Between the recent auction of Nortel patents and Google’s announced acquisition of Motorola Mobility, technology patents have been much in the news. For months, the same names have been cropping up, including InterDigital, a Pennsylvania-based wireless technology developer and licenser that is believed to be going up for sale in September.
Analyst Hendi Susanto says several other tech companies, including flash memory maker SanDisk, panel materials supplier Universal Display, LED light maker CREE and government and corporate device maker Motorola Solutions could also be added to the list. Susanto, who analyzes technology stocks for New York’s Gabelli & Co., believes these companies have strong patent portfolios, which could be appealing acquisitions – or partners in cross-licensing agreements – for giants like Intel, LG, Samsung and Sony.
Susanto’s suggestions, which were outlined in an August 24th research note, come as tech firms’ battles over patents, in and outside the courtroom, appear to be reaching a bloody pitch. “We see an increasing emphasis on intellectual property and high interest in building out defensive and competitive patent portfolios through patent acquisitions,” wrote Susanto in his note.
In these circumstances, strong IP portfolios, Susanto added, can “command a premium on market valuation, serve as a barrier to entry and leverage in cross licensing negotiations, and generate interest for acquisitions.”
What companies appear to wield such advantages? Beyond InterDigital, Susanto counts four. SanDisk is a leader in its field of producing flash memory chips. Because these chips incorporate “multi-level cell technology” as well as “3D memory” technology, the company also has valuable IP, writes Susanto. He says California-based SanDisk has 1,700 (issued) U.S. patents, more than 1,100 foreign patents and 1,100 patents pending in the U.S. (As comparison, Motorola Mobility has 17,000 patents, Nortel had 6,000 and InterDigital has 18,500.) SanDisk’s patents could be of interest to the companies that already license or cross-license its technology, such as Hynix, Intel, Micron, Renesas, Samsung, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba, says Susanto....MORE