In the last few months, major companies have gone on high profile patent buying binges, paying billions of dollars for large patent portfolios. While most companies could never afford to pay a billion dollars for patents, every company, regardless of size, can learn valuable lessons from this emerging trend. Patent prices continue to escalate. At the end of last year, a consortium made up of Apple, Oracle, EMC, and Microsoft purchased 882 patents of Novell for $450 million. A few months later, a consortium including Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Ericsson, RIM and EMC spent $4.5 billion to acquire more than 6,000 patents from Nortel Networks. In doing so, they beat out a $900 million dollar bid by Google. Google reacted by purchasing over 1,000 patents from IBM in July for an undisclosed amount, and then, in August, spent $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility, in a deal largely attributed to Google's desire to obtain Motorola Mobility's 17,000 patents and 7,500 patent applications. These numbers dwarf HTC's purchase in August of U.S. mobile Internet applications company Dashwire Inc. for a mere $18.5 million in a deal that analysts attribute to a desire to gain access to patents. In the last few weeks, Kodak announced that it is offering 1,100 patents for sale. Analysts expect Kodak's portfolio to sell for over $3 billion. The media reports that other billion dollar portfolios in the wireless space are being eyed by the likes of Apple and Samsung. And in the background, the major wireless manufacturers are all suing each other in a maze of patent infringement litigations. There are a number of lessons that can be gleaned from this trend, which apply regardless of the technical field in which a company operates.
Patents Are Becoming the New Currency of Technology Businesses
Patent Quality Is Much More Important than Patent Volume
How Much Patent Currency Does a Company Need?
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