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A portal for intellectual property

A new Web site plans to become an online marketplace for intellectual property, the latest example of a niche business created by the litigious nature of the Internet.

A new Web site plans to become an online marketplace for intellectual property, the latest example of a niche business created by the litigious nature of the Internet.

The site, IPNetwork.com, will help manage intellectual property for its owners, supervising auctions, sales, licensing, registration, and other functions. The goal is to bring together qualified buyers and sellers, such as attorneys, licensers, and licensees, the company said in a statement this week.

Intellectual property issues include patents, logos, trademarks, and marketing and sponsorship rights--all topics that arise in the frequent legal challenges of cyberspace.

The company, led by attorney Christine Hearst Schwarzman, said its site will operate similarly to a specialty portal. It will feature a service aimed at navigating the complex world of registered patents, copyrights, and trademarks. The site will also provide valuation services, database searches, and other research tools.

IPNetwork.com said many large companies--including Procter & Gamble, Pitney Bowes, Coca-Cola, Victoria's Secret, and Forbes magazine--have already agreed to list their intellectual property on the site. Through forums and other resource centers on IPNetwork.com, companies will license their patents or trademarks.

The New York-based company, which is running a demonstration site, will begin conducting business on the Web by next month. The company said it will take a percentage from each transaction, and it ultimately hopes to draw revenue from advertisements.