News broke after the market closed yesterday that Blackberry Smartphone-maker Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM) had engaged bankers to assist in a strategic review of business and financial performance. This announcement came as part of a business update warning shareholders of an upcoming first-quarter operating loss.
Referencing recent billion dollar patent sales by Nortel and Motorola, cable and on-line news services immediately began to inquire as to the potential value of RIMM’s patent estate. Today, I joined Brian Sullivan live on MSNBC to discuss the situation.
As seen in the chart below, RIMM has approximately 2,800 U.S. patents with a portfolio Ocean Tomo PatentRatings® IPQ score of 117.8 (wherein the average patent scores a100). Importantly, the portfolio skews towards quality with more than 40% of all U.S. patents rated as an A or A- and select individual patents scoring an incredible 250+.
Potential parties interested in RIMM’s portfolio include current industry participants as well as potential new entrants and profiteers (ie., investors seeking to acquire the portfolio to license or enforce). A list of industry players can be derived by looking to multigenerational patent citations as shown in the chart below.
Using the highest rated RIMM patents as a starting point, the chart shows not only select elements of RIMM’s portfolio but others owning similar technology. The horizontal axis is a measure of quality (again using IPQ Scores) and the vertical axis is a measure of relatedness. A further description of such statistics can be found on our website.