Facebook is a current news driver and stock prices react nervously with unexpected huge moves. What is Facebooks company value? More than the German car manufacturer Daimler AG? What would happen if both of them lost all users or customers and all material assets overnight? What would be left over of "intellectual property"?
Facebook suffered considerably in the past weeks due to its data scandal. It reduced the market value of the company by more than 80 billion Euros - about 10 billion above the market capitalization of Daimler AG, for example. For us an opportunity to take a closer look at the patent portfolio of the two global players. The analysis turned out some amazing facts nobody is supposed to know about:
Facebook own patents worth 1.57 billion Euros! In contrast, the traditional car manufacturer located in Stuttgart owns significantly more patents than Facebook, but their value is estimated to "only" 1.42 billion Euros.
In the past few years, Facebook has mainly acquired and applied patents in the context of highly specialized data processing. Most of the portfolio is covered by patents registered in the class G06F, this includes electrical arrangements or processing means for the performance of any automated operation using empirical data in electronic form. These patents are already around 836 million Euros in value.
Facebook is also relatively strong in terms of wireless communication. These include the radio transmission of digital data and the construction and operation of wireless networks.
What is remarkable: Nearly all patents are not just about software, but also about hardware. Thus, Facebook has obviously plans to offer hardware products in the future. Facebook has already started its first steps in this direction in 2013 with the smartphone "HTC First" and a user interface called "Facebook Home". However, with moderate success.
Is there a new Facebook Phone in plan?
The initial for starting into the own mobile world would presumably be the acquisition of hardware-oriented patents (patent class H04W) in the past years. The value of the patents in that technology field has risen from 3 million Euros to amazing 56 million Euros - a significantly disproportionate growth in comparison to other technology sectors. Compared to the H04W portfolio in 2012, this is an increase of more than 4300 percent. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apparently continues to rely on mobile communications - and may soon present a completely new smartphone.
Highlights could be applications in the field of virtual reality: Facebook acquired two patents owned by VR company Oculus in October and November last year. Here the focus is the recognition of an object in the midst of many other objects, solely through its reflection of light, and, on the other hand, the reconstruction of an only partially recognizable face.
And that Facebook wants to be also on Google's track can be seen in three acquired patents in March this year: From the "Silicon Valley Bank", the company has bought patents for a context-based and interactive search function.