Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is SIGGRAPH hosting IP Marketplace?
We have instituted this program to provide a new service to the SIGGRAPH community that will hopefully address a need that is currently unmet.

2. How can I express my concerns about the emergence of a secondary market in IP?
There are several forums at SIGGRAPH 2007 for airing your point of view: please consider suggesting a panel or special-session topic, or organizing a Birds of a Feather session. The SIGGRAPH 2007 committee is committed to presenting all sides of the controversies surrounding IP if compelling speakers and presentation formats can be found.

3. Why an IP listing service and not a patent auction?
Two general solutions to the IP-liquidity problem are being tried at the moment. One is the open patent auction. The second is the web-based listing or match-making service. Although there are very few data points so far, some of the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches are becoming clear:
  • Patent-Auction Pros: Only one kind of IP is involved. The transaction model is simple and well understood: patents are sold "as is" at open auction, with the patents and all terms and conditions available beforehand for examination. The openness of the process and the attendance of many interested parties ensure fair pricing, and sometimes a little drama! Much of the organizational effort can be delegated to a licensed auctioneer.

  • Patent-Auction Cons: The seller has no control over who buys. Consequently, so-called patent trolls -- companies that exploit patents solely through licensing and litigation -- may participate in any patent auction. Some sellers could be unhappy to discover after the fact that their IP had been bought by such a company. A second disadvantage of patent auctions is the auctioneer's fee, which is essentially a tax on the transaction of 20% or more.

  • Listing-Service Pros: All kinds of IP can be handled by a listing service. All kinds of transactions -- sales, licensing, consulting, etc. -- can be accommodated. The seller can vet prospective buyers before consummating a deal. The service itself can be web-based or location-based or both. Because the listing service merely introduces sellers to prospective buyers, the legal liability incurred by the service provider is minimized.

  • Listing-Service Cons: Unless the seller interacts with many potential buyers, it could be hard to get a realistic and fair price. Inexperienced sellers and buyers may have difficulty structuring a fair and trouble-free business deal.
Clearly neither model is perfect, but a patent-listing service has several advantages for SIGGRAPH the conference and ACM SIGGRAPH the organization, not least because the latter is a non-profit organization that cannot be involved directly in commercial activity.

For more information contact the IP Marketplace Co-Chairs.

4. How do I know if I'm getting a good deal?
SIGGRAPH cannot offer you advice about any deal you might make via IP Marketplace. Caveat emptor, caveat venditor!

5. What fees or royalties are payable to SIGGRAPH?
A nominal administrative fee is paid for each listing in the SIGGRAPH IP Marketplace.

The listing fee for patent holders is $2,000 for up to five patents. If one larger patent consists of a smaller "family" of patents, the "family" of patents will still be considered individually and not as a whole. As a result, patent holders must secure enough five-packs at $2,000 each to list all components of the patent

Listings for patents will appear for one year online in the IP Marketplace. Listings that are matched with a buyer will be listed as such, but the buyer will remain confidential.

Online access to the IP Marketplace is free, months in advance of the conference, to SIGGRAPH 2007 Full Conference attendees. Interested parties not registered as Full Conference attendees for SIGGRAPH 2007 are welcome to participate for a $2,000 fee. All patent searchers will have access to the IP Marketplace for six months.

For more information contact the IP Marketplace Co-Chairs.

6. Can my participation in IP Marketplace be used against me in a patent-infringement lawsuit?
All potential sellers who list IP are required to waive their ability to use participation in IP Marketplace as evidence in any legal proceeding.

7. Can I contact a potential seller now instead of waiting for the conference?
Yes, of course. But we hope you'll want to meet face-to-face at SIGGRAPH 2007, and we will provide a forum for personal interaction between prospective buyers and sellers.