Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Hey man, why the long face?

A horse walks into a bar and the barman asks him: "hey man why the long face?"


Well, the same question may be asked when an IP attorney returns after even a few hours in a typical due diligence room; those soulless rooms containing the innards of corporate value and identity.

Bars are generally wary of horses, and the question and answer is so ludicrous and obvious at the same time that it is funny, except if you are a thirsty horse. Still searching for the link?

Almost all companies own a bundle of very valuable IP that they, their corporate advisors, the banks and employees very often do not know exists, or fail to appreciate or understand if they do. Due diligence rooms are therefore usually so devoid in their recordal of IP that an IP attorney is very prone to displaying, well, horse like tendencies after a visit.

It is refreshing then to come across this link to a company involved in the mining sector that very clearly values and understands its own IP:

Alexander has made steady progress in advancing its plan to commercialise its proprietary breakthrough AmmLeach® mineral processing technology [in the Chairman’s opening sentence!].

In South Africa [relevant] - AmmLeach® [trade mark awareness, nice] copper/cobalt demonstration pilot plan established in collaboration [licensing, good] with MC Process Pty Ltd [local company, tech transfer].

In DRC [relevant] - Patent [yes, protection exists] for a Method of Ammoniacal Leaching granted.

Because of confidentiality agreements [wow], disclosure has been restricted to those opportunities where we are able to put the news into the public domain… which has enabled us to create an invaluable database of know-how and intellectual property [the Holy Grail]….we have already agreed the principle of granting a licence in exchange for a gross sales royalty [$value, no way] and to provide any necessary technical assistance with the project development.

For many readers this post may seem ridiculous. Nay! it is a fact that corporate IP awareness remains very low, especially in Africa, and that is a significant challenge to the understanding how IP is valuable to both the private and public sectors. It is also one of the reasons why the mere mention of IP can create strong division in Africa.

So shout it LOUD, even if you go horse!

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