Kevin Fournier, IBM
7 December 2017Americas

LSPN Europe 2017: IBM counsel on M&A, investments and artificial intelligence

An IBM counsel has discussed how companies can harness their IP and gave an overview of the impact of artificial intelligence on healthcare.

IBM has claimed the number one spot for US patent recipients for 24 years in a row, and sold 15,000 patents between 1991 and 2015.

Kevin Fournier, IP counsel at IBM, spoke yesterday at Life Sciences Patent Network (LSPN) Europe in London.

IBM invests $6 billion per year in research and development, in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cloud computing, internet of things, and security.

This generates mounds of IP each year which needs to be harvested, explained Fournier. There are two options: use the technology in IBM’s own products or services, or license them.

Although IBM was traditionally not an operator in the life sciences arena, with the advent of new technologies like AI, it has not become so clear cut.

IBM’s AI healthcare solutions product, IBM Watson Health, is one example of the technology company’s involvement. Watson is IBM’s machine-learning system.

Watson for Genomics, Watson for Drug Discovery, and Watson Care Manager fall under Watson Health.

Fournier highlighted the importance of due diligence, for example to ensure that the technology being licensed works and to ensure that you have the rights to leverage these assets.

Mergers and acquisitions also play a “big part” in harnessing IP, said Fournier, adding that a lot of money can be made by selling IP.

In 2015, IBM closed its deal to acquire Merge Healthcare, a provider of medical image handling and processing, interoperability and clinical systems.

The following year, IBM announced it would acquire cloud-based healthcare data provider Truven Health Analytics for $2.6 billion.

LSPN Europe was hosted by Life Sciences IP Review.

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