One of the foremost names in wireless technology announced this week that they would sell more than 6,000 of their patents. It’s not the first time Nokia has decided to unload some of its intellectual property onto the market, and the same concerns apply this time as did in previous sales. Fortunately, some of the concerns can be addressed with the proper tools.
Previous Pitfalls with the Sale of Nokia IP
In the past, non-practicing entities were quick to purchase the available IP from Nokia, which put several large tech companies in a bind. They were likely to face infringement suits soon after the intellectual property was transferred to the NPE, which were often eager to assert their patents.
In some cases, as with Apple, Nokia was accused of selling off weak IP that shouldn’t have been enforceable. Nokia had promised to license the technology Apple and other large tech companies were already using. Instead, Nokia found a better price with the NPEs. Once the NPEs purchased that intellectual property, Apple and others were then approached for royalty payments.
What’s on the Menu for Sale?
The patents available for purchase cover a wide range of technology, from wireless, to optical networks, to hardware and components, to service and user experience, and materials. Many are also patents from the former AT&T Bell Laboratories, which were absorbed by Nokia. Others are patents that came from Nokia’s former devices and services business. That particular business was sold to Microsoft in 2014, but the patents remained…until now.
All together, the portfolio includes 4,260 patent families, which includes 6,069 granted patents and 734 patent applications. About 82% of these patents were once the property of Alcatel-Lucent. The sales will be first-come, first-served for cash purchases.
Avoiding the Problems of the Past
As you’re aware, analyzing over 6,000 patents can take a lot of time. For that reason, the companies that already use the technology within the patents—or plan to use that technology in the future—want to take their time investigating the quality and strength of the various patents within the portfolio.
While these larger companies that could benefit from the actual technology represented by the portfolio take the necessary time to investigate, the non-practicing entities often swoop in and snap up whatever they can. Whether those patents are strong or weak are of no consequence; they only want the ability to enforce the patents in court cases against the tech giants they beat to the auction block.
If that scenario replays here, Apple and other wireless and telecommunications companies could end up facing infringement suits once more—all because they didn’t have the time to analyze the thousands of patents before making a purchase decision. It’s happened before, with one of our clients, though not with this particular company’s sale of IP.
IPVision has developed a proprietary tool that can analyze and score thousands of patents in a matter of days. Sorting through 6,000 patents and applying analysis and scores could otherwise take months—months you can’t afford to spend.
Our score includes the breadth of the claim and the structure. You’ll be able to determine if the patent in question is broad or narrow, and if it has any structural flaws that could lead to problems with litigation. You’ll see with clarity any noun phrases within the patent that aren’t supported in the specification.
You’ll also learn the patent family asset identification for all US patent family members associated with any given patent in the portfolios you’re analyzing. This prevents you from acquiring a single patent without the ability to actually use that patent.
If you’re interested in purchasing a large quantity of patents, whether these from Nokia or another portfolio within your particular industry, let us show you how iScore can help. We offer a free demonstration for up to twenty patents. Even more, we’ll consult with you through the decision and purchasing process to ensure you select only those that will best benefit your innovation plans.
Want to talk? Give us a call.