Now Borders’ value may be in its IP

Walked into a Borders recently? Liquidators are busy wholesaling everything. Those proceeds may yield a fraction of what Borders executives reportedly plan to gain in an auction of the company’s intellectual property, including the website, on Sept. 14.

In court papers filed Wednesday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, the company proposed to sell off the right to use Borders’s logo, its trademarks, customer membership lists and other intangible property, hopefully following the footsteps of retailers Circuit City and Linen ‘n Things, and restaurant/landmark Tavern on the Green.

Interestingly, the Borders filing calls for “expense reimbursement” for a stalking horse bidder, in effect buying that bid. Undoubtedly the ill-advised Google stalking horse bid in the Nortel patent auction has made this strategy a no-brainer, as it turned what analysts thought to be no more than a $1B patent sale into a $4.5B bonanza.