Following billionaire Carl Icahn's filing with the SEC, urging Motorola to monetize its significant patent portfolio, Alexander Poltorak commented on that advice - and how such a sale would be different from the Nortel patent auction ("Carl Icahn Urges Motorola Mobility to Explore Options for Wireless Patents", Bloomberg.com, July 21, 2011).
Icahn’s filing is important because it means the financial community is realizing the potential for patents to be monetized, said Alex Poltorak, chairman and CEO of Suffern, New York-based General Patent Corp. However, Motorola’s patent considerations are “very much unlike” those of Nortel because the latter had filed for bankruptcy before selling, he said.
“Motorola is a company that is actually engaged in business,” Poltorak said in an interview. “The Android-based phones they are selling are in high demand.”
Motorola sells phones that use Google’s Android software, including the Droid and the Atrix, which went on sale in the U.S. in February. Android is the fastest-growing operating system in the smartphone market, according to Gartner.
Patents can play two important roles in a company, especially as patent disputes over smartphone technology are becoming more common, Poltorak said. They can be used “offensively” by suing competitors for infringement, and they can be used “defensively” to look for ways to countersue a competitor.
For Motorola, however, Icahn’s filing may do little to change the company’s strategy, he said.
“They have been buying and selling patents for years,” Poltorak said. “Mr. Icahn is not opening any new horizons by suggesting they explore alternatives.”