Google’s Record Patent Sale: Market Insights

Google's Record Patent Sale
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Google’s Milestone Patent Asset Sale

In a groundbreaking move reported by Bloomberg Law in late August, Google, the Mountain View, CA-based tech giant, marked its inaugural sale of patent resources in the U.S. processed patent market. Data disclosed by the Richardson Oliver Law Group, a key source for Bloomberg, reveals Google’s sale of 207 assets, encompassing 138 U.S. patents, in a singular transaction within the current year.

Evolution of Google’s Patent Portfolio

The U.S. patents divested by Google centered on lithium-ion battery-related innovations, initially acquired in 2012 through the Motorola Mobility portfolio acquisition. Initially listed in the second quarter, Google’s patent bundle found a buyer in June, with Chinese battery manufacturer Amperex Technology securing the lithium-ion portfolio.

Noteworthy Players in Patent Sales

While Google marked the largest number of U.S. patent sales in the domestic expedited market this year, other significant contributors include Seiko Epson, a Japanese printer and imaging company, selling 309 assets, primarily 87 U.S. patents, in two distinct packages. Notable sellers also encompass Taiwanese multimedia tech developer Sunplus Technology (111 resources, all U.S. patents), IT giant Hewlett Packard Enterprise (84 assets, including 79 U.S. patents), and patent commercialization firm Hawk Harbor Property (74 assets, 42 U.S. patents).

Insight from Industry Experts

Kent Richardson of the ROL Group highlights that the facilitated market is just one avenue for patent sales among many available to companies. He emphasizes the importance of portfolio specifics in choosing the right sales channel. Richardson notes, “An organization’s familiarity with potential buyers could influence a direct sale, while a facilitated sale becomes effective when market knowledge is limited.”

Google’s Patent Sales Strategy

While this marks Google’s maiden patent asset sale in the expedited market, the company has been listing patent assets for sale on IAM Market for several years. Presently, Google has seven portfolios on IAM, covering various technologies. Richardson suggests that these sales don’t necessarily signal an exit from these business sectors. Instead, it aligns with Google’s risk assessment and asset management strategy.

Market Analysis Insights

Data from the ROL Group unveils a trend in declining prices for single asset sales. Richardson highlights a notable decrease of up to 50 percent in single asset sale prices year-over-year since 2017. The upcoming annual report by ROL Group aims to explore the reasons behind this price decline.