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Aon Intellectual Property Assets Briefing - May 2022

Thoughts from the Aon Team 

In recognition of World Intellectual Property Day, we put together a few highlights and insights from the past year.

It has been an interesting 16-months (if you include this year) as the concept of IP-backed lending has taken root. In just the past quarter, we’ve helped several IP-rich growth companies secure capital based on the value of their IP assets. These include CHASM, an advanced materials provider, LiquiGlide the inventors of a breakthrough technology that eliminates the friction between solids and liquids, and GRUBBRR, a provider of self-ordering technologies.

The growing demand for IP Backed lending underscores two points: the importance of businesses to understanding the value of their IP, and the growing appetite for non-dilutive growth capital financing. This growing appetite is expected to accelerate as alternative equity financing becomes more expensive due to decreasing value multiples in the current market.

Earlier this month, I was in San Francisco for arguably the risk industry’s biggest event - RiskWorld, RIMS annual conference. There, we launched our 2022 Intangible Assets Impact Report, which revealed the drastic need for firms to get serious about their IP.  Our research shows that the percentage of IP covered by insurance is 17 percent – up just one percentage point since 2020. When you consider that IP is perhaps a company’s greatest asset, and yet it has the least protection, it is humbling to remember the work that still needs to be done. It is why we continue to push this opportunity – because it is just that. An incredible opportunity for companies of all sizes, industries and geographies to unlock billions, if not trillions, in value and growth opportunities.

As always, thank you for reading and if you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

Lewis Lee, CEO, Aon IP Solutions


Aon in the News

  • CHASM Advanced Materials and Aon finalized a $25 million intellectual property-based funding arrangement.
  • Aon forecasted the end-of-March severe convective storm and tornado outbreak will add hundreds of millions of dollars to insurance market losses, making March 2022 a record month for the most tornadoes recorded. 
    • Impact Forecasting, an arm of Aon, said the economic impact from this week's magnitude 7.3 Japanese earthquake was in the billions.
    • Aon said an increasing number of schemes are focusing on their investment approach in the bid to be “settlement ready”.
  • Aon will launch a five-year, $30 million financial apprenticeship program in seven U.S. cities.
  • UBS Asset Management and Aon launched a new climate transition fund.
  • Aon released its 2022 report on Asian market trends, aiding businesses in how they can better adapt to the region’s risk and talent landscape.
  • Fast Company listed Aon as one of the 10 most innovative finance companies of 2022.


Executive Insights

  • Kathi Vidal was appointed to lead the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is expected to hold more power than her predecessors. Her appointment was praised by intellectual property stakeholders, although some observers expressed concern over Vidal’s ties to Silicon Valley. Vidal has previously denied that she is unfairly favorable toward tech interests, saying that she will commit  to “level the playing field” for small inventors facing large players in the space. Vidal is expected to examine the agency’s patent trials and appeals board process early in her tenure in addition to overseeing the agency’s diversity efforts.
  • A recent U.S. Patent and Trademark Office report revealed industries that intensively use intellectual property protection account for over 41% of U.S. gross domestic product and employ over one-third of the total workforce, with IP-intensive industries contributing to 44% of U.S. employment in total. Authors of the report argue that it underscores the lucrative economic benefits associated with a strong intellectual property system and helps to reinforce the Biden administration’s promise to provide access to the goods, services and quality jobs that stem from American innovation.
  • United States companies and inventors filed more patents in Europe in the last year than other global competitors, signaling a revival in U.S.-based innovation despite setbacks triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. companies accounted for roughly a quarter of patents filed with the European Patent Office, with aerospace and defense technology developer Raytheon Technologies leading the pack. Technology patents dominated in the computer, medical and communication technology spaces, with Chinese technology giant Huawei filing the most among all global companies. The spike in filings in 2021 reversed the dip seen in 2020, and although some observers viewed the increase as a sign of surging global innovation, analysts have said patent citations may be a better indicator of the pace of global innovation.
  • CVS is looking to be the first pharmacy to enter the metaverse, joining brands ranging from Nike to Blockbuster that have filed trademarks. CVS hopes to trademark its logo and provide an online store featuring downloadable virtual goods. Monster Energy and American Express have also filed trademark applications related to the non-fungible tokens and metaverse realms. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has seen a surge of registrations for brands entering the metaverse, an immersive online world incorporating enhanced reality and emerging technologies.
  • Nobel Prize winner Emmanuelle Charpentier and two universities officially appealed a decision related to CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing technology, a long-running challenge creating implications for companies working on therapeutics based on the technology. A seven-year dispute between two groups claiming to have invented the revolutionary tool seemingly ended in February when a U.S. tribunal ruled the patents belong to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, leaving the future of medical patents unpredictable.

"U.S. Is Out-Innovating Global Rivals Including China on Patents Filed in Europe" - Bloomberg / Source: European Patent Office


News of Interest

  • How patents became the beauty industry’s secret weapon - Vogue Business - 4/11/2022
    • Outbound Virality: Facebook: 12 Interactions; Twitter: 16 Tweets
    • The beauty industry’s new must-have hire? A patent attorney. As science-backed beauty brands grow in popularity, companies are looking to amass a greater number of patents. There’s more to be gained from a patent than intellectual property rights. Correctly deployed, patents can be a strategic tool, say industry executives.
  • The USPTO’s Increased Automation of Patent Assignments is Good for the Patent System - - 3/17/2022
    • Outbound Virality: Facebook: 2 Interactions; Twitter: 8 Tweets
    • More recently, the USPTO is automating the assignment process. The assignment process is a great candidate for automation using machine learning, because large amounts of training data are available to train a machine learning model. Automating the assignment process has several advantages: lower costs, faster processing, and more consistent and likely better assignments of applications to art units and examiners.
  • Apple, WiLAN settle patent disputes with license agreement - Reuters - 3/22/2022
    • Outbound Virality: Facebook: 108 Interactions; Twitter: 15 Tweets
    • Canadian patent-licensing company WiLAN Inc said Tuesday that it has signed a new license agreement with Apple Inc related to wireless technology, resolving a patent fight between the companies just weeks after Apple won an appeal of an $85 million court win for WiLAN.
  • World Intellectual Property Report: Digitalization Driving Today’s Innovation; Green Tech Needs Reboot - World Intellectual Property Organization - 4/7/2022
    • Outbound Virality: Facebook: 19 Interactions; Twitter: 0 Tweets
    • The rapid global response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic shows how innovative activity can adapt quickly to shifting priorities and a similar effect is needed to urgently address climate change, according to WIPO’s World Intellectual Property Report, which probes the complex sets of decisions that direct the development of life-changing innovations.
  • No agreement yet on WTO vaccine patent waiver compromise, U.S. says - Reuters - 3/30/2022
    • Outbound Virality: Facebook: 25 Interactions; Twitter: 78 Tweets
    • There has been no agreement on the terms of a COVID-19 vaccine intellectual property deal among four key World Trade Organization members, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said, amid growing questions about the effort's future.


Social Contribution

  • Rep. Mike Waltz @michaelgwaltz 31 Mar Biden's DOJ scrapped the “China Initiative,” which investigated professors/researchers stealing $225-600 BILLION in American intellectual property every year for #CCP military buildup. Read more about how we're holding both Biden's DOJ & China accountable
  • Vijayasai Reddy V @VSReddy_MP 11 Apr Happy to share that the Report on Intellectual Property Rights by Commerce Committee has received recognition all over the world, including a citation by US Chamber of Commerce, which has dubbed it as 1st major attempt at assessing India’s IPR regime. 1/2 
  • Gujarat Council on Science & Technology (GUJCOST) @InfoGujcost 11 Apr 26 April is World Intellectual Property Day! GUJCOST is celebrating the #WorldIPDay on the theme 'IP & Youth: Innovating for a Better Future!' Our #youth are stepping up to innovation challenges, using their energy & ingenuity, their curiosity & creativity for a better future. 
  • Darin LaHood @RepLaHood 30 Mar At today’s @WaysandMeansGOP hearing, I pressed @AmbassadorTai about policies that could allow our intellectual property to fall into the hands of the Chinese government and other bad actors. Protecting American IP and innovation must be a top priority in our trade agenda. 
  • Nature Biotechnology @NatureBiotech 4 Apr Licensing for profit and for good The @broadinstitute's enlightened licensing approach to CRISPR–Cas9 intellectual property stands out in the otherwise regrettable spat for patent rights over the foundational technology 

Aon’s Intellectual Property Solutions team helps clients identify, protect, and maximize value from their most valuable assets in today’s business world, their intellectual property. Aon brings the best minds and strong analytical tools to provide a comprehensive approach to intellectual property strategy, valuation and risk management across a client’s business -- aligning current and future intellectual property assets with a businesses’ overarching strategy.

For more information about Aon’s Intellectual Property Solutions, please contact  

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