Selling Patents

by Dennis Crouch

The folks at IP Offerings have released a summary of publicly available US patent sales from 2012. The 35 transactions on the list included 6,985 patents assigned at a total value of $2.9 billion.  The average price per patent was $422 thousand with a median of $221 thousand.  IP Offerings also reports that the average transaction price is $374 thousand per patent. 

It is nice to have these numbers, but the reality is that the vast majority of patent sales (and licenses) are done out of the public eye and without distributing any public information regarding price or terms.  It is hard to know whether these numbers are typical.

ht: IP Watch

About Dennis Crouch

Law Professor at the University of Missouri School of Law. Co-director of the Center for Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship.

19 thoughts on “Selling Patents

  1. patents typically are worth less than $10,000.

    That’s almost certainly true, considering that the typical patent never gets practiced at all during its lifetime.

    Of course, the “typical” patent doesn’t get sold. Only the good patents, or the patents in good portfolios, get sold. Those are the ones people want to buy, and they’re the ones people pay a lot of money per patent for.

    It’s like baseball cards. The typical one is basically worthless, but all the ones you see people buying or selling are quite valuable. Is it a good bet to buy an unopened pack? Probably not, but people do because they think/hope they’ll fare better than “typical”.

  2. “The data don’t seem out of line to R. Polk Wagner, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He said that other research has established that patents typically are worth less than $10,000. “It’s not any secret that on a cash basis, it doesn’t make sense to file patents, and yet companies do it,” Mr. Wagner said.”

    link to

  3. Hmm. Responded 5 mins ago to Dennis Crouch, saw my response on this page, but now it seems to be gone when I refresh the page.

    I responded — One patent has issued, and a 2nd is about to allow, I think. I should go check PAIR to see if the 2nd is already allowed.

  4. Maybe we should change the way we universally treat personal property

    That’s very reasonble because we all grew up understanding that patent rights are the most intimate and cherished of all personal property rights in our once great country.

    Never forget: in Russia, patent assigns YOU!

    This message brought to you by the Great Usurper with additional funding from Lord Soros.

  5. Billions of dollars for software patents. Who would have thought?

    Economic bubbles created by speculators at the Great Patent Casino? Who would have thought?

  6. Question: In an infringement dispute, am I bound by my first argument, which said that the prior art did NOT induce the effect?

    Under the facts you presented, I don’t see why that would be the case. If you recanted, as you say you did, and the claims were allowed over agreed-upon facts (and not as a result of your recanted position) then I don’t see why you would be bound.

    Of course, a defendant in litigation is going to argue anything and everything that potentially works in their favor. If it’s in their favor to try to “bind you” to your recanted position, they will try to do that. That’s why a non-existent prosecution history is quite often the best prosecution history. 😉

    Good luck!

  7. I don’t see a problem here. What the inventor tells about prior art has not the same impact as what he tells about his invention and the scope of the patent. The inventor may misinterpret a document without be punished.

    in Item 1) did you tell something about the invention that you regret now?

  8. Is it ok to ask a question here? Hope so. Sorry if out of order.

    Is reversal of Prosecution Disclaimer possible?


    1) I argue to examiner that my claimed method induces an effect upon a product, and that the prior art cited against my claim does NOT induce that effect.

    2) The examiner rejects my claim for multiple reasons, also insisting that the cited prior art DOES induce the effect on the product.

    3) I am eventually persuaded by the examiner, and begin to argue that, yes, the prior art does in fact induce the effect. I also argue that the claim is still allowable.

    4) The examiner allows the claim.

    Question: In an infringement dispute, am I bound by my first argument, which said that the prior art did NOT induce the effect? Or, can an applicant change his mind during prosecution, agree with examiner, and thus wind up reversing an earlier prosecution disclaimer?

  9. Maybe we should change the way we universally treat personal property (which patents are, by law), so that anything and everything is catalogued with the (nanny) State and anyone and everyone can know what is going on…?

    Who wants to sign up first?

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