November 5th, 2010
We recently reported the purchase of a significant patent portfolio from Motorola’s subsidiary, Symbol Technologies, Inc. which represents the largest, broadest, and earliest filed laser pico projection and display portfolio outside of Microvision’s. Because the transaction did not close until after our November 1st conference call and we were not able to discuss this transaction then, I wanted to provide some insight into why this transaction is important to Microvision.
We purchased this portfolio because we believe there is a significant market opportunity for applications included in the portfolio such as head-up display, 3D projection, and other pico projection and image capture applications. Combining this portfolio with our already extensive and highly-rated patent assets substantially extends our leadership position in this space. Prior to this acquisition, Microvision’s portfolio has been recognized for its innovation, impact, and breadth by a number of industry organizations (including 3 consecutive years by IEEE and 2 years in a row by the Patent Board). With the addition of Symbol’s patents, we now have over 500 patents, patents pending and licensed patents worldwide.
We believe that the primary reasons Motorola approached us was because they know that we are a leader in pico projection and displays, the patents would be complementary to our portfolio, and that the patents could assist us in bringing the technology to market. We negotiated a purchase price for the portfolio that is conscious of our current cash position and includes one near-term payment in stock and two longer-term payments in cash. As a result Motorola becomes a shareholder of Microvision.
Intellectual property is a key asset and our strategy is to strengthen this asset base around our core technology and related applications through innovation, licensing and acquisition. With the purchase of this portfolio we have executed on our strategy to enhance our already robust portfolio by the addition of the Symbol patents.
You can read our full press release here.
March 19th, 2010
In the just-released 2010 report that IEEE does on ranking overall ‘patent power’, Microvision ranks #1 for U.S. companies in the top 20 electronics companies, ahead of Apple and Xerox (the only other two U.S. companies ranked in the top 20). Overall, Microvision ranks #13 worldwide, up from 17th place in 2009. Great job by the Microvison patent and technology teams! See http://spectrum.ieee.org/static/patentpower2010 for the report, done in several categories.
In this evaluation, the Adjusted Pipeline Impact (API) score indicates how frequently a company’s patents from the previous five years were cited by other patents, adjusting for self-citation. Microvision scored 1st in API out of the Top 20 electronics companies.
April 13th, 2009
IEEE Spectrum has refreshed its annual assessment of IP portfolios in different technology sectors. Last year Microvision was named in the Top 20 electronics companies worldwide in patent pipeline power. This year we moved up 3 slots to 17th, even though we filed 25 patents during the evaluation year, compared to hundreds filed by some of the other names on the list (Hitachi, Xerox, Sony, Sharp, and LG Electronics to name a few.)
In this evaluation, the Adjusted Pipeline Impact (API) score indicates how frequently a company’s patents from the previous five years were cited by other patents, adjusting for self-citation. Microvision scored 2nd in API out of the Top 20 electronics companies.
Here is an excerpt from a January 2007 Business Week article discussing why this metric may be important. Thanks to the investor that sent this Business Week article my way.
“Scholars have learned that a powerful proxy for innovative expertise is how frequently a company’s existing patents are cited in patent applications. Indeed, one-quarter of all patents receive no citations, and a mere 0.01% earn more than 100 citations, according to Bronwyn Hall, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley. In a study by four economists covering seven industries that generate a large number of patents, researchers found that a patent mentioned 14 times by other patents is worth, on average, 100 times as much as a patent cited only 8 times. Another estimated that companies with widely cited patents and a track record of turning them into products outperformed the market by 1,000% over a 10-year period.”