This sale validates the notion that patents will be a fundamental tool in the tech industry. They had been moving toward that position for years, but the magnitude of Nortel’s sale shows that they have arrived. Patents virtually define the pharmaceutical and biotech markets, and in the future they could play the same role for tech.
What’s next? The history of mergers and acquisitions suggests one possibility. Once upon a time in the clubby atmosphere of corporate America, hostile takeovers were rare; gentlemen just didn’t do such things. Then, in the 1960s, the hostile takeovers came to be accepted as a legitimate business tool. Similarly, the strategic use of patents now appears to be accepted in the technology industry. If that’s true, then Nortel is just the beginning.
That’s from Nathan Myhrvold, throwing down a guantlet. This will not please the anti-IP crowd. Things in tech world are about to get a lot more interesting.