Greetings to all our colleagues and friends! Happy pumpkin season!
We started the 4th Quarter of 2018 with the LES Annual Meeting in Boston, where I enjoyed meeting many of you in person. This was a very busy meeting for me personally, as I have officially assumed the role of Chair of the
High-Tech Sector of LES USA-Canada
, presiding over a group of close to 1,000 members, with 7 subcommittees and a team of over 20 committee leaders. The High-Tech Sector has great aspirations for the coming year, which we presented to our membership at the Sector Business Lunch during the conference. We are in recruiting mode, looking for more leaders and for new and relevant content, which we present to our members through webinars, workshops and articles. If you are interested in getting involved as a leader, member or speaker, please let me know.
In this newsletter, we present the most recent installment in our Brand Strategy series:
From Santa Claus to Kaepernick: The Role of Brand Association in Building Iconic Brands.
In this blog, Foresight Associate, Sebastian Custodia, explores the concepts of Brand Association and Cultural Branding through the lens of Nike's recent "Dream Crazy" campaign. Also in this newsletter, we preview some of the upcoming events that we are particularly excited about. I will be giving my semi-annual
Silicon Valley talk
about startup valuations, financial modeling and funding - an event that we are presenting in collaboration with Lifograph, a leading networking organization for startup founders and investors. Also coming up in November-December are a few LES High-Tech Sector webinars on emerging trends in technology and licensing, that are not only educational but also free to attend! Make sure to reserve your spot.
3 Key Takeaways from the LES 2018 Annual Meeting in Boston: Blockchain, Lessons from a Harvard Professor, and a Few Outstanding Deals!
The LES 2018 Annual Meeting took place over a sunny week in late October in Boston. I regretfully did not see as much fall foliage as I was hoping to - a combination of spending most of my 4 days in Boston inside the Marriott Hotel, plus the fact that apparently the weather has been too balmy for the colors to really burst out. Coming from the San Francisco Bay Area to Boston provided an excellent opportunity to revisit the long-standing clam chowder debate. After eating the Boston variety of the hearty chowder in almost every meal during the conference, I have to admit that it was pretty similar in taste to its West Coast cousin, with the sourdough bread-bowl serving giving SF a slight upper hand....
While the main attraction in town during the week of the conference were the Red Sox advancing in their playoff pursuit, there were some memorable moments inside the Marriott as well. My conference highlights this year came from the confluence of several factors: the conference's location in Boston, LES's focus on IP licensing and deal making, and the fact that content at LES meetings is carefully curated so that there is always a "hot topic" that allows participants to stay on top of the most recent technology trends.
Below are my top 3 conference takeaways, in no particular order:
1. Blockchain Technology is Entering IP Services
One "hot topic" that has dominated recent technology and financial news is Blockchain technology, which was a theme throughout the LES conference, and manifested in a series of workshops and presentations, including in-depth discussions on topics ranging from the valuation of Blockchain IP and digital assets (tokens), creative funding models like token pre-sales and initial coin offerings (ICOs), as well as topics related to patent protection in the Blockchain ecosystem.
One of the sessions that demonstrated the challenges and opportunities that Blockchain presents in the IP services field, was a session titled: Blockchain: Early Stage Technology Valuation in a Media-Hyped Market. I participated as a panelist on this session, and contributed insights from my experience with the valuation of utility tokens, which are digital assets created to facilitate transactions on the blockchain network (not to be confused with cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum). I had the pleasure of sharing the podium with panelists from other leading IP valuation firms, each sharing their experience with valuing IP in the emerging Blockchain ecosystem (I will elaborate more on this panel in a future blog).
In addition to valuation questions, the panel also included a Blockchain technology overview by Jimmy Nguyen from nChain, a company developing a large Blockchain patent portfolio. Nguyen, an IP lawyer turned blockchain entrepreneur, gave a passionate talk, explaining the basics of blockchain technology and some of the most promising use cases, including: IP Registration, Supply Chain Management, Music and Content Rights Management and Smart Insurance Policies.
2. Universal Lessons in Negotiations from a Harvard Professor
The conference's location in Boston provided the opportunity of hosting Harvard Business School Prof. Deepak Malhotra as the conference's keynote speaker, discussing global lessons in negotiations (as well as handing every participant a copy of his recent book,
Negotiating the Impossible). Keynote talks over lunch are a challenge to every speaker: the talk needs to be captivating enough to be heard over the noise, general enough to address a wide variety of participants, yet also specific enough to appeal to the specific needs to the group. Prof. Malhotra's talk was all of that, and more. He delivered a highly entertaining, yet educational and relevant talk, addressing universal negotiation challenges through a series of stories covering historical events. He used real-world situations and vivid anecdotes, ranging from the NFL salary negotiations to the Cuban missile crisis, to highlight ways in which people overcame conflicts that seemed impossible to resolve through negotiation.
Prof. Malhotra left the audience with several takeaway lessons for negotiating in tough situations, which generally fall under three categories - below are a few that stood out:
(1) Understand your counterpart in negotiations, including:
- Focus on what happens to them if there is no deal
- Seek to understand the reason for their words and actions
- Develop a Learning Mindset: interests, constraints, alternatives, perspectives
(2) Focus on the process, including:
- Make is safe for them to change course
- Negotiate process before substance
- Don't just prepare your arguments, prepare your audience
(3) Make sure the outcome is a 'win' for all sides.
- Write their victory speech for them
- Help them save face
- What's not negotiable today, may be negotiable tomorrow!
3. Deals of Distinction Awards: Beyond IP Licensing
The LES Deals of Distinction Award (DDA) is an annual industry sector award program of LES (U.S.A. & Canada), which recognizes worthy IP licensing deals that promote creative and innovative solutions to business issues involving the exchange of IP rights between parties. Now in its 14th year, the DDA awards for 2018 were presented at the annual meeting to the selected deals over the 5 main LES sectors: Chemicals, Energy, Environment & Materials (CEEM); High Technology (HTS); Industry University Government Interface (IUGI); Life Sciences; and Consumer Products Sectors.
This year's award winners represented a broad range of deal structures, beyond just traditional IP licensing. As a matter of fact, the only deal involving a traditional patent licensing structure is the Consumer Products Sector's deal: the Ericsson-Micromax global Standards Essential Patent (SEP) license agreement.
New deal structures are particularly present in sectors where the role of IP (particularly patents) is shifting, and new types of intangible assets emerge, which often lead to the creation of new deal forms. A good example for that is the High-Tech Sector's DDA award recipient this year, Blockstack (a Foresight client), a successful Blockchain startup from New York, in recognition of their $50 Million token pre-sale funding deal. The award was given to this deal since it represents both technological innovation (digital assets created on the Blockchain network) as well as innovation in funding. The deal attracted many leading Blockchain investors, including the likes of Union Street Ventures and Lux Capital.
Another trend that emerged with this year's DDA recipients is the cross-border nature of the deals in several sectors. Take, for example, the CEEM Sector's deal: Lightbridge Corp. (U.S.), Framatome, S.A. (France), and Framatome, Inc. (U.S.) - Enfission Joint Venture between Lightbridge and Framatome, formed to commercialize a game-changing Nuclear Fuel Technology. The Life Sciences Sector's deal: Pieris Pharmaceuticals and Astra Zeneca's worldwide preclinical alliance for antibody mimics to treat respiratory diseases, is another example of international collaboration to commercialize IP. Finally, the IUGI Sector's deal also featured an international player: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (part of the National Institutes of Health and Serum Institute of India, Pvt. Ltd.) which has been honored for releasing ROTASIIL®, a low-cost, temperature tolerant rotavirus vaccine for developing countries.
Foresight in the Media
From Santa Claus to Kaepernick: The Role of Brand Association in Building Iconic Brands
The latest post in our Brand Strategy series discusses Brand Association component of Brand Equity. Brand Association encompasses attributes such as emotions, products and images that trigger consumers to think of your brand, and that come to mind when they interact with your brand. The piece explores how brands such as Coke, Cheerios, and Chick-Fil-A have worked to build positive Brand Association and leveraged those associations in building highly valuable brands. Additionally, the emotional component of Brand Association and the process of Cultural Branding are looked at in detail through the lens of Nike's recent "Dream Crazy" campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick.
For the full article, please click
Financial projections are critical when raising money. Investors are expecting founders to include their financial projections in pitch decks and be able to tell their startup story with numbers.
Join us for a great hands-on workshop on how to build your financial projections and do financial modeling with Foresight president and Stanford Lecturer, Efrat Kasznik. Efrat will share best practices on how to build a robust business and financial model based upon realistic expectations and sound assumptions and successfully communicate your financial vision and expectations to investors.
To register for this event and for more information, please click here.
LES High Tech Sector Webinars
- Next week - Tuesday, November 6 - 1:00 pm Eastern: Webinar - Cloud Services and Software: The EU's GDPR - What is it, how does it affect me?
Learn more and register...
- Wednesday, December 5 - 1:00 pm Eastern: Webinar - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Negotiating Product, Service, and Marketing Agreements. Learn more and register...