In this article, originally published in IAM Magazine in June 2019, we look at how Alice has influenced the secondary patent market. You can download the full article in PDF here: 19-016 The Surprising Impact of Alice on the Patent Markets – 20190701
The US Supreme Court Alice decision was supposed to be the end of business process patents. Additionally, we all thought it heavily impacted software patents. Enormous resources were expended trying to evaluate our Alice risk across large portfolios. Anecdotally, at the time, some of our clients reported that 30-40% of their patent portfolio had been wiped out. The US patent office has issued multiple rule interpretations on patent examination practice in light of Alice.
So what happened to the brokered patent market? One would naturally think that software related in business process patents had cratered. Prices to the extent that you could even sell a patent in the impacted by Alice, would be so low that they were not even worth selling. This was our initial intuition. When we spoke to people in the industry, such a devaluation was their expectation. But this is why we do data analysis: because, ultimately, Alice did not have the impact that we would have expected.