution of lenders with the inherent optimism of would-be borrowers.

1 comment:

Louise Fullwood said...

What would be very practical and is not included in this report is a user guide to charging IP assets/registering security interests against registered IP. Whilst this is relatively user-friendly at the IPO it is not the case internationally and this is an area where both chargor and chargee tend to need to obtain a good deal of detailed legal advice. I am sure that business users (and indeed lenders) would find some initial guidance to be helpful. I am regularly approached by clients who have quite unrealistic expectations of the extent to which charges and security interests can be registered and the size of the associated costs