So much for stereotypes. If we’re to believe WiLAN (TSX:WIN) CEO Jim Skippen, we can toss aside any images we may have of a swarm of patent trolls in matching three piece suits prowling the streets of Ottawa, the city in which WiLAN has become the largest tech company in terms of market cap.
“We do have a lot of lawyers, it’s true” said Skippen, who was speaking at the M Partners Annual Technology and Communications Investor Conference at The Royal York Hotel in Toronto last week. “But if you look at the makeup of our company we have a lot more engineers and PhD’s than lawyers” said Skippen “That’s because this is a very technically intensive pursuit”.
Skippen went on to highlight recent hires at WiLAN, which recently made headline business news in Canada for its $480 million attempted hostile takeover of local rival, and former Skippen employer, Mosaid (TSX:MSD). The board of Mosaid has since rejected the bid, calling WiLAN’s bid of $38 per share “highly opportunistic”.
Skippen, meanwhile, didn’t completely shut the door when one conference attendee asked about the possibility of a merger between the two patent powerhouses. At the end of the day, he said, it would simply be better if the two companies were one, because in the world of patent enforcement “bigger is better”.
Skippen’s theme of efficiency led him to point out that WiLAN is near the top in Canadian techs in terms of revenue per employee, likely citing this recent Cantech Letter survey. He then made note of some of his key recent hires, many of whom haven’t passed the bar, and aren’t looking to.
Matt Pasulka, who joined WiLAN in July has passed the bar, but the former Marine and West Point grad also has two engineering degrees, said Skippen.
“He needs that type of military background” the WiLAN boss pointed out. “His main job is running our litigations”