Lawyers at the Wilmington, Delaware-based chemical company brought in $290 million in revenue last year, including a $92 million asbestos settlement with more than a dozen insurers. The asbestos agreement in December 2006 resulted from a three-year-old DuPont program to find ways to generate revenue by filing lawsuits the company would not otherwise have initiated or by seeking licenses from companies using its patents. The law department has brought in $630 million since 2004, according to DuPont assistant general counsel Thomas Sager.
Lawyers at International Business Machines Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. are also cracking down on patent violations to generate income. DuPont lawyers are scouring files for potential contract claims or signs of anticompetitive behavior that may lead to antitrust damages. Company attorneys, who are pressing their outside firms to work on a contingency-fee basis to keep costs for the new litigation program down, are also trying to bring in money by recovering debts DuPont had written off.
``It's big money,'' said Rees Morrison, a consultant at Hildebrandt International Inc. ``I don't know of other companies doing it.'' DuPont has a committee of lawyers who are charged with identifying ways to recover money and calculate an expected return each year. ``We've asked them to serve as our eyes and ears and identify through whatever means -- word of mouth, periodicals, trade press -- opportunities where DuPont might advance a claim or where we believe our rights have been perhaps infringed,'' Sager said. DuPont also recovered $5 million from four shipping companies over price-fixing claims. Hewlett-Packard Co. started a program to generate more revenue from intellectual property in January 2003 and now has about 185 active licensing projects. ``Companies need to be more diligent about protecting IP, monetizing IP,''. Revenue from intellectual property at Hewlett-Packard has increased tenfold since 2003. The company has turned to targeting debts the company had written off and is trying to sell about $80 million in claims it's owed by Brazilian farmers for pesticides. It will probably sell the claims to ``any of the major institutions that play in Latin finance,'' said William O'Connor, an attorney in the New York office of law firm Crowell & Moring, who represents DuPont. He said he's also trying to sell DuPont's claims in bankrupt companies, such as auto part makers. ``We felt like we had a duty to find opportunities where we might be leaving money on the table.''
Thursday, October 04, 2007
The Duty to Not to Leave Money on the Table !
Bloomberg writes about Dupont having turned its legal dept. to a large money-maker. The article is stunning for me, because I systematically "let go" many clear opportunities to recover unpaid bills and never, never started a fight, legal or otherwise, to recover expenses or rights. My attitude was that life is to short to spend in litigation and it is better to look forward. I am soft and wish to be loved. For example, I never got paid for my two first jobs in Netanya, and never insisted. I also was sacked from my last job and my position was given to the husband of the Minister's secretary, but I never made any problem. My final compensation was also less than the fixed by the law, but I never protested. I have to think over my attitude. It is harming me.