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Below is our recent interview with Roya Ghafele, Executive Director at OxFirst:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to OxFirst?
A: is an award winning law and economics advisory firm founded in 2011 by academics from Oxford University. We offer independent expert testimony on behalf of companies, governments and international organizations, produce authoritative studies for business and public policy formulation and conduct economic analysis in litigation and commercial disputes. Our aim is to integrate high quality economic analysis into the everyday practice of technology transfer, intellectual property commercialization, commercial litigation and public policy formulation in the high-tech area. As such we support intellectual property and competition strategy through sound economic analysis.
Our clients include Fortune 500 firms, as well as national Governments throughout the world, but we also assist start-ups with in-depth economic analysis that allows to fully leverage creativity and innovation as an engine of growth. We believe that breaking away from conventional solutions is a vital asset in streamlining operations to achieve efficient solutions in the 21st century. Our services are outside the box and tailored to the specific requirements of a client.
Q: You’ve recently been awarded as ‘Best Intellectual Property Valuation Firm’ in the UK; could you tell us something more?
A: The extremely prestigious prize and title was awarded by Corporate Finance Magazine ‘Acquisition International’ as OxFirst repeatedly succeeded in commercializing Intellectual Property (IP) through high quality IP valuations. This earned it recognition in the UK 2018 IP Excellence Awards.
OxFirst’s IP valuations paved the way for a better understanding of the worth of IP. OxFirst is specialized in putting a monetary value on intellectual property. This made it possible to not only assess the worth of IP for sales, licensing and litigation purposes, but also for all other commercial purposes.
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At several instances OxFirst served as an IP Valuation and IP Commercialization expert to the European Commission, the UK Intellectual Property Office, as well as the Austrian Government. Back in 2013, it also prepared a key Expert report on IP valuation jointly with others. The work allowed for the first time to establish a pan-European understanding on how to value IP.
Q: What can be obtained out of your services?
A: · Valuation of Intellectual Property
An OxFirst Patent Portfolio Analysis enabled a High-Tech Firm to sell patents worth 1/4 of its annual turnover. The OxFirst IP valuation formed the cornerstone of the IP transaction. We undertook an independent assessment of the patents subject to the transaction and asked to determine an adequate price for the technology transfer. This implied a comprehensive due diligence of the IP at stake, a study of the technological and legal strength and a thorough investigation of the market size associated with the transaction.
· Expert Testimonials for Commercial Disputes, Litigation and Licensing Negotiations
OxFirst has been multiple times involved as an economic expert in commercial disputes, litigation and licensing negotiations. Our economic analysis have formed the cornerstone of price formation in licensing negotiations, have helped Courts identify the adequate value of a damage award and allowed also to assess the economic risk of litigation in mergers and acquisitions.
· Economic Analysis of intellectual property and competition policy formulation
Equally, we have had a substantial contribution to policy formulation. In the copyright space for example, OxFirst economic analysis contributed to a New Directive on Collective Rights Management
Our contribution was to show that there was a significant gap between what collecting societies could be making from digital licensing revenues and what they are in fact generation from this segment. We estimated the 2012 market for digital music royalties in ten different E.U. countries at well over €18 billion. However, only €116 million were reported by corresponding Collective Rights Management Organizations in that same year. We suggested that this could indicate a need for further policy on collective rights management and we were heard! The study was also published in a well-recognized scientific journal.
Q: What’s the vision that guides you?
A: Our vision is a world where innovation fuels progress for everyone. A world, where people develop their creativity freely, where businesses realize their full economic potential through innovation and where Governments provide the necessary institutional framework that enables these activities. Our expertise, experience and ideas help clients to address the new challenges of the 21st century and embrace the transformative changes needed to find winning solutions in the weightless economy. As such, we are keen to raise awareness about the opportunities and pitfalls associated with the IP economy beyond a narrow circle of experts, which in turn gives us the chance to discuss an overlooked question on which most people lack awareness. At OxFirst we maintain a strong interest in the evolving role of IP in the knowledge based society, but also passion for training and education ‘.’This is why we also launched the OxFirst Academy, as well as an overall drive to explain to a wide audience the decisive role IP can play for transformative and disruptive future technological innovations.
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Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: IP bears the potential to be the currency of the knowledge-based economy. At the same time it has been the source of much criticism. At OxFirst we seek to come to grips with a concept which has by and large not been yet understood for what it is worth. Hence, it is so crucial to understand the value of intellectual property from an economic point of view and identify key models of IP driven value capture. In a wider sense, we seek to identify how the introduction of intellectual property rights over technologies can be used to foster inclusive growth and what corresponding business and policy measures and strategies are need to achieve this.
As such, intellectual property (IP) alongside considerations for competition law, will play a key role in upcoming technology spaces such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data or the Internet of Things and we at OxFirst seek to address how various approaches to IP and Competition strategy and policy can lead humanity to a better social and economic context.