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Ask HN: IP marketplace for startups?
8 points by will_brown 179 days ago | hide | past | web | 4 comments | favorite
I know IP is controversial within HN to begin with, but the recent "terminator of Startup" post got me thinking...

I've previously been able to liquidate IP (a method of automatically calculating legal fees). Before I get the label "troll", I brought the IP to market, engaged in discussions with near unicorns Avvo and Legalzoom.

The terminator post has me reconsidering other IP including a method for practicing medication therapy management. In this case the World's largest company green lit us for a pilot after just a 15 minute teleconference, but abdandoned the same due to a cofounder conflict of interest. That was simultaneously heartbreaking while validating. Even now we are talking with another top 10 Pharmacy to pilot, an independent pharmacy, and a local University Pharmacy School. I know ideas are easy it's execution that matters but the reality is I can't just start a Pharmacy to implement my own MTM software to demonstrate how it will facilitate Medicartion Therapy Management more effectively than the 2 existing Medicare MTM software vendors. There is no doubt many parties that could effectively bring my IP to market, but is there a way to effectively get my IP in front of their eyes?

Is this one of the moments where I have a problem and I should build my own solution (an auction website for IP, including trademarks, patents and copyrights)? Anticipating the HN concern about facilitating IP trolls, acquisitions/assignments through the system could include anti-troll clauses curbing the buyers enforcement rights in the event they are not actively in the stream of commerce.




Markets require liquidity so that buyers stand a reasonable chance of finding what they are seeking and sellers stand a reasonable chance of selling what they want to sell. Typically, this is achieved at least initially with market makers -- super buyers and super sellers (who can be the same entity).

Now if I think about the intersection of an IP marketplace with super-buyers and super-sellers, the obvious candidates would be businesses in the patent portfolios business. That's probably the place to begin research into existing markets and values and players.


I think Universities likely qualify as super sellers/licensors of IP, but obviously the ability/capacity for them to liquidate valuable IP at scale and/or bring IP to commercial markets is a real problem. Perhaps with the right "market" we might see more innovations/IP make it into market.

I think you're right with where to begin and I have secured meetings with the market incumbents for my IP, but it's been done via cold LinkedIn connects over the course of 6 months and to date I have not secured the type of deal that would make me forgo everything else (law practice, opportunity costs, etc...).


It sounds like your trying to develop a market to sell ideas. As much as I wish this were possible, the reality is you can't give away ideas for free let alone sell them.

The basic problem is people are more attached to their own crappy ideas than someone else's brilliant idea.


Brilliant ideas often lose to crappy ideas because of market incumbents, and even when brilliant ideas win it can take patents and fortunes to do so, Tesla:AC::Edison:DC.

IP on its own is more than a crappy or brilliant idea.

Take any startup they might have a trademarked name, logo, a domain, or patent...We know the vast majority of startups will fail" and it isn't because they all have crappy Ideas, some might have both crap ideas and valuable IP, but even crappy IP can still be valuable.

Alternatively, As I mentioned above Universities have patents but are often unable to bring them to market, isn't it unfair to assume unused University patents are crappy ideas since they aren't competing in the market?

I think if the market had easy access to these patents (to buy or license) we would find there is a lot of value in unused IP (both brilliant and crappy) not unlike UBER/AirBNB created found a lot of value in assets being underutilized by owners.




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