Hello all,

Next week, our team will be attending the 10th annual IP Dealmakers Forum in New York City. I have attended every single year since its inception and always look forward to great content and catching up with senior business leaders in the IP space. Erika Warner and I are available for meetings during the event. Just shoot us a message through the conference app or via email. I will comment on the main highlights from the event in our next and last column of 2023.

In this column though, I provide a few updates on the patent market, how it’s going and who is buying and selling patents these days. There were a few surprises in the latest AST report which I will discuss below. I also cover the increasing assertiveness of Chinese companies who are now asserting their patents in the US against domestic players, or entering into cross patent licensing deals that would have been unheard of just a few years back. Times are changing and the consistent demolition of the US patent system by BigTech is now coming back to roost.

Finally, I cover a few other interesting topics and include a few links to IP stories that caught my attention.

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

In our last column, we announced the recent sale of a portfolio in the air filtering sensor technology space. See the full announcement here. Furthermore, we have officially closed the sale of a portfolio in the data storage space as well and you can see the formal announcement here.

Just a few days ago, we closed the sale of a 16 patent portfolio in the water monitoring and management space belonging to Apana Inc. A formal announcement will follow shortly.

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.


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 and/or video streaming
  • Block Chain related assets
  • 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:

A Judge’s Unprecedented Move

We’ve commented on a few occasions about the ongoing saga between IP Edge (through at least one of its companies asserting patents in the district of Delaware) and chief Judge Connolly of said district. Both parties have been engaged in a legal tug of war for almost 2 years over the level of disclosure that is required for Plaintiffs to share in a patent lawsuit, including who maintains a financial interest in the outcome of the case. The feud culminated this week when judge Connolly, in a rather unprecedented move, referred IP Edge’s lawyers and a few other parties to the Department of Justice, the USPTO and various State Bar regulators to investigate their conduct in a scathing 100+ page document.

This fight has been blown far out of proportion with what is seemingly at stake, i.e. the level of public disclosure required in these cases, and a clear decision from the Federal Circuit Court could have easily prevented this downward spiral that puts the chief judge adjudicating patent cases as a quasi-party. This can only hurt other inventors who are simply trying to get others to stop infringing their patents. Since the TC Heartland decision a few years ago, Delaware sees a decent percentage of all 5000+ patent cases filed each year around the country and litigants should be able to file their case there without the risk of retribution… by the very judge overseeing their case. This makes no sense whatsoever and it needs to end sooner than later.

Do Investors Care About IP?

I often hear this question. The honest answer is, it depends. But many do and more so now than a few years ago, as the market value of companies is increasingly more concentrated on their intangible assets. This was verified recently after US-based Nanostring Technologies (whom we commented about in our last column and made history by being the first company to be enjoined by the UPC in Europe) lost another patent case, in Delaware this time, and was condemned to pay US $31 million to Plaintiff 10X Genomics.

Shareholders responded by sending the stock of the publicly traded company (NASDAQ: NSTG) from $1.28/share down to $0.50/share in a matter of days. It hasn’t recovered since then. Still in doubt?

Chinese Assertiveness

It has often been said that China wants to move away from being an importer of Western technologies and become a developer of IP and exporter of homegrown advanced technologies. They really did a great job at the importing part… But it is also quite interesting to see how Chinese technology companies have adapted to the new landscape. For instance, since Huawei has been barred from selling products in the US and a few other countries for national security considerations, it has reinvented itself as the most aggressive patent filer and has now become an IP licensing powerhouse on par with the likes of Nokia and Ericsson. This has allowed it to also enter into multiple cross licensing arrangements with other very large patent portfolio holders, as their latest deal with Japanese giant Sharp bears witness. At the same time, Chinese companies, historically on the receiving end of patent lawsuits have started flexing their own IP muscles outside of China. Just in the past couple of weeks, Yangtze Memory Technologies Co (YMTC) sued chipmaker Micron for patent infringement, and so did Lenovo by filing suit against US based Asus. Pundits are divided as to whether this should be regarded as a sign that Chinese companies are now more interested at protecting their own technologies than “benefiting” from those of others, or that IP theft remains rampant, and they are just playing both sides of the equation. See a good discussion on this very topic here.

Short Reads

I’ve come across a few interesting articles that are on the fringe of the IP world. I recommend you take a read as well:

Why Good Inventions Get Lost

5 ancient Native American inventions that are still used in our modern world

Q3 Market Updates

Each quarter, our good friends (and client) at Allied Security Trust (AST) publish a quarterly report of patent transaction activities. This report represents AST’s firsthand transaction visibility by their 50 or so members and by tracking all patent assignments with the USPTO. They just released their latest report for Q3 which has some interesting data (and a few surprises) and which I will try to summarize below. The full report is available for free from AST’s website, although you have to be a member to unlock some of the data.

AST analyzed over 30,085 USPTO assignments involving 93,765 US assets with 679 sale assignments, recorded from June 1 to September 30, 2023. In the third quarter of 2023, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) registered 368 patent transactions involving 3,925 assets. These transactions featured 361 sellers and 358 buyers. See table below to see how this activity compares to previous quarter (note; Q2 of 2023 was an outlier as it reflected the one-off sale of the Blackberry patent portfolio in one single transaction).

(Source: AST)

According to AST’s findings, the patent secondary market remains promising; however, the graph above shows a real decline over past quarters, going all the way back to 2019. Still, a notable surge in acquisitions by new Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs) has been observed, potentially foreshadowing an increase in litigious activities. Of all transactions, a large majority (61%) were bought by Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs). This percentage is actually lower than what we experience in the brokered market, which accounts for the fact that operating companies sometimes buy directly from the other large patent holders without resorting to intermediaries.

Notable transactions involve well known NPE Dominion Harbor which bought yet another tranche of close to 1500 patents from Intellectual Ventures, while NPE Steger IP, LLC (whose principals are US patent litigators Steve Steger and Elizabeth Rudersdorf) bought over 250 patents from Micron Technology (which has been using this privateering model to monetize its portfolio for well over a decade). Finally, NPE Awemane Ltd sold 237 assets related to Software to Beijing Pianruojinghong Technology Co Ltd., likely the same ones it had purchased from IBM the year before.

Transactions in Q3 tended to be concentrated around medtech (healthcare & pharma), industrial and software, although most of the patents transacted were in the software arena, mostly skewed by the IV/Dominion Harbor deal.

In Q3, the most active sellers were electronics companies, such as BBK Electronics Corp Ltd, Dolby, Fujifilm Corp, Huawei, Johnson Controls, LG, and Sony, selling 442 assets in 23 separate transactions. On the acquisition side, semiconductor companies, such as SG Micro Corp, Shanghai Ling Ce Electronics Technology, Soulbrain Co Ltd, Hitachi Ltd, Huawei, and STMicroelectronics NV, actively bought 254 assets in 8 deals.