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03.04.18

A Publicly-Traded Troll, InterDigital, is Trying Hard to Recover Lost Momentum by Adding Tens of Thousands of Technicolor Patents/Applications

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Technicolor lets a professional (publicly-traded) troll do the ‘enforcement’, i.e. trolling

InterDigital and Technicolor

Summary: InterDigital takes 21,000 Technicolor patents (or applications) for just $150m cash upfront; this quite likely means that InterDigital will get a lot more aggressive, whereas Technicolor will belatedly distance itself from its recently-more-apparent trolling tactics

THE litigation ‘climate’ in the US is negative to those whose make their livelihood out of litigation alone. Even more so if they rely on software patents. Their USPTO-granted patents often turn out to be worthless (when asserted in court), resulting in devaluation of their so-called ‘portfolio’. We have given many examples lately. Some patent trolls lost so much value that they turned from actual companies into penny stocks with no products at all. Good riddance. Dumpsters.

“Some patent trolls lost so much value that they turned from actual companies into penny stocks with no products at all.”Just as rumoured (credit to IAM for this), InterDigital is attempting to remains relevant by absorbing patents from a company-turned-troll, Technicolor.

“Still hearing that deal between InterDigital and Technicolor involving the latter’s patent licensing biz is happening,” someone from IAM wrote some days ago. “Will be very interesting to see the price tag and how much is paid upfront…”

Here (later) came the numbers: “InterDigital gets: • 21,000 patents & applications • Technicolor’s licensing & patent staff Technicolor gets: • $150m cash upfront • 42.5% of future licensing cash receipts • Perpetual licence to transacted patents” (based on this press release from the first of the month). Sounds like an awfully low price, akin to a garden sale.

“InterDigital attempts to become more vicious by taking more shoddy patents under its wing.”IAM was then bragging about the ‘scoop’: “You heard it here first, of course!!”

Yes, credit deserved. As we explained several times before, we don’t agree with IAM on a lot of things, but they do tend to get information earlier than most (from sources/contacts they have).

InterDigital attempts to become more vicious by taking more shoddy patents under its wing. We wrote a lot of articles about InterDigital over the years. Remember that French companies and the French patent office aren’t exactly renowned for quality of patents. The latter (INPI) does not even bother with examination.

There’s press coverage about this transaction (but not much). Reuters wrote:

French media and entertainment company Technicolor (TCH.PA) said on Thursday it has agreed to sell its patent licensing business to U.S. wireless technology provider InterDigital (IDCC.O) in a deal valuing the unit at $475 million.

Technicolor, which makes video devices, modems, routers and other products, put the business up for sale in December as it sought to concentrate on its operating business after issuing four profit warnings last year when it was hit by rising memory chip prices.

[...]

“The agreement also covers Technicolor’s interest in the joint-licensing program with Sony (6758.T) in the fields of digital TVs and computer display monitors, as well as certain royalty-bearing contracts.”

Mr. Ellis (Former IAM) said: “Technicolor sells (as expected) its patent portfolio & monetization biz to InterDigital for $475m. That’s one of the biggest patent deals in a long time…”

“We expect InterDigital to threaten many companies now; if these threats result in actual lawsuits, then (and only then) the threats will become visible.”“InterDigital’s acquisition of Technicolor’s licensing business gives its patent portfolio a huge boost,” IAM said. The term “portfolio” when used in reference to a troll can be misleading; they’re just stockpiling weapons, much like Intellectual Ventures. IAM soon wrote a blog post about it, in which it stated:

InterDigital confirmed last night that it was buying Technicolor’s licensing business in a transaction valued at $475 million. Once completed the deal will draw a line under the French company’s licensing operation which has long been one of the most prominent in the IP value creation market.

Last year we wrote the following about Technicolor:

It can be said that one troll ‘portfolio’ collapsing onto another isn’t quite as menacing as an actual corporation’s (or university’s) ‘portfolio’ being offloaded for trolls to ‘monetise’.

We expect InterDigital to threaten many companies now; if these threats result in actual lawsuits, then (and only then) the threats will become visible. InterDigital will prey on the weak (those unable to afford legal defense and thus likely to fold quickly and easily). InterDigital is a blood-sucking leech which makes nothing at all, it only negotiates like a Mafia. We have given examples over the years, especially when threats culminated in actual lawsuits.

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