Google has finally put a price tag of $5.5bn on the patents it snaffled in its $12.4bn purchase of Motorola Mobility. The web behemoth declared the value of Moto's "patents and developed technology" in a filing with US stock market regulator SEC. The Chocolate Factory's surprise Motorola Mobility gobble was attributed mainly to …
$5.5bn - but what are they actually worth?
So far all we've seen from motorola in the patent war is a few average patents, and some extremely strong but unfortunately FRAND encumbered patents. Worth $5.5bn? Very doubtful!
They've not really dealt either MS or apple any really crippling blows with their non-FRAND patents. Going the other way, MS have got a sales ban on various motorola products, and apple are making serious progress.
They did manage to get a ban on some of apple's 3G devices in germany, very briefly. That was based on a FRAND patent though, and germany is the only place in the world which has so far considered a product ban from a FRAND patent. That event caught the EU's interest, and moto are now being investigated. They're also being investigated over FRAND abuse in the US.
So: a bunch of weak patents, and a bunch of "strong" but FRAND-encumbered patents that have relatively little actual value. And a couple of anti-trust cases. And $5.5bn.
What a fuck up!
Re: $5.5bn - but what are they actually worth?
I'm hoping they'll ultimately be found to be worth $0, along with all of Apple's patents. Then finally the industry can get on with making cool gadgets again rather than making ridiculous lawsuits.
Apple are trying to stick Samsung for 2.5bn for some patent "violations", so a whole suite of patents as defence and offensive weapons is probably worth it, and could easily repay itself over the patent lifetimes.
I'd rather it hadn't all come to this mind you. Bloody patent bollocks.
Google: "No, we didn't invest 12.5bn on a dud patent pocker chip that only has FRAND patents".
If Google wants to really put an end to this, they should purchase a company like LodSys or NTP that own "gold" patents, aka overly broad patents that were somehow not only granted but also verified from the supreme court. Then use those patents to bring the entire industry (except those that didn't stab them in the back pehaps like Barnes and Noble) to a standstill or demand huge royalties. This way, the motto that "everything that results in royalty payments is good" that is so popular in the circles of the US government will backfire badly, and they will be forced to drop software patents or only accept software patents that can be also be implemented in hardware without being too obvious, like any other country does.
But buying a company like Motorola Mobility that had all the good patents sucked by the parent Motorola company and left only with FRAND ones ain't going to work. Google bought Motorola Mobility thinking they were getting a killer deal, patents+devices, but as it turns out, they only got devices. So now they have to buy another company for the patents.
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