Lost in the lay press coverage of Microsoft’s purchase of 800 AOL patents is the PR battle that waged between valuation shops with widely disparate conclusions of value.
Early on, at the request of a major shareholder, IPNav determined that AOL might realize up to $1.3M per patent for the package. (For perspective, recall that the Nortel package that started this mind-boggling buying frenzy went for approximately $750,000 per patent.)
The IPNav valuation was criticized, and others predicted the AOL package would ultimately fetch no more than a third of the IPNav number. As stated in IPBlog yesterday, a strategic buyer in an auction setting drove the price to the high levels reached. (Microsoft had to be the target buyer here, as their patents reference the AOL patents over 1,000 times.) IPNav executives must be smiling.