Yardstick of intellectual property value: Shanghai Bili on the rise

Chen Lu,[Comprehensive Reports]

 

"Roads are not natural to the world. Only if a track is trodden uncountable times, it becomes a road." In 2014, Tao Ye founded Shanghai Bili Patent Evaluation Technology Co., Ltd, which specializes in the value assessment of intellectual property such as patents, technical secrets, designs, trademarks, and software copyrights. Its products cover intellectual property investment, pledge financing, transfer and license fee pricing, intellectual property asset accounting, intellectual property value appraisal involved in litigation, intellectual property infringement compensation calculation, massive patent value ranking and optimization, patent value list customization, patent value analysis software customization, patent financial product customization, etc. Over the past few years, Tao Ye has led the excellent Bili team to explore the intellectual property value evaluation, which is a niche business field of intellectual property and has achieved excellent results. Since its establishment, Bili has developed unique technical standards while pricing knowledge assets, which complement each other.
 
Early in 2021, I, as a journalist from China Intellectual Property, visited Bili and interviewed its founder Tao Ye. In the interview, Tao Ye recalled the past, expressed his feelings about the difficulties of the initial establishment, appreciated the opportunities of the past, and embraced the future!
 
Flowers and trees facing the sun will easily grow
 
Talking about Bili's patent value appraisal business, Tao Ye told me that from the whole market, the market proportion of intellectual property professional service institutions in intellectual property value appraisal is very small, and related businesses are mainly undertaken by asset appraisal institutions. However, most employees in asset appraisal institutions come from accountant background, but intellectual property assets have rich technical attributes. Therefore, talents with science and engineering background can have a deeper understanding of technology-related intellectual property assets appraisal.
 
"If you are a jewelry appraiser, but you don't know jewelry, how should you evaluate it?" Tao Ye believes that the premise of intellectual property evaluation technology is to understand technology. Only by understanding the inherent attributes of technology can we know its relative value matching. "Our industry is actually similar to the examiners of the Patent Office. It needs to divide the subject background, and it must specialize in the industry and perform its duties." Of course, in Tao Ye's view, to evaluate the value of intellectual property rights, we should not only know the technology but also have enough knowledge reserves of adjacent disciplines such as finance and law.
 
At present, the Bili team mainly meets the customer needs, including the value appraisal of patented technology, the overall accounting of the company's intellectual property assets, the cost evaluation of patent transfer or license, and the compensation amount evaluation of infringement. Regarding the value evaluation of patented technology, Tao Ye introduced to me: "Many factors can affect the value variables of a patent or a right, especially technology patents, which include not only patent variables, but also variables including technical secrets"
 
In order to make a better quantitative analysis of intellectual property assets, Bili specializes in research and development of technical systems, using special algorithms to assign values and giving logical explanations. For example, Tao Ye: "For example, for companies like Xiaomi and Huawei that may have thousands of patents, it is very necessary to carry out overall accounting of assets, which is convenient for the company to propose the next step of intellectual property strategic management in the operation process." On the other hand, Tao Ye believes that for companies to be listed, the overall accounting of intangible assets is to facilitate financing. For companies that intend to transfer or license patents, the choice of exclusive license or sole license, and how to determine the period of license or transfer will affect the change of license fees, so detailed evaluation is needed. " In the event of an intellectual property dispute, the value of the subject matter involved, whether it constitutes a criminal filing standard, etc., all need to be valued; If it constitutes infringement, the determination of the amount of subsequent compensation also needs the help of value assessment. "
 
According to the value evaluation of the compensation amount of the infringing products involved in the lawsuit, Tao Ye further explained: "When it is difficult for the obligee to obtain evidence, or the court does not recognize the actual loss, the obligee usually can only obtain legal compensation. In this case, we use a reasonable multiple of the license fee for analysis and calculation. Simply put, the amount of compensation can be understood as the license fee that unauthorized users should pay. "
 
Talking about the Bili team's charging standard for value evaluation, Tao Ye said with a smile: "Our charging standard is paid according to work, which is related to the number of evaluation targets and the evaluation requirements of customers." According to the different requirements of customers, Bili uses its own research and development of the corresponding technical standards for retrieval and analysis. If the customer's requirements are high, the team needs to use the technical system above 2.0 to conduct in-depth calculation through retrieval, comparison, analysis and demonstration, and obtain an evaluation report with higher confidence (up to 100%); If the customer's requirements are low, Bili will only adopt the technical framework of 1.0, that is, use sampling method to analyze and determine the relative value of patented technology, and finally obtain an evaluation report with relatively low confidence (up to 70%). This evaluation method has the advantages of low cost and fast time.
 
At present, the Bili team has gathered a group of professionals. The professional background of the evaluation team covers analytical chemistry, bioengineering, computer, communication engineering, condensed matter physics, mechatronics, etc., while the professional background of the R&D team covers econometrics, accounting, applied mathematics, etc. At the same time, Tao Ye also encourages team members to participate in various science and technology forums and various related qualification examinations to enrich their professional qualities. Tao Ye said with a smile: "Intellectual property value assessment has high requirements for academic qualifications and experience accumulation. Therefore, there are no young people under the age of 30 in Bili."
 
2020 is an extraordinary year, and many traditional industries are affected more or less by the sudden COVID-19 outbreak. Tao Ye said: "The COVID-19 epidemic may have a certain impact on traditional industries, but for the intellectual property service industry, as long as there is more innovation, we will keep on living. During the epidemic, Bili's business was not only unaffected, but its sales revenue doubled compared with the previous year. "
 
Tao Ye believes that the biggest challenge facing Bili at present is "qualification". "We are not an accountant, nor an asset appraisal agency. We can't file with the Finance Bureau, and there is no way to apply for qualifications." It is reported that all members of the Bili team have the qualification of patent agent, but they are not engaged in the agency business, and only focus on evaluation business. As far as the evaluation of intellectual property value is concerned, the industry is small, and the China National Intellectual Property Administration has not yet managed its qualifications, but there are related business needs in the market. Faced with this real contradiction, Tao Ye also expressed great distress: "Out of habitual thinking, customers often value qualification most, but qualified appraisal institutions often cannot complete relatively professional intellectual property value appraisal business because of their own professional limitations. This problem can only be said to have no solution at present. "
 
However, facing the status, Tao Ye is still full of confidence facing the status: "This cannot be said to be a complete bad thing. At present, Bili's customers mainly include enterprises, universities and research institutes, so basically we are' top notch'. Perhaps every company may apply for a patent, but it is not necessary to evaluate the value of intellectual property. Only when there is good technology and good projects, and there is a need for capital operation, it is necessary to price intellectual assets. "
 
Never lay aside concern for the nation.
 
Talking about past successful cases, Tao Ye shared two stories that impressed him deeply with ChinaIP reporters. In 2020, the Bili team contacted a project: an old engineer who retired from Shanghai Instrumentation Institute mastered a patented product on environmental protection, and spent hundreds of thousands of yuan to make a prototype. Old engineers hope to find an investment company through Billion and help them hold a product launch conference. In Tao Ye's view, in the absence of investment, the effect of having a prototype is quite different from that of just staying on paper. Bili's role is to get involved and make asset valuation for this patented product. "Environmental protection products are beneficial to the society. Bili can help such products truly fall into the field through patented technology valuation, which can help customers and realize social values, and we can get a double sense of accomplishment."
 
In April 2020, during the COVID-19 epidemic, Bili took over a case, and the client came from a national key project in Wuhan, Hubei Province-the lighting project on the Qingshan Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan. This project plans to use a brand-new low-level lighting technology of Shenzhen University, which can ensure that the road surface is very bright at night, without shadows and dead corners, and the driver can't see the light source, but the price of its products is more than ten times higher than that of ordinary lighting equipment in the market. "The client found Bili and hoped that we would evaluate and price the patented technology to determine whether the product offer of Shenzhen University is reasonable."
 
Tao Ye recalled: "At that time, we finished the valuation report and thought that Shenzhen University had adopted a brand new technology and had a patent value content, and its quoted price was within a reasonable range." Customers are very satisfied that they have never seen such a professional report. Tao Ye said with a smile: "This is of great significance to Bili. If the service of the team can play a positive role in the national key construction projects, the social value of the team can also be reflected. In addition, the evaluation process of this case is also a process of continuous learning. Through this case, the team has begun to learn other aspects such as engineering budget. To be an appraiser of intellectual property assets requires lifelong study and love. Every time we do a case, our own ability will be continuously improved. "
 
Recalling the past glory days
 
During the interview, looking back at the time when he started his business, Tao Ye couldn't help but sigh: "When he first came out to set up a company in 2014, the team members at that time included myself and several people who worked together in development, some of whom were math teachers in universities, and some worked in multinational companies, all of whom had good incomes and married with children. And I took my savings from my previous work, which was bitter at first. " At the beginning of the company's establishment, there was no business and no income. By chance, after the technical exchange with Spreadtrum Communications engineers, Tao Ye led Bili to do patent evaluation for the company free of charge. It was not until half a year later that Bili received the first single business-a major municipal engineering project of University of Shanghai for Science and Technology. When it comes to the initial achievements, Tao Ye reveals a satisfied expression between his eyebrows.
 
"It has been six years since 2014, and we have passed the most difficult period. Although the current development is not fast enough, the current team size is still relatively small, but I believe that with the continuous deepening of industry innovation and the continuous accumulation of Bili's reputation in the industry, the future will definitely get better and better. " Tao Ye said with a smile, "It's just that the growth cycle will be a little slower like a turtle, but it has a long life. Bili's current team is small in scale, but it's professional and comprehensive. In the future, the Bili team will continue to work hard to build a talent team with multidisciplinary backgrounds. "
 
At the end of the interview, talking about the expectation and planning for the team's future, Tao Ye once again stressed: "First of all, Bili will develop according to the ideal law firm model, set up a team with a backbone member as the core, and take charge of the corresponding projects in the whole process. Secondly, the team should continue to strengthen its research and development capabilities, and expand its coverage from patents, technical secrets, designs, trademarks and software copyrights to integrated circuit layout design, new plant varieties, geographical indications, as well as written works, art works, music works, film and television works, etc., and develop the evaluation technology of these intellectual property rights to better serve customers and contribute value to social and economic development. "

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