[Nothing in this article is or should be construed as the giving of legal advice and/or the practice of the law.]
A broad range of strategies are available to patent owners to realize value from assets that are not strategic to the company or that cover inventions the company declines to bring to market. These include licensing and/or funding litigation, putting the patent portfolio up for auction, litigation through a law firm that is willing to work on a contingent fee basis, and licensing or sale to one of the patent licensing and assertion companies.
Here are a few examples of such firms.
- Acacia. One of the better known and I believe the only publicly traded company among this group is Acacia Research Corp (ACTG) whose business includes acquiring patent portfolios and the licensing the patents to relevant parties. In some cases, Acacia has used litigation as a tool to enforce patents. Consequently, most take them seriously.
- Altitude Capital Partners. ACP is a hedge fund based in New York that specializes in funding patent licensing and related litigation. They currently have at least 15 different portfolios, principally in high tech.
- Intellectual Ventures. Founded by Nathan Myhrvold (former CTO at Microsoft), Intellectual Ventures creates and/or acquires patent portfolios which are then licensed to third parties.