These days, business assets are not limited to physical items, such as factories and manufacturing equipment. Intellectual property is increasingly seen as one of the most valuable assets a business can obtain, especially in high tech industries like mobile computing. To that end, Qualcomm Inc. has purchased a group of patents from Hewlett-Packard Co (HP).
The portfolio, which consists of intellectual property related to mobile operating systems, contains approximately 2,400 patents. Among the roughly 1,000 patents granted and pending in foreign countries – such as China, Japan, Korea, Germany and the U.K. -- and 1,4000 granted and pending patents in the U.S.
At the heart of this transaction is one of the biggest tenets of an IP-based economy: licensing. Qualcomm, the world’s largest manufacturer of chips for mobile phones, gets a large portion of its profits from licensing technology. Its plans for the new acquisitions will allow it to broaden its licensing offerings. The transaction also fits HP’s business plan, which involved selling off mobile patents to shore up its financial position.
According to Bloomberg, HP will maintain a license to the sold patents, and Qualcomm will determine the value of the portfolio based on the value of existing cross-licensing agreements. These patents hearken back to an earlier era of mobile computing, with origins in Palm Inc., which was acquired by HP in 2010. Other patents in the group stem from HP’s 2007 Bitfone acquisition and its line of iPaq mobile devices.
The deal makes sense for both parties, as it gives an injection of cash to HP and allows that company to focus on other technologies outside of the mobile device space. It also allows Qualcomm to have a more comprehensive portfolio for licensing purposes.
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