Looks like Microsoft doesn’t need all the patents it recently bought up from AOL. The company is giving Facebook—which continues to shore up its patent portfolio
in preparation for its upcoming IPO—the right to purchase some of its newly acquired patent arsenal for U.S.$550 million, ZDNet reports
Microsoft, which just bought 925 patents from AOL, plus a license for 300 or so more, is now playing the role of middleman. “Today’s agreement with Facebook enables us to recoup over half of our costs while achieving our goals from the AOL auction,” Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said. “As we said earlier this month, we had submitted the winning AOL bid in order to obtain a durable license to the full AOL portfolio and ownership of certain patents that complement our existing portfolio.” The Facebook deal lets Facebook buy 650 patents from the AOL deal, plus a license to the rest.
Yankee Group Research VP Carl Howe comments
“Patents are the ultimate business investment; every time you sell them, they seem to become more valuable. With court cases taking years to get to judgments, mobile device patents guarantee their owners will be taken seriously in business dealings, even if the patents aren’t necessarily relevant or important to the owner’s core business. While patents won’t keep their value forever, they have become the essential currency of our mobile revolution.”