13 July 2016
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Yahoo buyers should beware patent value rumours

More than 44 percent of Yahoo’s patent portfolio may be invalid or have no market value, according to TurboPatent.

TurboPatent, which operates an automated and streamlined patent process service, published a report on 12 July that claimed nearly half of Yahoo’s patent portfolio could be a major risk to potential buyers of the struggling internet company

According to the report, 44 percent of Yahoo’s patents have high severity issues that could prevent them from being enforced or defended.

Telecommunications giant Verizon was linked with a $3 billion takeover bid for Yahoo last month. The Daily Mail and Google are also rumoured to be interested. Potential buyers are thought to be keen in its patent portfolio.

Law firm Richardson Oliver made similar claims about the value of Yahoo’s reported $3 billion patent portfolio in April, claiming it could be worth much less, likely between $393 million and $1.15 billion.

TurboPatent cited other experts in patent law who argue that the patent portfolios of large technology companies may not be worth as much as many have mooted.

“Approximately 30 percent of the average patent portfolio of large corporations is worthless—these patents are either invalid, outdated, severely flawed or unrelated to the corporation’s business,” said Larry Goldstein, a US patent attorney and patent law author.

TurboPatent’s report did acknowledge that Yahoo’s patents have attracted some significant interest, with Google, Microsoft and IBM citing its patents thousands of times between them.

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