Situation/Objective:

In the summer of 2011, HC was charged with highlighting a new IP boutique’s role in the record-breaking auction of 6,000 patent assets owned by Nortel Networks—the largest patent auction in history. Because the auction was happening within the context of a bankrupt company selling its assets, it was important to distinguish Global IP Law Group’s role from that of the attorneys who handled the bankruptcy. Doing so would be a challenge. Nortel had been in bankruptcy for a number of years, and media outlets had already built up a cache of bankruptcy-related sources.

The IP auction heard round the world.

Analysis/Strategy:

HC determined that to distinguish the firm, it would position Global IP Law Group as a pioneer of an emerging trend in which companies are monetizing their IP assets through sales and licenses rather than litigation. During a two-month time period leading up to the auction, HC compiled an exhaustive media list of reporters and bloggers focused on wireless technology and intellectual property. Prior to the auction, the firm was limited as to what it could say to media due to confidentiality restrictions, so HC focused on reaching out to media about the larger issue of how companies should value their IP assets and what it takes to prepare such a large patent portfolio for auction—including visiting potential buyers’ IP teams to explain the value of the patents, ensuring that potential purchasers understood the depth and breadth of the collection and its applications, and, in the case of the Nortel auction, soliciting a stalking horse bid from Google for $900 million. In doing so, HC positioned Global IP Law Group partner David Berten as a go-to source on this trend and the impending auction. This initial effort resulted in substantial coverage, including a feature on the firm in the Chicago Tribune, which was picked up by many other papers around the country.

The week of the auction, HC continued its outreach in order to position the IP firm as a knowledgeable source on patent auctions generally and the Nortel auction specifically. And as soon as the news of the auction results could be made public, HC launched an email initiative alerting media to the role that David Berten and his firm played in the auction proceedings.

Results/Execution:

The results of HC’s strategy were overwhelming. The client was physically unable to speak with the onslaught of interested media at the time, and still continues to field calls resulting from HC’s initial outreach, especially from reporters who now view the firm as an authority on the state of the current patent market. Not surprisingly, news of Global IP Law Group’s work with Nortel has helped it become a worldwide brand. As a result, the firm has been extremely active in selling patents this year and has closed more than ten additional deals valued at $30 to $40 million dollars.

Representative media outlets covering Global IP law Group and its role in the Nortel auction include: Associated Press (story was picked up around the world), The Chicago TribuneCorporate CounselDow Jones NewswiresSeattle TimesInternational Business TimesBloomberg (Canada and Seattle), Reuters (Europe and Canada), ComputerworldTotal TelecomMarketwatchDaily Bankruptcy ReviewAmLaw DailyThe DealTechnology NewsMobile Commerce DailyFinancial PostLaw Technology NewsSys-Con MediaManaging IPMobile Commerce DailySPI Technology News ReportsPhilip Brooks’ Patent Infringement UpdateFierce WirelessSpectrum of Intellectual Property RightsIntellectual Asset ManagementChicago Daily Law BulletinSan Francisco Daily JournalWall Street JournalC114, and G2News.

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