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HP: More profits from patents

Hewlett-Packard confirms it is putting its intellectual property under one roof as a first step toward generating more revenue and profit from patents.

Hewlett-Packard intends to generate more money from its patents, although the company is not ready to say just how much it expects to squeeze out of its portfolio of intellectual property.

In an interview Tuesday, chief financial officer Bob Wayman confirmed that the company's move to put its intellectual property under one roof is the first step in an effort to create additional revenue and profit. The move to consolidate the patent portfolio under Chief Technology Officer Shane Robison was first reported Monday by CNET News.com.

Wayman declined to comment on the amount of money HP thinks it might be able to earn from licensing and other activities.

"We have an increased emphasis on patents," he said. "We also now have an internal effort to increase the earnings power of the patents. I won't say any more."

A source familiar with the company's plans had previously said that the company hopes to eventually generate hundreds of millions of dollars from its IP portfolio. HP hopes to form a division or business unit around these licensing efforts within a year, the source said.

Rival IBM generates roughly $1 billion a year from licensing its technology, although experts say IBM has a much broader and deeper array of technology.

Last year, HP ranked ninth among companies receiving patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the first time it has ranked in the top 10. It was issued 1,385 U.S. patents, a 40 percent increase from the previous year. Compaq Computer, which HP acquired last year, accounted for roughly 25 percent of those patents.