Spring training may have just wound down, but Ottawa’s Mosaid already appears to be in mid-season form. Last week, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor. The agreement calls for Hynix to take a six-year license to Mosaid’s patents, with fixed equal quarterly payments over the term.
Mosaid, which can date its history back to 1975, was once best known for its key circuit technology, an innovation used in the memory of most of the world’s computers. It wasn’t until 2007, however, that the Ottawa company went virtual and decided to get out of the memory test equipment manufacturing and semiconductor IP design and focus on defending its now impressive stable of patents, which it had begun to license in 2009.
The first patent license agreements the company signed were known as “lives of patents” which, as the name suggests, are valid for the entire period the patent is enforceable. The move to term licenses is more recent. MOSAID signed its first term license in 2003, and now has several of these agreements that range in duration from five to ten years.
The first opportunity for MOSAID to sign a new term license with the same company came in 2007, when they renewed with Winbond Electronics. This was followed by NXP Semiconductors in 2009, Samsung and Nanya Technology in 2010, and now Hynix. All Mosaid’s term license agreements are for the company’s semiconductor memory patents, which it considers the core of its patent portfolio. The company is now five for five in term-license renewals.
Managing a patent portfolio can be a bit of tricky stickhandling. As CEO John Lindgren told Cantech Letter this past January, the business is “time-consuming, complex and expensive to properly maintain patents in patent offices around the world, and if not done correctly, can seriously jeopardize both the technical validity and potential monetary value of your patents.”
Mosaid’s recent term license renewals, in particular the Samsung agreement which was the company’s first “renewal” of a term license with a major multinational, have investors applauding. Shares of Mosaid are nearing levels not seen since the dot-com days. In late 2008, shares of Mosaid could be had for as little as $7.45. On April 5th, the stock closed at $33.
For Cantech Letter’s recent interview with Mosaid boss John Lindgren CLICK HERE.
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