Europe’s First IP auction in Munich

If a newly identified work of Vincent van Gogh would be auctioned, would it be noticed by the bloggers, the press, any attention at all? Probably only when a new record is being set by the auctioned price. No the picture for this blog does not represent the proceeds of one of the patents auctioned today in Munich. The auction is organized by IP Auctions GmbH, a German IP valuation group. It is very much modeled after the Ocean Tomo auction, held in San Francisco, Chicago and New York. It was announced that next to patents, also trademarks and licenses would be auctioned. The appetite for trademarks seems to be low, as only trademark, “Nutri-Care” will be under the hammer. The auction, held today at 2:00 p.m in Kempinski hotel, will be both an English and a Dutch auction, the latter known from the first auction of flowers, whereby the auctioneer starts to call the object at the highest price, slowly lowering it until the first bidder raises it hand.What is striking about the auction is that the sellers are predominantly German companies, including Fraunhofer, Germany’s top technological research institute, comparable to TNO in the Netherlands, ABB Group, Merck Patent GmbH, the German Rolls Royce company, some German academics and the University of Saarland (also Germany). Volkswagen AG offers one non-exclusive license under a European patent for the manufacturing of a plastic autopart. One of the few non-German sellers is (I presume) a Spaniard, Salvador Perez, offering a patent “Pay-as-you-drive” as it is described, filed in 1994 (so with a limited lifetime left) “for evaluating the risk of a motor vehicle”. No details of the patent are being given, expect a link to a website where some unclear references are made in a rather clumsy way, to anything to do with car insurance. Hardly the sort of patents, one would expect to raise great interest for.The other non-German sellers include an interesting Dutch invention of a Netherlands based electro technical company, Wolters Engineering, for a reuse of paper waste. And belief it or not, who thought Chinese only copy are mistaken, a real Chinese patent is being sold for pharmaceutical wastewater treatment. Sounds like something the Chinese seller could license in China quite successfully (aren’t we hearing about massive pollution issues in China?). Why buying, if even the Chinese patent owner rather sells his patent than to enforce its own invention nationwide?To be continued after the actual auctions has taken placeOn the Munich auction, see also Frontrunner, a technology blog by Bert van Dijk, editor for Het Financieele Dagblad, Netherlands largest financial daily.