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The Globe and Mail

Wi-LAN buys digital-TV patents for $8-million

Wi-LAN chief executive Jim Skippen.

Jonathan Hayward For The Globe and Mail/jonathan hayward The Globe and Mail

Patent licensing company Wi-LAN Inc. said on Friday it has bought 1,400 digital-television and display patents and applications for patents for $8-million in cash from an unnamed seller.

The Ottawa-based company said the deal boosts its intellectual property portfolio to about 3,000 issued or pending patents.

"Our team has already identified a number of patented inventions in the new portfolio that we believe are relevant to products today," Wi-LAN chief executive Jim Skippen said in a statement.

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The company also said it plans to buy back 5 per cent of its stock by early March.

Wi-LAN walked away from a bid to acquire cross-town rival Mosaid Technologies Inc in October after U.S. private equity firm Sterling Partners topped its $532-million takeover offer.

Both Wi-LAN and Mosaid make money by developing and licensing intellectual property for the communications and consumer electronics markets, where tech majors have paid large sums for patents to use in cross-licensing and as weapons in litigation.

Wi-LAN described the seller as an international consumer-electronics manufacturer that declined to be identified.

The company's shares were up 6 per cent at $5.52 by mid-afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange, after dipping by a similar amount the previous day. The stock is down almost 15 per cent so far this year.

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