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
Quarles & Brady hires internet of things expert
12 December 2017 | Milwaukee | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Quarles & Brady has hired Linda Emery as partner in its intellectual property practice group based in Milwaukee
Siemens reclaims infringing domains
11 December 2017 | Geneva | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Siemens has been transferred seven infringing domain names following a World Intellectual Property Organisation Arbitration and Mediation Centre dispute
PSNI, HMRC and FACT seize 50 illegal streaming devices
08 December 2017 | Belfast | Reporter: Barney Dixon
A joint operation between UK enforcement bodies has resulted in the seizure of 50 illegal streaming devices
China world’s top trademark filer in 2016
07 December 2017 | Geneva | Reporter: Barney Dixon
China was the world’s top trademark filer in 2016, with the country accounting for 3.7 million applications out of an estimated global total of 7 million
Marlboro beats infringer in UDRP dispute
07 December 2017 | Geneva | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Marlboro has acquired seven infringing domain names in a dispute at the World Intellectual Property Organisation Arbitration and Mediation Centre.
Squire Patton Boggs hires ex Walgreens Boots Alliance counsel
06 December 2017 | London | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Squire Patton Boggs has appointed Kerry Lee as partner in its intellectual property and technology practice
Google wins UDRP dispute
06 December 2017 | Minneapolis | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Google has won a domain dispute at the Alternative Dispute Resolution Forum