from the one-can-hope... dept
But, in reality, it turns out sales aren't up. They're way, way, way down.
Joe Mullin writes about the latest Ocean Tomo auction that can reasonably be termed a total disaster after sales didn't just fall, but fell off a cliff:
While some folks I spoke to before the auction said they expected sales this year to be down by as much as 50 percent from last year, the final results were much worse. Friday's auction took in just under $2.9 million--more than 80 percent less than the roughly $17 million in patent sales generated by the company's San Francisco auction last year.That, of course, is exactly the opposite of what Ocean Tomo was telling reporters just a few weeks ago (and those reporters repeated it without question).
Out of more than 80 lots of patents on the block, only six sold. (An Ocean Tomo auction "lot" can include a single patent, several patents, or a portfolio of patents in related technology.) Ocean Tomo tacks on a 10 percent fee paid by buyers, and also charges fees to sellers, meaning the company probably took in less than $1 million for itself....
Ocean Tomo CEO James Malackowski looked a bit shaken by the end of the day.
"Obviously the market has become more selective," he said in brief concluding remarks.
In the meantime, Saul Hansell of the NY Times, notes that one of the very few buyers was RPX, a company we covered last year, which is still insisting that its business model is never to sue for infringement but to simply let tech companies "license" its portfolio as a way of having ammo against other patent infringement lawsuits. It's sort of "Intellectual Ventures-lite." This was the original business plan of IV, but no one really believes that IV won't eventually sue -- and I'd imagine the same is true of RPX. At some point, its A-list investors will demand a bigger return, and using the portfolio to sue will just be too tempting.