Verisign evaluating how to make money from its patent portfolio.
Competing domain registries, watch out.
Much of yesterday’s Verisign investor conference call was focus on patents and Verisign figuring out how to profit from them.
While saying it was too early to talk specifics, Verisign CEO James Bidzos said the company has many options.
We have a large number of patents — a portion of our patents read directly on registry operations so we think that there are some things that are certainly worth looking at there. The 2 primary ways, one would be to license the patents and generate royalty revenue. Having been in a business before that — where patents were a great asset, I can tell you from experience that a much-more attractive way is to use the patents if possible to leverage a business strategy so that would be the preferred method but certainly, behind that, royalty revenue would be another way to do it
Scott Kessler with S&P Equity Research pressed Bidzos for more detail. He pointed out a specific patent example:
“For example, I think I saw recently that you guys were awarded some sort of patent related to automated country code registrations in bulk.”
(He read that on Domain Name Wire.)
He brought up what I think is a good question:
And I’m also wondering if, especially in light of the Department of Commerce and its involvement in the company, if you have concerns about the possibility that increased let’s say monetization efforts around patents could potentially lead to some type of regulatory issue or concern.
Bidzos doesn’t think this will be a big issue:
There are certainly regulated utilities and other regulated entities that have patents, that monetize patents. I can’t imagine that would be an issue for us. We’re certainly entitled to exploit our intellectual property and to seek revenue streams where we can find them and we’re certainly motivated to do that given the flat pricing that we’ll have over the next 6 years. So I guess the short answer to your question is I don’t believe that should be any issue at all for us. Intellectual property is a company asset and we’re a public company and it’s our responsibility to exploit those assets for the benefit of the company and its shareholders and we certainly intend to do that. Having said that, patents are an asset for any company; they do help the community.
He might be underestimating the backlash that could come with patent monetization in this industry given his company’s position. That said, with a six year extension in hand for the .com contract, now would be a good time for the company to play its cards in the patent game.