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AOL maintains rights to use patents after sale

AOL announced today that it has signed a deal to sell more than 800 of its patents o Microsoft. Microsoft is also licensing 300 additional patents and patent applications from AOL. The deal will cost Microsoft $1.056 billion in cash and the 300 patents that Microsoft is licensing are on a non-exclusive basis.
 
The patents that AOL is holding onto, but licensed to Microsoft, include some that span core strategic technology such as advertising, search, content generation management, social networking, mapping, multimedia and streaming, and security among others. AOL also maintains the license to use technology covered in patents that it sold to Microsoft.
 
“The agreement with Microsoft represents the culmination of a robust auction process for our patent portfolio,” said Tim Armstrong, AOL’s Chairman and CEO. “We continue to hold a valuable patent portfolio as highlighted by the license we entered into with Microsoft. The combined sale and licensing arrangement unlocks current dollar value for our shareholders and enables AOL to continue to aggressively execute on our strategy to create long-term shareholder value.”
 
AOL points out the sale of patents included the sale of stock in AOL subsidiary company and that it expects to record a capital loss for tax purposes as a result of the sale. AOL also noted that it plans to use about $40 million in existing deferred tax assets offset any ordinary income taxes resulting from the licensing of its patent portfolio. That $40 million is about 20% of AOL's total deferred tax assets.
 
“This is a valuable portfolio that we have been following for years and analyzing in detail for several months,” said Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft. “AOL ran a competitive auction and by participating, Microsoft was able to achieve our two primary goals: obtaining a durable license to the full AOL portfolio and ownership of certain patents that complement our existing portfolio.”
 
AOL and Microsoft expect the transaction to be completed by the end of 2012. The purchase is contingent on typical conditions and regulatory approvals.

Source: AOL





“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls



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