Thanks to Roger Martin, Senior Vice President, Chief IP Strategist at Qualcomm, we introduced the new topic of “Intellectual Property as a Business Asset” into this year’s Engineering Leadership program in Silicon Valley. Last week, Roger spoke to the 2012 cohort about how the value of IP. He says that its not a plaque for the wall and it does not allow you to “do” anything, its value is in being able to stop others from doing something.
To illustrate IP valuation, we looked at Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility (MMI). In this case, firms like Apple and Google have moved into the new space of mobile communications even though neither of these firms grew up in wireless industry. Apple had some IP, but did not fair well in the courts because the IP was mostly user interface patents such as the slide bar on the iPhone. Only a few players like Nortel and Motorola held the more substantial IP, such as the air interface IP and LTE.
The lecture walked the class though the reasoning why there were so few options for Google to obtain the IP it needed for the Android ecosystem and why Google was not able to win the IP Nortel auction. This all lead to the MMI acquisition as the only remaining option. By the way, it was really interesting to know that one of Google’s bids was pi billion ($3.14159.. B) dollars. Topics in the follow-on discussion: IP valuation and factors, note that Kodak was not able to sell its IP. Intellectual Ventures and other non practicing entities with VP Deepak Sharma, and how should engineers decide what patents to pursue to make business assets versus plaques for the walls.