Several automakers and Tier 1 suppliers will share their technology secrets on the Internet as part of a new consortium billed as the 'world's first global marketplace for industrial intellectual property.'
Toyota, Porsche, Bosch, Delphi, Denso and Ford, among others, will list their $15 billion in technology assets on the Internet website yet2.com.
The website, launched earlier this year in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, works like this: Members of the consortium agree to share their inventions and technology on the Internet exclusively on yet2.com.
Those looking for technology can log onto the site and use a search engine to find the kinds of technologies they're seeking. The technology is listed anonymously with brief descriptions. Users can read briefs and look at patents. When they want further information, they pay a fee to drill deeper into the website. Frequent users would pay a fee of $1,000 to use the site. One-time users pay $25.
When participants are ready to buy or license the technology, yet2.com will introduce the interested party to the technology supplier for a $1,000 fee. After the sale or licensing deal, yet2.com takes 10 percent royalties up to $50,000.
Yet2.com was founded by a couple of American entrepreneurs. Current Chief Executive Chris De Bleser got the idea while he was managing the digital imaging business at Polaroid and was on the lookout for new technologies Polaroid could purchase.
De Bleser met with Ben DuPont, former licensing director/Lycra at DuPont and the man who was also responsible for finding new uses for technologies created at the company that bears his family's name. Since forming yet2.com, they have listed more than 1000 technologies.
David Cole, director for the Office of the Study of Automotive Transportation at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, said companies like Delphi are looking for ways to exploit technologies they're now sitting on and not making use of.
University of Michigan is one of the yet2.com participants, though it did not originate in Cole's department. Delphi has appointed an individual in charge of seeking new ways to license and sell its technologies, he said.
The Internet is a perfect vehicle for helping companies and individual inventors to find new uses for technologies, he said.
'This tool has the ability to reach everywhere in ways they couldn't hit before,' he said. 'If companies have intellectual property they think is of value, they can get licensing revenue or increased production. Why not do it?'
Yet2.com is one of several dotcoms serving as Internet marketplaces for intellectual property. Others include Techex.com and Patent & License Exchange (pl-x.com).
Jurgen Herrman, general manager of patents and licenses for Porsche AG, said in a press release: 'Yet2.com is a natural marketplace for Porsche to trade its innovations. Our business is built on the profitable collaboration with other enterprises. And yet2.com ideally complements this.'
Among other companies backing the venture are: 3-M, Agfa-Geveart, Boeing, British Telecom, Dow Chemical, Honeywell, Monsanto, Philips, Procter & Gamble and Siemens.