IP Market Updates
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IP Market Updates
December 6, 2016

Asia has been on everyone’s radar screen lately in the IP space and the IP business conference (IBPC Asia) organized by IAM that just opened today in Shanghai provided an opportunity to articulate a bit why. This gave a chance to the main protagonists to revisit the historic transaction a few months ago, whereby emerging Chinese giant Xiaomi acquired more than 1500 patents from another giant, Microsoft. This deal reflected a simple reality; Asian companies who want to compete globally must load up the IP currency if they want to be able to fend off competitors and defend themselves against patent assertion as they enter new markets. Conversely, as we wrote last week, China is rapidly becoming a coveted jurisdiction for patent owners to bring lawsuits there, given the relatively inexpensive and faster court process, as well as the high rate of success for Plaintiffs. As a result, last week saw the first case brought in China by a foreign Non-Practicing Entity (Canadian WILAN), who sued Japanese Sony alleging infringement of several patents it owns in China.  Similarly, Fujian ETIM Information & Technology Co., who had sued Samsung over its own “slide to unlock” patent (very similar to the iPhone feature), was just awarded both damages and an injunctive relief against the Korean giant. This would have been unthinkable just a couple of years ago.
Closer to home, we learned that the sale of the vast Yahoo patent portfolio is not going well. Apparently, the few bids that it attracted so far are significantly lower than what the company expected and well below the reserve price of $500M. This should not that surprising in a sense for those who follow this market closely and understand it well; we know that the Nortel deal and a few subsequent transactions (Motorola Mobility,
Aol, etc.) back in 2011 were at the height of a bubble and the market has long settled down to more realistic valuations. Furthermore, there is no longer much safety in numbers; quality now trumps quantity and Yahoo’s problem lies in the fact that most of its early patents on search (mostly Altavista’s portfolio) have expired and the ones they now own are not that that compelling for the most part. This is further exacerbated by the very maintenance cost of a portfolio of this size where a weak patent is not only worthless, but it rapidly becomes a liability. The Yahoo predicament thus continues a trend where very large portfolios are sold for pennies in the dollar, like the Kodak patents a few years back (approximately $500M instead of the $2-3B initially expected) and the acquisition last year by NPE WILAN of the 7000-patent rich portfolio of Infineon’s Qimonda division for a reported price of less than $5K per patent. This latter phenomenon, namely operating companies offloading underperforming assets to NPEs as a way to outsource their disputes against their competitors through a privateer model is not new; but it seems to be strengthening as evidenced by the recent deal where Japanese Panasonic sold a small portfolio to another Ottawa based NPE, Conversant, who will now be tasked to monetize it by soliciting licenses from Panasonic’s competitors…
So next time you hear that large tech companies are lobbying against NPEs and
so called “abusive patent litigation”, remember that they are the first ones to resort to those same NPEs to assert their patents when they feel someone is encroaching upon their rights.
Next week, we will take a closer look at the latest statistics pertaining to the IP Brokered Market.

Happy reading! 


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Louis Carbonneau, Founder & CEO
IAM World's Leading IP Strategists since 2012

Tangible IP is a strategic IP advisory firm and the global leader in the sale and acquisition of high-quality patents, with a proven track record of over 2000 patents successfully brokered. If you are looking for strategic IP advice or have patents that could be monetized to raise capital or reinvest into your R&D, please contact us at
New Patent Sale Completed
Tangible IP recently closed a patent sale of a 5-asset portfolio in the field of Critical Notification and Information Management Systems. Unfortunately, we are not at liberty to disclose the details of the transaction. This is our 9th completed sale in 2016.
New Portfolios for Sale
We have several patent portfolios for sale, most of them with detailed evidence of use (EoU). To see all available portfolios, or to submit patents for a free evaluation, visit our website

Our services are designed to form the building blocks of a complete IP ecosystem, from due diligence to sophisticated strategic advisory, from valuation to complex sales and IP licensing program. Most services can be procured separately or combined to better fit your needs and minimize duplicate costs. In most cases, you will get valuable insights and strategic tools to create and maintain a sustainable competitive advantage for much less than the price of filing a single patent application.
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Past Newsletters

November 29, 2016
November 22, 2016

November 15, 2016
November 7, 2016
October 27, 2016
October 17, 2016
October 9, 2016
October 3, 2016
August 15, 2016
July 29, 2016
July 11, 2016
July 1, 2016
June 20, 2016
May 31, 2016
May 17, 2016
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April 11, 2016
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February 29, 2016

February 22, 2016

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