Ottawa
20 April 2017
Reporter: Mark Dugdale
WiLAN diversifies in wake of patent licensing challenges
WiLAN is acquiring an internet of things company for $47.4 million as it looks to diversify away from its core patent licensing business.

The deal for International Road Dynamics, which specialises in transportation, was struck on the same day as WiLAN announced plans to rebrand, spin-off its patent licensing business and focus on acquiring internet of things companies and technology.

James Skippen, executive chairman of WiLAN, explained during a conference call: “The legal environment for patent licensing business has undergone significant changes. These changes have altered the performance and outlook for participants, creating some headwinds to growth and lumpiness in financial performance.”

“Because the environment for patent licensing companies has changed so much, we have concluded that patent licensing as a standalone business will not meet our long-term objectives as a public company.”

“The board of management believes that the best path to grow the business and ensure shareholder value is to acquire promising growth companies and support them while they grow their businesses. The knowledge and experience we have gained as a leader in the patent licensing industry can be applied to identifying and evaluating promising technology businesses.”

WiLAN will become Quarterhill on 1 June and the patent licensing business will continue as a subsidiary under the WiLAN brand.

Skippen was optimistic about WiLAN’s future, despite the change in strategy: “WiLAN has a very strong established brand in the intellectual property licensing industry, which we will continue to build-on.”

WiLAN generated revenues of $92.9 million last year. “The future focus will be on generating positive cash flow and consistent performance from the patent business,” added Skippen, who has taken on the role of executive chairman, having previously served as president and CEO.

Skippen is taking temporary charge of WiLAN while a permanent head is sought. He also expects to play a part-time role in the business in the future.

More news
The latest news from IPPro The Internet
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
Hong Kong, Albania and Panama among key counterfeit transit points
23 June 2017 | Alicante | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Hong Kong, Albania and Panama are among several key transit points for counterfeits worldwide
Merchant & Gould hires patent trio
22 June 2017 | New York | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Merchant & Gould has expanded its New York office with the addition of three new intellectual property attorneys.
Nominet releases annual .uk domain disputes report
22 June 2017 | London | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Over half of .uk domain disputes through Nominet’s Dispute Resolution Service have resulted in a domain name being transferred, saving an estimated £7.18 million in legal costs in 2016
Dancing Baby will be neither seen nor heard
21 June 2017 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The US Supreme Court has denied certiorari in the infamous ‘Dancing Baby’ copyright infringement case
Deadpool uploader arrested
20 June 2017 | Los Angeles | Reporter: Mark Dugdale
A man in California has been arrested on charges of criminal copyright infringement for allegedly uploading a copy of the Deadpool movie to Facebook
Netflix, Amazon and Disney help launch anti-piracy coalition
19 June 2017 | New York | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Netflix, Amazon and Disney are among 30 companies involved in the launch of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment
Senate judiciary committee approves Vishal Amin
16 June 2017 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Vishal Amin has been unanimously approved as the White House intellectual property enforcement coordinator by the Senate judiciary committee