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One of the leading architects of the revolution in business method patents has left his job at Walker Digital Corp., a well-known developer of e-commerce technologies, to start his own consulting firm. Jeffrey L. Brandt, senior vice president-intellectual property and licensing at both Walker Digital and its spinoff, Priceline.com, has formed JBL Consulting Inc. and is said to be on the verge of forging a relationship with Pasadena, Calif.’s Patent & License Exchange Inc., an e-business marketplace for IP rights. Brandt was the first in-house lawyer at Stamford, Conn.’s Walker Digital and was responsible for filing its first 150-200 patent applications for e-commerce technologies. NAME YOUR PRICE The patents include those for an offline remote lottery system, a credit card billing method, a system for processing customized reward offers and a remote gaming device. The other key technology invented at Walker — and used by Priceline.com — is the “demand collection system,” through which online customers name the price they’re willing to pay for such things as a hotel room or an airplane seat. Brandt, 45, joined Walker Digital in 1996. While there, he acted as an “executive on loan” to Priceline.com, where he developed that company’s intellectual property program. Brandt will focus on portfolio development and analysis, particularly for start-ups. “They need intellectual property help — they know they need intellectual property help — but they can’t afford dedicated intellectual property counsel,” he said. He claimed that his business experience gives him an edge over law firms, where patent lawyers have IP expertise but may not be thinking about how to extract value from existing intellectual property. And because he is starting as a one-lawyer operation, he won’t be burdened by the high salaries firms must offer associates. “So, as a sole practitioner, I can produce an attractive fee package for my clients,” he said. “And I have the flexibility to take equity in lieu of cash.” But don’t expect other IP lawyers to follow, said Robert S. Jacobs, head of the IP portfolio at Seattle’s Amazon.com. To launch such a venture, “you have to have a reputation and business experience,” he said. In most companies, patent counsel operate mainly in “the defensive posture,” making sure technologies are protected “against somebody else moving against them.” “Many traditional lawyers get lazy about IP,” failing to explore licensing and other leverage opportunities, agreed Mark Benerofe, former chief marketing officer at Walker Digital. But companies are “lining up” to hire Brandt, said Walter G. Hanchuch, an e-commerce partner at New York’s Morgan & Finnegan. “He has unique qualifications, and the ability to take an intellectual property portfolio and generate positive cash flow out of it.” Mary M. Shaw, a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, predicted that Brandt’s new venture will attract established Fortune 500 companies as well as startups. “Everybody’s read “Rembrandts in the Attic,” and all the heads of intellectual property at the giant companies have been tasked with the job of leveraging value from existing intellectual property portfolios,” she said. Patent specialist Kevin Rivette — author of “Rembrandts,” a book about IP asset management, and founder of Aurigin Systems Inc., a Silicon Valley-based patent-mapping firm — said that Brandt’s new venture “is exactly the type of consulting group we will see more of in the future.”

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