Hello all,

As we reach the famous “dog days” of August and part of the world (aka Europe) unplugs for the month while the US keeps baking under the same heat dome, it is a good time to reflect on how things are shaping up on the IP market front. Certainly, a lot has happened in the recent weeks and arrows are pointing in opposite directions, making it rather difficult to detect, let alone predict where things are headed. I call this the IP cha-cha-cha. One step forward, one step backward, or something like this anyway. The point is you think you are moving, but you end up pretty much where you started. More on this below as well as some recent noteworthy events.

As usual, as I focus on the macro picture in this newsletter, I want to remind everyone that we track everything that is going on in this world and for those who need their regular dose of news, once again you can follow me on either LinkedIn or Twitter where I post almost daily about some of the most newsworthy events

Happy reading!



Tangible IP News

We are pleased to announce that, Tangible IP has been retained by German leader ams-Osram as its exclusive broker for a rather large portfolio in the smart lighting space with approximately 350 assets and relatively few encumbrances. We will be preparing this portfolio for marketing and sale in the weeks to come. If you’d like to receive it, please email us at info@tangibleip.biz.

We also have several other portfolios for sale that offer great opportunities to savvy buyers. All of our patents for sale are listed here. Similarly, if you’d like to be added on our distribution list in the future so that you are the first to receive new opportunities, please email us at info@tangibleip.biz.


Featured Portfolio For Sale

This issue we focus on the latest installment of AST’s IP3 Program. This divestiture includes 35 unique lots acquired during the program. AST members spent over 3 million dollars on these acquisitions and the Lots represent some of the best assets on the secondary market. The technologies available include Advertising, Cloud Computing, IoT, Media, Imaging and many others. The portfolio will go to market early next week so please reach out to info@tangible.biz if you’d like to receive the details. 


Patents Wanted

Call for high quality portfolios!

We are always open to reviewing high quality portfolios. Some of the areas of most interest to our buying network right now include:

  • Video compression SEPs
  • Medical Device technology – particularly wearables and IOT health monitoring

  • Patents applicable to RFID tags, RFID Antennas, RFID readers and Near Field Communication (NFC) devices.
  • SEPs (Declared or not) relevant to any of the following: 3GPP, 802.11, LTE, 5G

You can review our criteria here but if you own a patent portfolio with at least two issued US patents and have knowledge of others using your technology (infringement), we are happy to review for potential brokerage. We will also look at larger portfolios where evidence of use is uncertain.

Please reach out to info@tangibleip.biz with any assets that may match these requests.


Recent News:

Tesla patent pledge revisited:

Most of us in the IP community were dubious when Tesla famously announced its patent pledge many years ago. “All Our Patent Are Belong to You” as Elon Musk said in a grammatically truncated statement that probably foreshadowed his no less famous “Patents Are for the Weak” declaration last year. Well, the company revealed its true colors a few weeks ago when it filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Texas federal court against Australia’s Cap XX, a supercapacitor company, its direct competitor in the battery space. Ironically, the patents being asserted did not even originate from Tesla but came from its acquisition of Maxwell. The automaker says that Cap XX cannot be protected by its pledge because Cap XX itself sued Maxwell back… in 2019. If this feels a lot like splitting hair to you, you are not the only one.

Nokia gets a slice of the Apple:

It hasn’t been easy for the Finnish powerhouse to sustain its licensing revenue stream originating from its 20,000+ patent portfolio. But a recent license renewal with Apple provided just what the doctor ordered and an instant boost to Nokia, allowing it to end the quarter with €334 million, compared to €305 million in the same period of 2022. The license will allow Nokia to receive payments from Apple for a multi-year period.

Tiptoeing onto the UPC:

We reported in a recent column that there had been no stampede toward the European Unitary Patent Court, especially by large players who were happy to stay on the sidelines and observe how things might shape up. Only a month later, this initial observation is shifting as Huawei took the lead in that direction when it sued US based competitor Netgear before the UPC asserting that the latter violated its Standard Essential Patents (SEP) around Wi-Fi 6. And yesterday, Panasonic filed a series of new lawsuits against Oppo and Xiaomi before the new UPC. So it would appear that the logjam has been broken.

Walking the walk on IP theft:

For years, we have heard gripes about state sponsored IP theft coming from Asia and this is a recurring theme behind the recent push to strengthen patent rights. On July 27th, a bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and John Cornyn (R-TX) aims to further empower U.S. law enforcement in their response to foreign IP theft. The bill is called the American IP Defense and Enforcement Advancement (IDEA) Act and promises to decrease the $600 billion in annual damages caused by foreign IP theft.

Google gets slapped with a large verdict:

After being ordered to pay $32.5M to Sonos in May, Google was on the receiving end of a verdict an order of magnitude greater a few days ago when a jury in the Western District of Texas (under Judge Albright) found that its Chromecast product violated Touchstream Technologies’ patent rights with its remote-streaming technology and must pay $339M in damages. Although it is likely that this verdict will be appealed and possibly reduced/overturned by the Federal Circuit, historically Google has not fared particularly well in such cases, with a less than 30% win rate on appeal.


IP Cha-Cha-Cha

The news I mentioned above appears to me as a representative sample of what is currently happening in the IP market. While some recent developments on the hill are encouraging for patent owners, such as the two recent bills that we discussed in our previous column, others point in the exact opposite direction, such as the recent decision last week by the USPTO to enable director reviews of PTAB institution decisions, something Big Tech has been seeking for years.

In the court arena, for every case that seems to support claims by inventors, another points to an example where these rights are being destroyed through a broad interpretation of the Alice doctrine. Similarly, while a few large verdicts make headlines, others are so minuscule or are simply overturned that one must wonder what winning ultimately means.

In Europe, the UPC – seen as a great tool for patent owners – is crawling out of the gates, while forces are at work to get the SEP valuation work pushed out of the courts and into some bureaucrats’ hands that can be more easily influenced on the policy side.

Finally, some of the most active buyers like IP Edge are in limbo and appear to have curtailed their acquisitions until there is some clarity as to what level of disclosure they must abide by, as a result of the legal spat between them and chief Justice Connolly in the district of Delaware. Others are watching to see how this will play out.

In short, while the market appears to move all the time, it stays pretty much in the same exact spot, just like cha-cha-cha dancers do. There is just too much uncertainty on too many fronts. This is apparent from our discussions with buyers lately. There have never been so many people wanting the same “perfect” patents (which don’t exist for the most part) and are sitting on so much money to acquire them; but very few are making the move to close deals and those who do want to keep their powder dry for the expensive litigation that will naturally follow. At the same time, some patent owners, buoyed by some of the headlines above, suddenly think that they are the next Touchstream and that their meager portfolio is worth tens of millions. It is very difficult to do the matchmaking when both sides think they are the great catch!

We will have to wait until some of the dust settles and we can see a clear pattern emerging. In the meantime, get a margarita and practice your dancing moves…