When do Operating Companies Sell their Patents?

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What causes operating companies to sell their patents? Our intuition tells us that patent sales take place when the seller is in financial distress or the company is underperforming. We asked ourselves whether data aligned with our intuition.

We looked at transaction data for sales from corporations. We studied the financial condition of 20 companies across 41 transactions over the last 6 years (post 2008 financial crisis) and looked for correlations between a company’s financial health and the sale of patents. We used sales from corporations to NPEs as a proxy for all corporate patent sales. In the analysis, we found that 78% of large patent sales (>= 10 patents transferred) occurred when the companies were underperforming the QQQ ETF (an exchange-traded fund based on the Nasdaq-100 Index, which was used as a proxy for the market). Further, including the smaller transactions (4-9 patents transferred), the overall share of transactions that occurred when the companies were underperforming the QQQ ETF was 71%.

Read the rest of the article at IPWatchdog.

Comparative Patent Ranking Approaches Around the World — Citations Matter

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Over the past 18 months, our clients have begun to show greater interest in international patents (e.g. non-US). Increasing client interest in international patents corresponds with the general rise in importance of international patents (continuing ascension of the Chinese market, potential for unitary patent for Europe), more anti-patent owner decisions in the US, and greater patent litigation outside the US. Client interest spurred us to review our existing patent evaluation tools and methodologies for potential improvements. We found that our current ranking system can be used for EP patents, especially with further calibration using EP data sets, and also that an integrated ranking approach that allows comparison and ranking of EP and US patents relative to one another is possible.

Read the full article at IPWatchdog and about the surprising importance of citation analysis in ranking systems.

Bloomberg BNA Publishes ROL Group Second Quarter Patent Market Data

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Bloomberg/BNA has published its second quarter analysis of the ROL Group patent market data. Our data continues to be a valuable resource for those seeking to buy or sell patents. Our latest annual report can be downloaded here.

“… Possibly the largest asset transfer during the quarter involved two packages containing 261 U.S.-issued patents sold by Wilk Patent Development Corp. and its president, Peter J. Wilk, to CHF Technologies Inc., which does business as BioVentrix Inc., a cardiovascular device firm.

Wilk previously sought to sell about 25 cardiovascular patent assets on the brokered market through ICAP Patent Brokerage, according to a September 2015 press release. The patents “pertain to heart and vascular surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, coronary artery bypass procedures” and numerous other cardiovascular procedures, according to the release.

Because of the PTO recording lag, it’s not clear how many of the Wilk patents BioVentrix actually purchased.

Twitter also purchased patent assets from the defensive patent aggregation firm Allied Security Trust during the quarter. The package included 14 patent assets, including 7 U.S.-issued patents.”

Richardson and Oliver Named in List of World’s Leading IP Strategists

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ROL Group partners Kent Richardson and Erik Oliver have again been named in the IAM Strategy 300 – The World’s Leading IP Strategists.

“The IAM Strategy 300 is an annual list compiled by Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) Magazine that identifies individuals with an established track record in developing and rolling out world-class IP value creation programmes. To qualify for a listing in the IAM Strategy 300, a person must be nominated by others from outside of his or her own organization and have what IAM calls “exceptional skill sets, as well as profound insights into the development, creation, and management of IP value.”

This is the eighth year that Richardson has been named to the list and the seventh year that Oliver has been named to the list.

Bloomberg/BNA Publishes First Quarterly Brokered Patent Market Data Report

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Bloomberg/BNA has begun publishing the ROL Group data on the brokered patent market. This information brings much needed transparency to the market for buying and selling patents and we are glad to be able to help.

“Companies such as Panasonic Corp., Intel Corp., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Korea Telecom used the brokered patent market to adjust their patent portfolios in the first quarter of the year, according to data provided to Bloomberg BNA by Richardson Oliver Law Group LLP.

The brokered market comprises just a small portion of the overall market for patent sales between companies, but it can offer insights into broader trends.The number of assets available in the market received a boost in the first quarter. Patent brokers listed over 6,000 new assets, double the nearly 3,000 listed in the previous quarter.However, those assets were offered as a smaller number of larger packages of patents. The number of packages listed dropped to 164 from 272….”

Negotiating with Intellectual Ventures (IV)? What about their other funds?

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So, what happens when you are negotiating patent peace with Intellectual Ventures (IV) and they cannot guarantee peace? We have a new article up discussing how to handle the licensing of Intellectual Venture’s (IV’s) smaller in-house funds (ISF & IDF) during a negotiation with IV: read it on IPWatchdog.

You can find a broader analysis of IV’s portfolio in Issue 77 of IAM Magazine, How Intellectual Ventures is Streamlining Its Portfolio.

High Value Patents: Does family size matter when looking for better patents?

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In the second part of our two part blog post series at IP Watchdog, we document our efforts to develop, and refine, a patent ranking system based on our unique database tracking over $7B of patents that companies are trying to sell, or have sold.

This part covers our analysis of number of claims, the usage of means claims, claim 1 word count, and family size. Also, this part shows how the different individual ranks are combined into a balanced total rank.

Read more… 

Yahoo’s Patent Portfolio – What Is the Market Price Today?

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Business Insider reports that Yahoo’s patent portfolio could generate up to $3B. We disagree and we use data to show why. With an estimated street price of $772M (high of $1.15B, a low of $393M), Yahoo has a valuable asset, just not a $3B asset.

We often see patent prices stated without any data to back up the analysis. We think this needs to change. Below, we show how a quick analysis of Yahoo’s portfolio and the patent market leads to some bounds on the street price of the patents.


See our case study here.

How Intellectual Ventures Is Streamlining Its Portfolio

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Our latest paper on Intellectual Ventures has been published in IAM Magazine (Issue #77). We look at how IV’s strategy has shifted, how to reduce your risk of exposure to their portfolio, and what the future might hold for them. Our paper is available for download here.

“The cover story this time around focuses on Intellectual Ventures. For many years, the firm kept its cards close to its chest – rarely speaking to the press, even more rarely discussing its business model and never, ever revealing the identities of its investors – but these days it is probably one of the most transparent operators out there.

For example, it is now possible to take a close look at the vast majority of its patents and, as a result, to work out the kinds of strategies it might pursue to monetise them. That is exactly the task the article’s authors set themselves. What Erik Oliver, Kent Richardson and Michael Costa found is an organisation in the process of recalibrating its portfolio to make it smaller and more sharply focused on top quality. That will have significant consequences for the companies the firm approaches for licensing deals, the trio says.” Joff Wild, IAM Blog, April 4, 2016

Finding the Best Patents – Forward Citation Analysis Still Wins

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“We would like you to find the best patents in this pile of 50,000 candidates. Oh, and we need it done for $30K.” We hear requests like this so often we’ve built processes and tools to help us address them.  Our team has over 60 years of experience developing, evaluating, monetizing, litigating, and licensing patents; we’d like to share some of our experience and methodology with you.

Let’s return to that pile of 50,000 patents – how can we find the highest quality patents reliably and efficiently?

In our two part blog post series at IP Watchdog, we document our efforts to develop and refine a patent ranking system based on our unique database tracking over $7B of patents that companies are trying to sell, or have sold.

Read the first post for more details.