The Real Value Of Motorola’s Patents When Compared To Others

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Almost everyone in the tech industry feels that Google’s acquisition of Motorola was all about Patents and about neither their technology nor their talents. With Motorola’s patents playing an important role, lets take a look at the real value of Motorola’s patents. First and foremost, Motorola’s 17000+ patents are not filed just within this decade. Many of them are old day patents which are of no value today. To put that in a perspective, take a look at the table below,

YearMotorola’s Rank in Top 10 List
19974
19984
19998
20009
2001-2011

So Motorola was a leader in Patents and IP in the period of 1990’s. Leaving the old patents aside, what about the recent patents from Motorola and how it compares to Microsoft’s recent patent portfolio ? IEEE every year releases a Patent power scorecard, which tells the value of patents by each organization calculated not just by the volume but many other factors such as self citations, originality, etc.

RankCompany2009 US PatentsPipeline Growth IndexPipeline ImpactSelf CitationsAdjusted Pipeline ImpactPipeline GeneralityPipeline OriginalityPipeline PowerAdjusted Pipeline Power
1Microsoft29181.431.2936.7%1.201.321.1279537422
2Oracle3381.091.3222.8%1.321.381.49994994
3Sun5801.071.028.3%1.021.131.7510751075
3Motorola508.921.235.3%1.231.180.88598598
6Nortel245.901.124.2%1.121.171.36397397
11Interdigital1871.34.6834.7%.65.97.254240
14Apple2941.581.2532%1.231.26.42308302

Rank column indicated ranks of companies in their respective industries such as Networks, Software, etc. You can find the full document from IEEE here.

Bloomberg Businessweek conducted a research on IP owned by MNC’s, Here is the result,

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I think you may now realize how patent numbers doesn’t matter much. Its all about the values those patents provides. Google is not even listed in any of the above lists. Google with Motorola’s patents may try to convince Apple, but not Microsoft or Oracle (including Sun). What do you think?

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