Monday, September 21, 2009

Sept. 2009: the New York Times discovers the world of patent auctions

In an article on 20 Sept 09 titled Now, an Invention Inventors Will Like, Steve Lohr "discovers" the concept of buying and selling and licensing patents:

Other players in the emerging patent marketplace are specialized investment banks, brokers and licensing companies including Acacia Technologies, Altitude Capital Partners, Intertrust, IPotential, Ocean Tomo, Rembrandt IP Management and Thinkfire. Venture capitalists are also interested in this field — Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, for example, is backing Rational Patent Exchange, a company that buys reservoirs of patents in crucial fields and charges fees to corporate “members,” who participate as a defensive tactic to limit potential patent litigation costs.

Lohr illustrates the concept by discussing how Zoltar will sell its patents in an auction run by Pluritas, "hoping for a faster, simpler and less risky payoff," than by litigating, on its own, against the likes of Qualcomm.

Lohr mentioned Josh Lerner:

“Yes, you can move in the direction of trading markets for patents, but these are complicated assets that are individualized and hard to value,” said Josh Lerner, an economist at the Harvard business school. “They are more like works of art than stocks.”

but failed to mention how Lerner had praised (in Innovation and its Discontents) Qualcomm as a good player in the patent landscape in spite of what happened in the Broadcom matter and in spite of the Zoltar/Qualcomm disagreement.


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