0

What documents contain information about the specific patents a company holds for the sake of investors?

For example, Apple Inc. 10k, states among other things:

The Company currently holds rights to patents and copyrights relating to certain aspects of its iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod devices, peripherals, software and services. The Company has registered or has applied for trademarks and service marks in the U.S. and a number of foreign countries. Although the Company believes the ownership of such patents, copyrights, trademarks and service marks is an important factor in its business and that its success does depend in part on the ownership thereof, the Company relies primarily on the innovative skills, technical competence and marketing abilities of its personnel.

The Company regularly files patent applications to protect innovations arising from its research, development and design, and is currently pursuing thousands of patent applications around the world. Over time, the Company has accumulated a large portfolio of issued patents in the U.S. and worldwide. The Company holds copyrights relating to certain aspects of its products and services. No single patent or copyright is solely responsible for protecting the Company’s products. The Company believes the duration of its patents is adequate relative to the expected lives of its products.

Many of the Company’s products are designed to include intellectual property obtained from third parties. It may be necessary in the future to seek or renew licenses relating to various aspects of its products, processes and services. While the Company has generally been able to obtain such licenses on commercially reasonable terms in the past, there is no guarantee that such licenses could be obtained in the future on reasonable terms or at all. Because of technological changes in the industries in which the Company competes, current extensive patent coverage, and the rapid rate of issuance of new patents, it is possible that certain components of the Company’s products, processes and services may unknowingly infringe existing patents or intellectual property rights of others. From time to time, the Company has been notified that it may be infringing certain patents or other intellectual property rights of third parties.

However, this is all still fairly vague. Is there an IR document that contains a specific list of patents held by the company?

Please Note: I am not interested in Apple stock at all, it is merely an example. I want to know where I can find this information out for any company that has a good financial statement. Say a small pharmaceutical company that might have a few patents, or an energy company with a few patents, or any other company out there.

  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about personal finance or money. – Dilip Sarwate Jun 17 '14 at 13:24
  • 1
    @DilipSarwate A patent is a valuable asset just like real estate so not sure how you find its not about personal finances. You answered "What are my investment options in real-estate?" question. My question at its core is asking where to look for investment options that contain patents. If you want we can take this to Chat or I can make a Meta post. – Ender Jun 17 '14 at 14:02
  • 3
    @DilipSarwate I think that understanding the intangible assets held by a public company is on topic as a question about investing. – Chris W. Rea Jun 17 '14 at 18:13
1

SEC filings do not contain this information, generally. You can find intangible assets on balance sheets, but not as detailed as writing down every asset separately, only aggregated at some level (may be as detailed as specifying "patents" as a separate line, although even that I wouldn't count on).

Companies may hold different rights to different patents in different countries, patents are being granted and expired constantly, and unless this is a pharma industry or a startup - each single patent doesn't have a critical bearing on the company performance.

  • Would it be reasonable to call up IR on a company and ask them directly if their website doesn't say and SEC filings don't specify? Some companies with recent IPO/SPO I was able to find exact patents on their website but others I couldn't. – Ender Jun 17 '14 at 18:23
  • @Ryan I don't know what IR is. Some companies publish the list of their patents, some don't. When IPO is involved, companies are trying to show their "merchandise", that includes the patent portfolio. Not always it is in the company's interest to show off. – littleadv Jun 18 '14 at 6:12
  • IR = Investor Relations. – Ender Jun 18 '14 at 11:36
0

It appears as others have said that companies are not required to state this on as any sort of Asset. I remembered a friend of mine is a lawyer specializing in Intellectual Property Rights so asked him and confirmed that there's no document companies are required to file which states all patent holdings as assets.

There are two ways he suggested for finding out. Once you find a company you're interested in can search patents by company using one of the two following:

US Patent Office website's advanced search:
http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-adv.htm

aanm/company for example entering into the textarea, "aanm/google" without the quotation marks will find patents by Google.

The other is a Google Patent Search:
http://www.google.com/patents/

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.