Tag Archives: RPX

Defensive Patent Acquirer is Going Public

RPX Files S-1 with the SEC

It’s amazing what you can learn, or infer, from a Securities and Exchange Commission S-1 registration statement, which RPX has filed in order to sell $100 million worth of shares to the public.

Lead underwriters Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital and Allen & Company all are stellar financial advisors and selective about whom they do business with. A good sign.

RPX recorded $10m in profits for first nine months of 2010 on about $65m in revenues, and has 70 clients.

The company estimates that “litigation-related expenses in the patent market totaled tens of billions of dollars in the United States from 2005 to 2010.”

I didn’t have time to go over the registration carefully. However, those of you interested in patent infringement and IP business models might want to take a closer look. S-1 registration disclosure details are often revealing.

*     *     *

RPX has done quite well over the past 24 months, achieving significant growth and profit. I wish them success. It is unclear how much of the company is being sold at this time. Time will tell to see to what extent the business is scalable and how attractive its model is to investors. Continued performance will help.

Illustration source: SEC.gov

Latest SF Tech Boomlet Fuels Jobs & More

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs — & IP Deals, Too!

If a recent news article about the San Francisco economy is any indication, politicians may soon be campaigning not only on jobs creation but on IP transactions.

The Wall Street Journal writes about how SF is enjoying a mini-renaissance as a tech center. Web and digital media companies have begun to take advantage of low City rents and available talent.

Embedded in an easy to miss graph about jobs creation is an unusual statistic; something I don’t believe I’ve seen before and certainly not in the major business press. Included along with data showing an increase in more than 1700 IT jobs in 2008 and 2009: 100+ Intellectual Property Transactions.

That’s right, IP transactions. Do my eyes deceive me? IP regarded in the same context as job creation? For long-time IP evangelists it doesn’t get much better than this. (Well, actually, it can.)

WSJ’s data source is the Labor Department and the SF Office of the Controller. I wonder if the Controller is tracking transactions or WSJ added them. I doubt the Labor Department cares much about IP activity.

*    *     *

This begs a question: What the heck does the WSJ mean by IP transactions? Patent licensing deals? Sales? Acquisitions? Copyright licenses on Web content? Venture capital raised?

VC Charles River Ventures is quoted in the article. They are an investor in SF-based RPX Corporation, a defensive patent aggregator that is said to be considering a public offering.

I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouse. It’s great that a veteran reporter like Pui-Wing Tam, who has covered start-ups and VCs, had the foresight to include SF IP transactions with jobs growth. It would just be nice to know what they are.

As much as I condone their asendance, I’m concerned that “IP transactions” in general are too abstract to be linked to jobs as an economic indicator. We need to know how the term is being used and how transactions’ impact are being measured. Bravo, I think.

*     *     *

P.S. – There is a reason for the accompanying scan. The soft piece, “Tech Buoys San Francisco,” at wsj.com for some reason dropped the “Growing Field” graphic that ran in the newspaper.

Pui-Wing told me that the graph was sourced to analysis that the SF Office of the Controller did of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Illustration source: The Wall Street Journal, 10/13/10 print edition

iPlaces – SF Bay Area-Silicon Valley

IP Asset-land –

Some places lend themselves to innovation. Some also lend themselves to new uses of innovation rights. Silicon Valley is one such area. In and around Palo Alto are perhaps the highest concentration of  IP-centric companies, investors and strategists.

Among notable IP people in the Bay Area (in no particular order): Peter Detkin (IV, Palo Alto), Ron Laurie (Inflexion Point, PA), Kevin Rivette (3LP, Tessera, PA), Pat Sullivan (The Gathering, PA), Irv Rappaport (former CIPO Apple, National Semi, SmartPatents, PA), Vincent Pluvinage (IV, PA),  ipValue, Kent Richardson (ThinkFire, Mountain View), Joe Chernesky, Ron Epstein, Michael Pierantozzi (iPotential, San Mateo), Joe Beyers (Ambature, Cupertino) to name a few. In nearby SF I am aware of John Amster (RPX), Rob Aronoff (Pluritas), Joe Mullin (The Prior Art), Victoria Slind-Flor (Bloomberg), Zusha Elinson (The Recorder) and Suzanne Harrison (Gathering 2.0).

Robert Barr, formerly head of IP at Cisco, is now executive director of the Center for Law & Technology in Berkeley. The late, great Jim Fergason, an IP Hall of Fame inventor of the LCD, lived in Atherton and worked in PA. IP-centric companies are too numerous to mention.

I know that I am leaving some people out, so please post a comment and let me and readers know who should be included.

The question is why the SF Bay Area? What in the air (or water) makes people look at innovation differently?

The WALL STREET JOURNAL
Power Tables – IL FORNAIO

I think it may have to do with open-minded, arguably libertarian approach to wealth and life-style that pre-dates the Gold Rush. People are not afraid to try new things – or, at least, to look at intangibles imaginatively.

There is no shame in failure, the locals seem to be saying; there’s great shame in failing to try.

%d bloggers like this: