Alcatel-Lucent is considering the sale of some of its secondary patents as it seeks to raise revenue following disappointing recent financial results, according to Paul Tufano, the vendor’s chief financial officer.
The vendor already looks to make money out of its patent portfolio through licensing but, in an interview with Bloomberg, Tufano said: "We can look to monetise that portfolio through licensing, through limited sales if those patents aren't part of our core and a few other things."
Alcatel-Lucent announced at the beginning of this year that it was setting up a licensing syndicate for its patents which may generate “several hundred million euros” in 2012. However, mulling the sale of some patents, albeit secondary ones, would be a step further by the company in pursuit of revenue.
The company is hardly alone in seeking to leverage its IP portfolio, a common trend among network – as well as handset – vendors. With its licensing move earlier this year, Alcatel-Lucent was already behind rival Ericsson.
Tufano said the vendor has nearly 30,000 patents and a further 15,000 applications pending, although he did not specify how many of either category might potentially be up for sale.
Also no mention was made about the type of technology that the company might consider non-core and hence possibly suitable for disposal.
Leveraging patent sales is just one tactic deployed by Alcatel-Lucent in its attempted turnaround. There has been speculation it might sell whole business units, such as its submarine cable business. Or adopt tactics such as swapping debt for equity to improve its financial outlook.
And there are job cuts. The company said in July it will cut 5,000 jobs following a major programme of redundancies in 2011. Recent research has said it needs further cuts to stay competitive with rivals.