And after looking through some of Kleiner Perkins most recent investments, I think they may have found another future success story in RPX Corp. (Nasdaq: RPXC)
, or "Rational Patent."
Rational patent is ultimately a response to the growing trend of patent litigation. If you follow financial news, then you're likely aware of how important having access to the right patents has become, especially for tech companies.
In fact, the need for patents led Google to buy out telecommunications giant Motorola for a whopping $12.5 billion in 2011. By purchasing the telecomm leader, Google gained access to Motorola's roughly 25,000 patents.
All-in-all, in 2010, a total of 2,727 patent lawsuits were filed, according to Rational Patent. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, another 918 hit the courts, which works out to annualized growth of 35% in one year. It's a messy business with an extreme amount of risk.
Companies with patent concerns can manage this risk by buying a membership in Rational Patent.
RPX holds a portfolio of some 1,600 patents -- nearly all of them from marquee names from the high-tech sector -- and clients pay RPXC $60,000 to $6.6 million a year to license all of the patents and thus avoid trampling on anyone else's proprietary technology, whether inadvertently or on purpose.
Rational Patent then uses its revenue to buy more patents, which attracts more members, and so it goes.
There are about 2,500 companies that could benefit from a membership, which gives RPX a huge amount of growth potential. That is reflected in its top line: Revenue is growing at a phenomenal pace.
What's more, happily, the company is profitable and has no long-term debt
. With a market cap
of $640 million and annualized 2011 net earnings
of about $30 million, RPX is trading at 21.3 times earnings
, or roughly equal to the Nasdaq Composite Index
Risk to Consider: Let me warn you though, like any growth stock, investing in Rational Patent carries significant risk, because the company trades as a small-cap, you can expect greater volatility when the market roils.
Action to Take -- >
But, if you're an aggressive investor looking for a stock with big upside potential, then I think Rational Patent could be a smart play.
The patent war has only just begun... And with a firm like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers backing its finances, Rational Patent could be primed to take full advantage of this growing trend.
Author: Andy Obermueller does not hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article. SA: StreetAuthority, LLC does not hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article.