I see that the Economist online are running an article titled Brilliant Inventor or Patent Troll about Nathan and IV at http://www.economist.com/business-finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15570585
A view. To try to make this simple to understand.
To call Nathan or IV a troll is incredibly simplistic.
IV has built one of the Worlds most sophisticated businesses and it has the potential to have substantial direct and indirect returns for its shareholders. IVs people are amongst the brightest IP and business minds you could wish to find anywhere. And what they have done is combine lots of the smartest and newest ways of creating value from IP into the same entity in a patent and IP play on an absolutely massive scale.
They are an invention house, and have adopted and reinvented leading edge patent strategies to create a portfolio of their own IP which, in its own, would be of high high worth.
In combination they have acquired patents, hard to say how many as they are very private, but lots of patents on an unprecedented scale. Some say they have 30,000 patent families, but it is impossible to know exactly how many. What is believed though is that this number puts them in the Premier league (up there with IBM, Nokia, Qualcomm and others) in terms of IP influence. The buying has not come cheap but they’ve worked hard on starting with buying anything to moving to buying quality.
And along the way they’ve worked hard on their IP reputation. Ask people who know anything and they’d say that if IV breathes in your direction, take a license. Perfect in the US world of IP where licenses are cheaper than litigation so companies like Acacia Research, a genuine troll, can prosper. But they don’t want to see seen to be litigators…that’s bad for reputation so they outsource that part to others who aren’t so bothered about what the outside world thinks of them.
This is IP genius on a scale never seen before and which would be hard to come close to replicating again in a generation given what IV has successfully done. If you imagine or remember one of those days when the idea you had could change the world. Amazingly though almost nobody outside of the IP community and largely outside of the US has a clue that this is going on. Which it has been for 10 years.
The full impact of this is to be seen. What Nathan though appears to realise in his public statements is that all things intangible make up a large and unexplained part of shareholder value. The accountants don’t explain it, shareholders don’t ask about it, most business leaders don’t understand it. It still amazes me that people don’t even ask! IV is playing an arbitrage game; it knows what is valuable and it knows the value to it of what its buying. The sellers do not.
This is grand and to be complimented. It will be hugely successful.