Next on the lot…some lovely intellectual property, barely used

Going once…going twice….SOLD!!!! The mechanical stress technology goes to the gentleman in the second row with the brown hat.

These days, you can auction off baseball cards, Olympic gold medals, even Elvis’ hair. So I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising to see neurostimulation technology on the block.

Beginning today in Napa, Calif., potential buyers can bid for intellectual property (IP) belonging to NeuroMEDx, a defunct startup based in St. Cloud, Minn..

Founded by Hans Mische, a medical device entrepreneur and former director of new business development for American Medical Systems Inc., NeuroMEDx was developing implantable devices designed to improve neurostimulation therapies for diseases like heart failure, Parkinson’s, and hypertension. The device generates mechanical stress that regulates the ability of tissue to transmit electrical signals to the brain.

In an interview, Mische said the company could not raise enough money from investors. Lacking resources to properly shop the IP, Mische chose an auction administered by ICAP Ocean Tomo for “efficiency” and to generate momentum amongst potential buyers.

IP auctions are fairly new but are becoming increasingly common as startups unable to raise money in a difficult economy try to recoup some money from their technology.

A slow economy also means investors and companies can’t command ideal value for their secret sauce. Throwing IP into a national auction makes sense as you can access more buyers who could theoretically drive up the price by bidding against each other.

Since 2006, ICAP Ocean Tomo says it has held ten such auctions in the United States and Europe, generating $135 million worth of transactions.

“Designed to bring a sense of urgency and closure to IP transactions, the Auction platform creates a center for IP liquidity and promotes transparency for a market in which none had historically existed,” the company website says.

Auction doesn’t necessarily mean a patent giveaway. Mische says there is a minimum price his IP must fetch; otherwise, the company will just keep trying to raise more investor cash.

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