Value! When many companies enter bankruptcy and are eventually liquidated, often times the intellectual property has more value than the rest of the company’s assets. Two prominent examples popped up last week.
First, the trademarks and logos of bankrupt children’s apparel retailer Rugged Bear were purchased at auction by private equity firm TRB Acquisitions LLC. TRB hopes to build a $100 million retail brand in 5 years by licensing the name and logos to children’s clothing manufacturers to in turn sell those products to major retailers nationwide.
The second (and more significant) example was Google’s bid to purchase the more than 6,000 patents and patent applications of Nortel Network’s wireless technology for a whopping $900 million. Nortel filed for bankruptcy in January 2009. Google hopes to purchase the intellectual property as a means to avoid or fight future costly patent litigation with other wireless companies over its Android mobile phone software.
This morning, rumors are circulating that RIM, the maker of Blackberry, will try to top Google’s offer for the Nortel patents. There are other potential bidders as well including Chinese telecom network company ZTE, Ericsson, which bought most of Nortel’s wireless operations, and RPX, which licences patents on behalf of member clients for a fee.