Saturday 17 August 2013

“A Kodak Moment” or “Rembrandts in the Attic”: The Valuation for the BlackBerry Patent Portfolio

On the heels of the announcement that BlackBerry would start looking “at strategic alternatives,” the web has lit up with commentary and speculation on the value of the BlackBerry patent portfolio—a whopping 5,000 plus patents and almost 4,000 patent applications! (here, here, here and hereAnd, the value is – well, $2 billion.  Or, maybe $3 billion.  But, well, under some circumstances could be $5 billion.  Wow.  A $2 to $5 billion range?  To be fair, these valuations are being made “on the fly.”  I do hope that this time the folks doing the valuing are taking into account, at least, how extensive the licensing of the critical patents in the portfolio has been (apparently a mistake with the Kodak portfolio valuation), the existence of noninfringing substitutes, the relevant markets, the construction of the claims and potential prior art not considered by the relevant patent offices. (How much is that analysis going to cost?) 

Could the portfolio be a "Rembrandt in the Attic" (or a lot of them)?  Again, how extensive has the licensing of the patents been?  At least one analysis has pointed out that there is quite a bit of term left on some of the BlackBerry patents.  And, in early 2013, Intellectual Asset Management reportedly gave the BlackBerry Patent Portfolio a relatively high rating based on quality and quantity of patents and BlackBerry supposedly has been spending "$1.5 billion to $2 billion" on R&D a year. Here is the Envision IP analysis (and update) of the BlackBerry Patent Portfolio.  ThinkFire will release its analysis of the present BlackBerry Patent Portfolio soon.    Anyone need a shield or something to trade?    

Besides the valuation issue, it will be interesting to see if the BlackBerry patents are eventually used by so called “patent trolls” to hold up other entities since BlackBerry (Research in Motion) was such a famous “victim” of NTP and has been an outspoken critic of "patent trolls."  (the sword).  Again, anyone need a shield?  We shall see how the game plays out. 

No comments: