By Mobile Guru
Investors can learn a lot from the past. Some might remember a company called Acacia Resources (ACTG). It wasn’t long ago that investors could buy this company’s stock at just around $2 in early 2009. Fortunes have been made as astute investors took advantage of discount prices knowing intellectual property would soon prove to be a modern day currency leveraged by all the top technology titans. As IP became more relevant and valuable, so have shares of Acacia reaching highs in the $50 range where they now find themselves at approximately $27.50.
This brings me to Marathon Patent Group (MARA) , a newly formed IP company investors would be well served to pay close attention to as I believe it has the potential to not only follow closely in Acacia’s footsteps, but they may be uniquely capable of leveling the entire IP field, setting an entire new standard for the space.
MPG recently announced the naming of patent monetization veteran Doug Croxall as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. Mr. Croxall was previously the founder and CEO of LVL Patent Group. Mr. Croxall has spent nearly the last decade focused on preserving and enforcing patent holders rights, not limited to the successful prosecution, licensing and monetization of certain intellectual property assets.
The company describes itself as an intellectual property (“IP”) company that serves patent owners ranging from individual inventors to Fortune 500 corporations. Their IP services team devises strategies that allow their clients to maximize the value of their IP assets. In addition to generating revenues through IP consulting engagements, Marathon also partners with inventors and patent owners to monetize patent portfolios through IP licensing campaigns. Their objective is to provide a focused and comprehensive set of IP services that range from analysis of existing IP assets, idea creation, development, prosecution, commercialization, to licensing and enforcement. Marathon provides their clients proprietary analytics, IP valuation methods, partnering opportunities, infringement tracking, patent analysis, strategies, tactics, enforcement, and reporting among other services.
Acacia and other patent holding companies commonly referred to as NPE’s “Non Practicing Entities”, have typically generated revenues via the licensing of patents they have acquired from others. This is where MPG breaks from the norm not limiting itself to just a single revenue vertical.
They are uniquely serving a well underserved market which includes patent owners that lack the financial resources to independently protect their patent rights, something larger companies have often preyed upon in their willful infringement of certain IP owned by these smaller companies.
Two recent news announcements set the stage for possible strong growth in the future. Just today the company announced the following,
“Marathon Patent Group, Inc., an Intellectual Property services and monetization company, announced today that it has established a new IP Research and Services Center at the University of Arizona Science & Technology Park in Tucson, Arizona. The center is expected to generate revenues from IP consulting services, facilitate licensing clients, and provide IP licensing support to operating businesses with significant IP assets.
The IP Research and Services Center will be headed by Nathaniel Bradley, an accomplished inventor and IP strategist. Joining Mr. Bradley is a team of engineers, inventors, and research specialists. In addition to Mr. Bradley, who will serve as Marathon’s Chief Technology Officer & President of IP Services, joining MPG are James Crawford, Chief Operating Officer of Marathon, and Douglas Bender, who assumes the role of MPG’s Vice President of Engineering.”
Last week the company telegraphed some very powerful news when it announced it had entered into a strategic relationship with renowned patent attorney Erich Spangenberg’s IPNav, Founded in 2003, IPNav’s full-service patent monetization offering is a unique turnkey solution for patent owners seeking to maximize the value of their IP. IPNav has generated over half a billion dollars in direct licensing revenue and cash settlements for its clients. IPNav’s clients and transaction partners include a large and diverse group of Global 500 corporations, universities, non-profit organizations, and a European government agency.
While pure IP monetization plays like Virnetx (VHC) and Vringo (VRNG) have recently shown investors the huge potential rewards with litigating company owned IP, MPG brings multiple potential verticals into play. MPG will be litigating its own IP, providing IP services to outside companies and also partnering with third party companies looking to monetize IP. Combining these potential lucrative verticals along with its recently announced relationship with Erich Spagenberg’s IPNav company could provide plenty of fireworks in future months as investors learn about this new IP play. Also of interest a recent 13G filing disclosed a 7.94% stake in MPG by Hudson Bay Capital Management. Hudson Bay was also a very early investor in Vringo.
The following is a guest post by fellow investor mobile guru, whose interest lie within the mobile revolution, start-ups & IPO’s, and intellectual property.