One of the pleasures of intellectual property valuation is working on projects that can take a company to new places. Pellegrino & Associates delved into a new world for one particular project. A world where time travel is possible. A bizarre world where human qualities seem unrealistic, but exhibit a tinge of the possible. A world with innovative technologies intended to challenge humankind. It was the world of science fiction. Kurt Vonnegut’s science fiction to be exact. Pellegrino & Associates had the honor of providing a valuation for The Estate of Kurt Vonnegut on the works of one of the most influential and famous authors of all time.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana on November 11, 1922, Kurt Vonnegut became known for his literary works laced with satire, black comedy, and science fiction. Having authored classic works such as Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle, Vonnegut had developed a legacy that has lasted more than 50 years. While his work sometimes leaned towards the controversial, Vonnegut balanced it with humanistic and comedic qualities. Vonnegut was an expressive man with the skill to capitalize on his emotions and reputation through his famous works of art and his humanistic tendencies.
After Vonnegut’s death in April 2007, Vonnegut’s business manager Donald C. Farber, himself a legend in entertainment law, sought Pellegrino & Associates’ services to perform a valuation of Kurt Vonnegut’s entire portfolio. The portfolio consisted of copyrights of Vonnegut’s drawings and a variety of written work including novels, short stories, essays, and speeches. As part of the probate process, the estate’s executors needed to establish a fair market value of Vonnegut’s copyrights.
Vonnegut’s reputation, literary works, artwork, and overall brand brought many valuation considerations to the project. Pellegrino & Associates reviewed thousands of data points to measure the value of Vonnegut’s works. Vonnegut’s works still had active government protection, open royalty obligations with publishers and other companies, and expected future revenue-generating potential. Pellegrino also had to factor in unexpected avenues for future income and the risk associated with waning public interest in Vonnegut’s works. The project brought a little taste of the life of Vonnegut’s most famous character, Kilgore Trout, with its new adventures, challenges, and learning opportunities. It was our privilege and pleasure to provide services for a classic figure.