In the technology industry, intellectual property rights can be lucrative. This is evident from the success of the biggest tech companies, and from how often they face lawsuits from patent assertion entities. It's recently been reported that one of the giants will be selling its mobile patent portfolio.
HP, which has seen declining profits as the PC market wanes, is seriously considering selling the mobile patents it still holds. The company holds quite a few mobile patents, many related to the WebOS mobile platform it obtained when it bought Palm several years ago. While LG uses WebOS, this is under a licensing agreement rather than due to their having purchased the patents outright. Some theorize that LG would be the natural buyer for these patents, as it is already using them under license. However, no deals have yet been confirmed, though company insiders say HP has approached several organizations to gauge their interest in purchasing these intellectual property rights.
This sale, and others like it, points to the realities of a market in which intellectual property is often worth more than actual products. The overwhelming importance of a strong patent portfolio is reflected as much in its standalone value as an asset class as in its deployment in a product line.