A Patent Value Guide to: Research in Motion [RIMM]

By: Fernando Torres, MSc
A Patent is the right to exclude others from practicing an invention for a number of years, granted in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention.  The Value of a Patent depends on the profitability of the exclusive business opportunity the patent carves out for the owner.

Research in Motion Ltd.

  • Owns thousands of patents (issued and pending) mostly in Canada, Europe and the US.
  • In 2011, acquired US$775 million portion of Nortel patents (US$4.5 billion) as part of a consortium
  • Intangibles are US$3.37 billion on June 2, 2012 balance sheet.

Research in Motion’s Patent Portfolio

  • In the US, holds over 3,000 utility patents, design patents, or published applications.
  • About one-third are designs or patents directly related to the well known Blackberry® handsets.
  • Another portion deals with wireless communications.
  • Yet another refers to touch screen phones.

Research in Motion’s Potential Patent Value

  • The portfolio contains innovations for future applications, such as: Combining the use of capacitive and resistive touch sensors to improve accuracy, and LTE telecommunication technology.
  • Includes systems and methods for instant messaging which are current technology.
  • Yet has many more designs and patents only applicable to the legacy Blackberry® phones.
  • Component patents in the portfolio could be used for litigation defense and offensive strategies.
  • Typical patent litigation can cost $2 or $3 million with only 40% of cases recovering more than the cost of litigation.
  • In the current environment, the RIM patents could be attractive litigation leverage for Google (Motorola mobility), Microsoft (Nokia), and Samsung and HTC (vs. Apple).

The Interview

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