Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.SNP Offers Labour Deadly Death Embrace Alliance, Holding England to Ransom, Destroy UK From Within - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold And Silver – Most Widely Used Currency In Western World? Stupidity - Michael_Noonan
3.Election Forecast 2015 - Coalition Economic Recovery vs Labour Collapse - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Election Forecast 2015 - Debates Boost Labour Into Opinion Polls Seats Lead - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Why are Interest Rates So Low? Ben Bernanke, Confused as Ever, Starts His Own Blog to Prove It - Mike_Shedlock
6.Leaders Debate Election 2015 - Natalie Bennett Green Party Convincing Anti-Austerity More Debt Argument - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Labour Economic Collapse vs Coalition Recovery - UK Election Forecast 2015 - Video - Nadeem_Walayat
8.China’s Stock Market Mania; How High can Red-chips Fly? - Gary_Dorsch
9.Gold and Misery, Strange Bedfellows - 31st Mar 15 - Dan_Norcini
10.Ed Miliband Debate Election 2015 Analysis - Labour Spending, Debt and Economic Collapse - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 5 days
Greece: Down and Probably Out - 27th Apr 15
Biotech Stocks and the Power of Context - 27th Apr 15
Strawberry Picking Undervalued Gold Stocks - 27th Apr 15
Rock-Paper-Silver - 27th Apr 15
Gold Flows East - China, India Import Massive Quantities of Gold from Switzerland - 27th Apr 15
Conservatives Start to Pull Away from Labour in Opinion Polls, But is it too Late? Election Forecast 2015 - 27th Apr 15
Gold and Silver - It's ALL about The Big Picture After All - 27th Apr 15
Sheffield School Places Election Crisis - Affluent Schools Demand Increase in Funding - 27th Apr 15
Labour Bribes Voters With Housing Market Stamp Duty Cut and Rent Controls - 27th Apr 15
Stock Market SPX Index at Resistance - 27th Apr 15
Society's Leaders Have Been Digging a Bottomless Economic Pit - 27th Apr 15
Impending Stock Market Top - Trend Forecast Summer 2015 - 26th Apr 15
Desperate Stock Market Bubble Thinking Takes Hold on Wall Street - 26th Apr 15
Stock Market Back into The Bear Suits - 26th Apr 15
One Stock Market Where You Haven't Missed the Bull Market Boom Yet - 26th Apr 15
Migrant Crisis - Europe Has Completely Lost It - 26th Apr 15
What Obama's First-Ever Energy Review Missed - 26th Apr 15
Sheffield Hallam Election Battle 2015, School Places Crisis, Can Nick Clegg Win? - 26th Apr 15
Stocks Bull Market Looks to Resume - 25th Apr 15
Gold And Silver - The U.S. Is A Corporation. Precious Metals Stand In The Way - 25th Apr 15
When the Nuclear Money Option Fails - 25th Apr 15
The War on Cash Special Report - 25th Apr 15
China Economic Slowdown Story - Why “Didi Dache” Is a Phrase You Need to Know - 25th Apr 15
The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic - 25th Apr 15
Stock Splitting Caused the Stock Market Crash - 25th Apr 15
China Stock Market Parabolic Mania’s Global Risk - 24th Apr 15
What Will Happen to You When the U.S. Dollar Collapses? - 24th Apr 15
Why 2 of U.S. Dollar's Recent Bottoms Have 1 Thing In Common - 24th Apr 15
UK Economy Debt Timebomb Will Explode After Election - 24th Apr 15
Are Gold Stocks the Cheapest Ever? - 24th Apr 15
God, the Stock Market and Pascal's Wager - 24th Apr 15
Greedy Insurers Are in for a Nasty Surprise – Positioning You for Big Profits - 24th Apr 15
Four Things Missing From Obama’s First-Ever Energy Review - 24th Apr 15
How to Grow a Regenerative Medicine Industry - 23rd Apr 15
Stocks and Bonds Seven Year of Negative Returns; Fraudulent Promises - 23rd Apr 15
The Existential Danger To The Euro Is Elections - 23rd Apr 15
Stock Market No Clear Direction As Investors React To Quarterly Earnings Releases - 23rd Apr 15
Is China The Next United States? - 23rd Apr 15
U.S. Oil Glut: How High Can It Go? - 23rd Apr 15
Distorted Financial System Expect Deflation, Inflation And Hyperinflation - 23rd Apr 15
What McDonald’s Corporate Earnings Report Is Really Telling You - 23rd Apr 15
Gold Price Forecast to Become Priceless - 23rd Apr 15
FDIC Plots a Bank Heist Involving YOUR Accounts - 23rd Apr 15
$GOLD Price Year 2007 Again - 23rd Apr 15
Stocks Bubble - The Spread between Stock Prices and GDP is Blowing Out - 23rd Apr 15
Ukraine War - When Did We All Become Murderers? - 23rd Apr 15
Libya Crisis - EU Leaders Are Indicted for Nazi-Style Crimes against Humanity - 22nd Apr 15
Why Alternative Energy Isn’t Taking It on the Chin Despite Low Oil Prices - 22nd Apr 15
Bill Gross - German 10-Year Bunds Short of a Life Time - 22nd Apr 15
How to Profit from the Drop in the Oil Price - 22nd Apr 15
The U.S. Dollar's Move Is More Dangerous than You Think - 22nd Apr 15
Apple Watch Means Apple Will Become Worlds First $1 Trillion Stock - 22nd Apr 15
Half a Stocks Bubble Off Dead Center - 22nd Apr 15
They Said Go to College - Learning to become Debt Slaves - 22nd Apr 15
Best Cash ISA 2015/16, Instant and Fixed Savings Interest Rates, New Flexible Withdrawal / Deposit Rule - 22nd Apr 15
Unsound Banking: Why Most of the World's Banks Are Headed for Collapse - 21st Apr 15
Bitcoin Recent Low Price Volatility Might Be Deceptive - 21st Apr 15
Currency Wars Back As Russia Buys Gold - One Million Ounces in March Alone - 21st Apr 15
The Greece 'Grexit' Issue and the Problem of Free Trade - 21st Apr 15
Why Europe Lets People Drown - 21st Apr 15
Wealth Destruction for the 99.9 Percent - 21st Apr 15
SNP Publish England's Suicide Note as Pollsters Still Forecast Labour-SNP Election Disaster - 21st Apr 15
Characteristics of Extremely Over-Indebted Economies - 21st Apr 15
Trader Education Week -- a Free Event to Help You Learn to Spot Trading Opportunities - 21st Apr 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The War on Cash!

The Secret to Apple's Patent Wars

Companies / Tech Stocks Jun 04, 2012 - 08:33 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Companies

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleDavid Zeiler writes: In a single stroke, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) could gain the upper hand in its seemingly endless patent wars with Samsung Electronics (PINK: SSNLF) and others.

Or the tech giant could blow its chance and wind up paying billions of dollars in licensing fees.


The outcome hinges on how Apple deals with a little-known company based in Sweden.

This micro-cap just happened to file a patent for the "swipe-to-unlock" touchscreen gesture in 2002 - three years before Apple filed its patent.

The company, Neonode (Nasdaq: NEON), received its U.S. patent in January.

Neonode holds a number of touchscreen-related patents that could become decisive in several of Apple's mobile computing patent cases.

Already the "swipe-to-unlock" patent helped Samsung defeat Apple in a recent patent case in the Netherlands. Samsung said the patent, as well as a phone Neonode released in 2005, represented "prior art."

"Apple just shot itself in the foot and all the blood is going to go to NEON," Jim Altucher, managing director of Formula Capital and well-known investor, wrote in a blog post Tuesday evening.

Insiders told The Wall Street Journal in April that Samsung plans to use the Neonode patent in a similar but much more crucial case in San Jose, CA, scheduled for a July trial.

And Altucher added a scarier prospect for Apple.

If Neonode does indeed hold the patent trump card for "swipe-to-unlock," it could gun for a cut of Apple's profits by filing its own patent case.

Should Apple be forced to fork over licensing fees to Neonode, it could cost the Cupertino, CA, company billions of dollars a year.

So far all this sounds like a big mess for AAPL and a big opportunity for its patent war rivals. Not just Samsung, but also for such titans as Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT).

Yet if Apple acts boldly, it could gain a crucial advantage on its mobile computing competitors.

How Apple Can Win the Patent Wars
What could Apple do? Well, it could consider a licensing agreement with Neonode.

Neonode's head of IP, Yossi Shain, told TechCrunch in February it was seeking licensing deals for the "swipe-to-unlock" patent and planned to contact Apple.

But the truth is such a deal would be of limited benefit to Apple. Neonode's business model is to make non-exclusive licensing agreements for its technology, so Android device makers would have equal access to the same patents.

Without exclusive control of those key patents, many of Apple's patent cases would crumble. That's what happened in the Netherlands.

So Apple needs to buy Neonode, and the sooner the better. Not only would that avoid the need to pay Neonode, it would strengthen Apple's hand in the patent wars.

Apple can easily afford NEON, even at a steep premium. Neonode stock currently trades at about $6 with a market cap just under $200 million.

And because Neonode is based outside the U.S., Apple could use some of its $74 billion in foreign-based cash to pay for it. With that kind of money, Apple could pay 10 times Neonode's valuation - about $2 billion - and hardly miss it.

In any event, buying NEON would almost certainly be cheaper than paying it licensing fees.

But most importantly, Apple needs to buy Neonode to prevent its rivals from snatching those key patents. Microsoft, Google and Samsung - each well-heeled in its own right -- would love to have them.

"One of these companies is going to have to buy NEON to get a hold of the original patents," Altucher wrote. "Not only did NEON patent the swipe-to-unlock but they patented many of the touch-sense technologies we use on tablet devices."

What the Neonode Patents Mean For Investors
For investors, the Neonode situation raises a caution flag on Apple. Should Google or Samsung snap up Neonode, the balance of power in the patent wars will shift away from Apple in a major way.

It's hard to predict just how much harm that would do to Apple's business. But the company uses those touchscreen patents in its iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch products, which together generate more than three-fourths of Apple's revenue.

Far more interesting is what this development means for tiny Neonode.

In his blog post, Altucher contends that Apple's dire position relative to the Neonode patents is "more than enough to drive NEON to $30."

Not surprisingly, Altucher's post pushed the stock up 28% in Wednesday trading.

But an acquisition is not all NEON has going for it. Neonode already has e-reader patent licensing deals with such companies as Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN), Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) and Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS).

And in April Neonode announced 17 design wins where the company helped customers integrate its technology with their products. Altucher suspects some of these undisclosed products may include household appliances and auto touch panels.

Earnings for the March quarter were a mixed bag. Revenue rose 100%, while the cost of that revenue rose 61% and Neonode posted a loss of 5 cents a share.

But guidance was positive, with the company forecasting revenue of $18 million-$20 million. Revenue for the March quarter was $1.2 million.

While Neonode's prospects look tempting, particularly if it can execute, investors should note that its small market cap and low float do make it more risky and volatile.

In addition, NEON only just started trading on the NASDAQ May 1; before that it was an OTC stock. It's also worth noting that Neonode's phone-making arm declared bankruptcy in 2008.

Nevertheless, Altucher, who owns Neonode stock, accentuated the positive in his piece.

"A competitive technology can always be developed, but NEON has the significant advantage of having patents, clients in every sector, and having been through the multi-year cycles to get these design wins," he wrote.

Source :http://moneymorning.com/2012/06/04/apples-nasdaq-aapl-patent-wars-this-little-known-swedish-company-is-the-key/

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2011 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investent advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2015 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014