Amwal Al Ghad English - 2013-10-22 09:39:05
Even as BlackBerry Ltd. (BB)’s sales tumbled in recent years, the company continued amassing patents, building an intellectual-property hoard that’s now central to its effort to entice bidders.
The struggling smartphone maker received 986 patents last year, a 49 percent increase from 2011, according to figures compiled by the Intellectual Property Owners Association. BlackBerry’s patents are valued at anywhere from $1 billion to $3 billion, depending on how many of them have already been licensed out, analysts and patent experts estimate.Working in BlackBerry’s favor: The patents cover similar technology as Apple Inc.’s intellectual property, and much of the portfolio is only a few years old. The downside is that the market for such assets has cooled. Previous patent buyers such as Apple (AAPL) and Google Inc. amassed broad portfolios in patent deals two years ago.
“This is an incredibly volatile market,” said Ron Laurie, managing director of Palo Alto, California-based Inflexion Point Strategy, who advises companies on patents. “It all depends on perceived demand and strategic value.”
A higher patent valuation would help the company as it seeks offers better than Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. (FFH)’s tentative $4.7 billion buyout proposal, even if it means breaking the company up to get the fullest value for the assets. More»