A European Auction Experiment

Intellectual Property Is on the Block at a German Auctioneer

But on Tuesday, it plans to auction the rights to one of its best-selling products — a rooftop solar panel — to the highest bidder at a public auction. The event is the first auction of intellectual property in Europe, and its organizers hope it will open a new sales channel to speed the transfer of intellectual property in a cheaper, more open marketplace.

“The knowledge society is becoming more and more important,” said Manfred Petri of IP Auctions, a Hamburg company that is organizing the event. “The values being created by intellectual property are becoming too large to trade in a clandestine market.”

[…] Many sellers are hoping for a new sales channel for intellectual property, which is costly to market through the traditional method of hiring patent lawyers to negotiate with potential buyers. Webasto, for example, is hoping to get a seven-digit sum for the license to its sunroof solar panel, which generates electricity to ventilate parked cars on hot summer days.