Is Yahoo Sitting on a Patent Gold Mine?
In February, Yahoo officially launched the sale of its core business, and despite their struggles, they could be sitting on a treasure trove of intellectual property.
The New York Post, citing intellectual property experts, says Yahoo could reap between $3 and $4 billion just from the sale of its patent portfolio.
“The potential patent gold mine is also attractive to bidders involved in the auction for the company. Yahoo has set a deadline of April 11 to submit preliminary bids for its Web business and Asian assets,” writes Claire Atkinson of the Post. “But it’s unclear which patents Yahoo would sell as part of a non-core deal and which it might retain as part of the sale of the core business — making Yahoo’s own evaluation of its patents fuzzy.”
We saw something similar happen with Eastman Kodak. Murmurs were that Kodak’s patent portfolio would reap billions (Kodak estimated between $2.2 and $2.6 billion). It ended up selling for only $527 million. So it’s fair to say that a wait-and-see approach is required here. But if Yahoo can fetch this much for their portfolio, it would certainly speak volumes on a number of levels.
First, it would say something about their ability to innovate, even while Google has gained so much of their market share. But it also speaks to the value of technology patents in an increasingly litigious IP landscape. Whoever acquires Yahoo’s patents knows that they’re also acquiring the peace of mind, knowing that one less competitor is out there ready to file a patent suit against them. And when the stakes are as high as judgments in the hundreds of millions-to-billions, that’s a very valuable asset to have.