Pomen vrednosti neopredmetenega kapitala – primer družbe Blackberry

Ob bok komentarju o neustrezno ovrednotenih neopredmetenih osnovnih sredstvih v slovenskih podjetjih, ki sta ga pripravila Andrej Mertelj in Andreja Jenko, je zanimiv tudi pogled na primere v tujini. Nedavno je tretja največja kanadska banka Scotiabank podvojila vrednost, po kateri vrednosti patente družbe Blackberry (do nedavnega imenovane RIM). To se je zgodilo po objavi US Patent 100Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) magazinu (štev. 58, 2013), kjer so bile ocenjene vrednosti patentov v prvih 100 družbah z največjo vrednostjo patentov. Blackberry je bil na tej lestvici uvrščen na 82. mesto, toda hkrati je bil uvrščen med 14 družb z izjemnimi patenti (stand-out patent portfolio). To je navedlo finančne analitike banke, da prevrednotijo dosedanje konzervativne ocene vrednosti portfelja patentov družbe Blackberry – iz 1.2 na 2.25 milijarde $.

Podrobnejšo razlago razlogov za drugačno vrednotenje patentnega portfelja družbe Blackberry je podal Joff Wild (IAM Magazine):

Patent portfolios remain a key strategic asset in this industry and the stronger the portfolio, all other things being equal, the better for the company. In the past we have been taking a relatively conservative approach to valuing BB’s patent portfolio – placing the value at under $1.2B, which includes the $770M paid for the Nortel patents and the roughly $345M paid for certain patents acquired from Ericsson. However, a recent article in the March/April issue of Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) magazine, has caused us to believe our valuation may be far too conservative. IAM ranked the top 100 US patent holders (BlackBerry ranked #82) but also identified 14 companies with Stand-Out portfolios. These companies were recognized for the size of the portfolio (over 3,400 patents granted) the rate of growth in patents granted (applications), and the rate at which these patents were being cited (Tech Score).

Blackberry was one of those 14. Although Papageorgiou (quite correctly) recognises the risks inherent in valuing any patent portfolio – warning that “although the findings from this relatively extensive analysis provided by IAM and MDB Capital Group points to a much stronger showing for BlackBerry than we would have guessed it does not guarantee these patents have significant commercial value”; and observing that a key Apple patent named in the article had subsequently had all 20 of its claims rejected by the USPTO – he states:

BlackBerry currently holds roughly 7,597 patent grants and applications. To put that into context in 2011 Nortel sold over 6,000 grants and applications for a price of US$4.5B. Again, it is difficult to draw any conclusions on these numbers alone. The Nortel patents went up for sale during a highly litigious period and were the only available extensive patent portfolio at the time – the economic laws of supply and demand worked very much in its favour. However, until this article we had assumed that BlackBerry’s patent portfolio was not really all that strong. This article has challenged that position as it clearly indicates that BlackBerry maintains one of the largest, fastest growing and oft cited patent portfolios in the world. We had been putting a value of roughly $1,139M for BlackBerry’s patents which was simply the value of the acquired Nortel patents ($770M) and the purchased Ericsson patents ($369M). But at this stage we believe that number is far too conservative. If BlackBerry’s patents were only worth half of the Nortel patents (and remember there are more of them at 7,597 vs. roughly 6,000) that would put the value at $2.25B, over twice the value we had estimated.

The reason we teamed-up with Erin-Michael and MDB Capital Group on the US Patent 100 is that we looked at the research they had done and were very impressed by it. Although in the end any project like this is going to be based on methodologies that will always have a level of subjectivity in what they decide to leave in and out, Gill and his colleagues had clearly put a lot of resource, in terms of both time and money, into their work; while, very importantly, they were not making outlandish and exaggerated claims about what it showed. Instead, their approach was sober, level-headed and non-sensationalist (and, no, we do not have any kind of commercial relationship with them!). Thus, it is not a huge surprise to me that banks and others will look at the US Patent 100 and believe that it has a great deal of credibility: it does.

It is noteworthy that analysts at major financial institutions are now beginning to look more carefully at companies’ patent portfolios and, presumably, other IP/IC assets when they are making assessments. Given how important an asset IP is, and the coverage it has received over the last couple of years, they should be doing so – but it is still good to see proof that it is happening. And the more it does, the more mainstream an investment and business issue IP will become.

Joff Wild, IAM Magazine, 21. februar 2013

Ocena vrednosti patentnega portfelja družbe Blackeberry z dne 7. februarja 2013, ki jo je naredil analitik Scotiabank Gus Papageorgiou, je dosegljiva tukaj.

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