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Aon Intellectual Property Assets Briefing - June 2021

Thoughts from the Aon Team

This month marks the one-year anniversary of our newsletter. It’s been an unprecedented 12 months to say the least, so we continue to be grateful for your ongoing interest and support. We also greatly appreciated all of the feedback and comments. Well, almost all of them…

Seriously though, with the increasing risk and complexity – and opportunity - in the market, we continue to stress that organizations need to be more creative and effective in raising capital. Especially non-dilutive capital. The rotation in value from hard assets, like buildings and real estate, to intangible assets, like patents, technology and brand, has brought about a new focus on how a company is valued. 

This week, entrinsic bioscience announced that they secured $49 million in funding from Jeffries Funding LLC. And it was our IP valuation platform that provided a key mechanism to value the company and secure an IP Collateral Insurance policy. This continues to prove that there is a growing market and interest in this type of financing approach for innovative growth companies. And we only expect that to continue and grow over the next 12 months and beyond.

Once again, I want to thank all of you for your great feedback, staying with us, and helping us grow our audience. We look forward to putting this together every month and we hope you continue to look forward to receiving it.

Lewis Lee, CEO
Aon IP Solutions


Aon IP in the News

  • Aon played a major role in securing $49 million funding for entrinsic bioscience from Jefferies Funding LLC. Using their intellectual property valuation platform, Aon determined the value of entrinsic bioscience’s intellectual property portfolio and constructed a representative IP Collateral Insurance policy for the funder.
  • The United States Department of Justice is unlikely to take action against Aon’s merger with Willis Towers Watson according to reporting from insurance publication Artemis and is expected to take a “conventional” approach to the deal despite a “hawkish” reputation.
    • Aon announced its intent to sell its retirement and retirement-health business in an effort to secure approval for the merger from the Department of Justice.
  • A survey conducted by Aon to identify the top wellbeing challenges impacting business performance found that employee work-life balance was a top concern for Irish employers as hybrid work models have become more dominant following the COVID-19 pandemic.


Executive Insights

  • United States lawmakers are expected to pass the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, an industrial policy bill meant to address the U.S.'s competitiveness with China. The legislation will fund the development of “critical technologies” such as artificial intelligence and semiconductors, as well as increase cooperation with allies to prevent the importation of goods produced through stolen intellectual property. Some critics have complained the legislation is hindered by unnecessary bureaucracy. The bill includes other amendments and smaller pieces of legislation rolled into it including the Inventor Diversity for Economic Advancement (IDEA) Act and an amendment from Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that would penalize patent owners “who fail to properly record ownership transfer.”
  • Amazon reported that it is set to buy cinema giant Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) for $8.45 billion in a move Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said is focused specifically on acquiring the company’s “treasure trove” of valuable intellectual property. Amazon said its goal is to develop the intellectual property it will acquire for the 21st century. Observers noted the deal may cut off a pipeline for money and content in the industry going forward and will likely undergo regulatory scrutiny. Others have warned that similar deals may make it harder for individual artists to create in favor of algorithm-focused “iterations of content.”
  • Recent cyberattacks linked to Russia and China have been highlighted as evidence that the United States is unprepared to protect domestic intellectual property and trade secrets. Lawmakers have suggested the Department of Defense do more to address cyber threats to intellectual property. Industry actors echoed this sentiment and argued that the link between cyberattacks and intellectual property theft must be addressed by the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.
  • A World Trade Organization panel announced it is considering lifting intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines following the Biden administration’s expressed support for intellectual property waivers for vaccines last month, which critics have said favors China’s interests and could damage incentives for further innovation. While the WTO chief has said that an intellectual property waiver is unlikely to be enough on its own to narrow the global vaccine gap, some wealthy nations have opposed the idea of a waiver. The European Union responded to the WTO’s consideration of a waiver with its own proposal to increase global vaccine supply without a waiver to address the problem while still protecting intellectual property rights.
  • The Office of the United States Trade Representative removed the United Arab Emirates from the Intellectual Property Protection watchlist. In its report, the agency noted several steps the country has taken to bolster its national system for protecting intellectual property including the publication of intellectual property enforcement procedures and statistics. The United Arab Emirates’ Minister of State called the decision “encouraging.”
  • Sony filed a patent for an eSports betting system in 2019 designed to accept payment in the forms of cash, bitcoin, and digital assets such as virtual currencies. While Sony has not implemented any eSports betting infrastructure and the patent has not yet been approved, observers noted the patent is currently speculative.


News of Interest

  • Patent Litigation Likely to Rise with More Litigation Financing Opportunities - IPWatchdog - 6/4/2021
    • Outbound Virality: Facebook: 22 Interactions; Twitter: 1 Tweet
    • According to Liz Peters, Assistant General Counsel for Intellectual Property at Steelcase, a 100-year-old commercial products company, “as we come out of the pandemic, I anticipate the appetite for enforcement will increase for a sustained period of time.” Peters would go on to tell us that judicial enforcement is now “accessible and enticing” due to increased litigation financing opportunities.
  • Beyond speculation: how creators and businesses are strengthening their intellectual property through NFTs and blockchain - World Trademark Review - 6/4/2021
    • Outbound Virality: Facebook: 3 Interactions; Twitter: 0 Tweets
    • The advent of blockchain technology and the emergence of NFTs signal a change in the way that creators, businesses and consumers think about and manage issues of ownership generally and IP rights more specifically. [...] It will be interesting to observe how higher-order insights into the technology may over time shed new light on problems that businesses and individuals already face in the management of IP rights.
  • Florida moves against foreign theft of intellectual property - The Associated Press - 6/7/2021
    • Outbound Virality: Facebook: 23 Interactions; Twitter: 1 Tweet
    • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Monday a pair of bills focused on “nefarious foreign influence and corporate espionage” — particularly singling out China, which he accused of stealing intellectual property and infiltrating broad sectors of American society, especially academia.
  • Unlocking potential of intellectual property rights to support the creative economy - United Nations Conference on Trade and Development - 5/18/2021
    • Outbound Virality: Facebook: 5 Interactions; Twitter: 13 Tweets
    • IP rights play an important role in supporting a thriving creative economy as they protect creativity and control the commercial exploitation of the products of scientific, technological and cultural creation. The ability to develop and use such products is indeed a key driver of economic growth and for international competition. [...] Developing countries thus need to build capacity to develop and fully utilise the IP system to promote their creative industries.
  • Global IP Policy Should Shift to Promote Patent Sharing - IPWatchdog - 5/16/2021
    • Outbound Virality: Facebook: 3 Interactions; Twitter: 13 Tweets
    • We must recognize that global intellectual property policy is a part of a global health policy that promotes the sharing of technological know-how, addresses manufacturing and supply obstacles, and establishes equitable profit and sharing principles for life-saving drugs that affect the world. These are not one-country issues, as the past year has reminded us.


Social Contribution 

  • ICE @ICEgov 3 Jun The #HSI-led @IPRCenter stands at the forefront of America's response to intellectual property theft and its enforcement of international trade laws. Its efforts have a direct impact on the nation's health and safety, economy and warfighters. Learn more: Retweets: 9 Likes: 21
  • Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank @DrRPNishank 24 May .@IITBombay recorded a 68% hike in intellectual property filed in the pandemic year, totalling 262, which include patents, trademarks, and designs. About 15% of the IPs were #COVID related. Keep up the innovations! Retweets: 161 Likes: 1.3K
  • International Trademark Association (INTA) @INTA 2 Jun Brand protection is one of the most valuable things a business can focus on. @NatLawReview provides five tips to ensure that you are protecting your #brand to the max.

     Retweets: 2 Likes: 5
  • NCSC @NCSCgov 2 Jun Adversaries continue to exploit supply chain vulnerabilities to steal America’s intellectual property, corrupt our software, surveil our critical infrastructure, and carry out other malicious activities. For best practices on risk mitigation, visit: Retweets: 29 Likes: 52
  • IBON Foundation @IBONFoundation 2 Jun Should the WTO temporarily waive some intellectual property rights for Covid-19 pharmaceuticals? Developed countries oppose the proposal. For proponents, the waiver would increase vaccine production, help speed up vaccinations in poorer countries.

     Retweets: 13 Likes: 27

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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