Is IP Management Part of a Board’s Due Diligence?

This week’s PLI seminar, IP Driven M&A, highlighted the important role intellectual property plays in determining the value of a company or in strategizing a merger or acquisition. The intangibility of IP is no longer viewed as a hindrance to its monetization, thus it is now treated like any other corporate asset. If purchasers are now recognizing IP as a part of their strategic due diligence, it makes sense that a major AOL shareholder is bringing IP mismanagement issues to the attention of their company’s board of directors.

According to news reports, AOL investor, Starboard Value LP, filed a request to replace five members of  the company’s board of directors based on the belief that AOL’s patent portfolio has “gone unrecognized and underutilized”, thus causing Starboard to call for replacements on the board of directors because they feel “increasingly uncomfortable with the direction of the Company and the leadership of the Board.” Leaves one wondering if IP mismanagement is a breach of fiduciary duty on the directors’ part, such that their removal from the Board is the best remedy for the benefit of the shareholders. (more…)

Chief Judge Rader to Speak at Patent Law Institute on All-Star Panel!

Patent law heavyweights will convene for what looks to be two very special days in New York City at PLI’s 6th Annual Patent Law Institute on February 16-17th.

 Chief Judge Randall Rader of the Federal Circuit will participate in an all-star dialogue panel between the bench and bar along with United States District Judge William Young and nationally-recognized expert practitioners Donald Dunner, Seth Waxman and Dean John Whealan of the George Washington University Law School.

Robert Stoll, who recently retired as Commissioner for Patents at the USPTO, is slated to open the program with a PTO keynote address. Commissioner Stoll is expected to report the latest developments regarding the PTO’s on-going implementation of the America Invents Act and other critical PTO developments.

Co-Chairs Scott M. Alter (Faegre Baker Daniels LLP), Douglas R. Nemec (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP) and John M. White (Berenato & White; Director of Patent Professional Development, Practising Law Institute) will navigate attendees through 6 exciting plenary sessions that discuss the practice impacts of recent Supreme Court and Federal Circuit decisions, AIA changes, current critical patent issues from the corporate counsel perspective, views from the District Court bench, the never-ending PTO changes and for good measure, an hour of legal ethics credit! (more…)