Hardly anyone bought or sold a patent at Ocean Tomo’s bust of a patent auction on Friday at the San Francisco Ritz-Carlton. But that didn’t prevent an eclectic — and in some very limited cases — fashionable IP crowd from showing up.
Aside from the many anonymous, and well-dressed, slinkers, there on behalf of companies they couldn’t name for reasons they couldn’t state, there were some identifiable individuals as well. Yahoo IP lawyer Duane Valz showed up, not buying or selling any patents, “just checking things out.” Greenberg Traurig’s Bradley Blanche flew in from LA to try and help client George Washington University sell some its patents — no luck, as nary a soul even bid on them.
Ocean Tomo competitors from local patent brokerages were there, naturally casting aspersions on the auction model for selling patents. They were a pair of Rons — Epstein from San Mateo’s IPotential and Laurie from Palo Alto’s Inflexion Point Strategy.
Attorneys from overseas with mysterious missions showed up. Kevin Liu, a patent lawyer at China’s Boss & Young came representing unidentified Chinese-government-owned enterprises interested in buying clean-tech patents.
And finally, there were two individuals who actually showed some stylish flair, which is so badly lacking at pretty much any event involving patent lawyers and inventors. Julie Watters, a biz dev manager at patent translation firm called the RWS Group, was wearing a very short “mod dress [that] is navy blue with Kelly green stripes and a wide Kelly-green belt at the hips,” as she explained it to your not-entirely-au courant correspondent. She was seated on the patio at lunch with James Grant, a chemist who had ruffled, bleached-bond hair and large fashionable sunglasses. Much needed because of all the IP stars, of course.
— Zusha Elinson