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Jim Letourneau's Blog

Investing, Technology, Travel, Geology, Music, Golf. I think that covers it.

Collecting Patents Goes Mainstream

Many Silicon Valley types bemoan the existence of patents. They are believed to stifle innovation in the technology universe. Certainly the value of new products can be diminished by stray patent claims. I don't own any patents myself so I'm not fully informed on the debate. However, I do know that former Alberta tech stock rocket Wi-Lan (WIN.TO) has been methodically spinning their patent portfolio into gold.

The CantechLetter interviewed CEO, Jim Skippen just before the announcement of the Wi-LAN's takeover of Mosaid Technologies (MSD.TO).

Then I came to Wi-LAN, which at the time had no revenues, no employees, it only had about twenty patents, it had no cash in the bank and look at where we are today. Almost a billion dollar valuation, two-hundred million in the bank, almost 1500 patents, and 250 companies that have signed licenses. It's a very dramatic Canadian success story. If you listed the top ten Canadian tech companies by market cap, I believe we are number five or six. I think sometimes the media doesn't give us the due that they should, just in terms of how successful we have been in such a short period of time.

If you're curious about Wi-LAN's remarkable growth and patent-licensing, read PART 1 and PART 2 of the Cantech Letter interviews.