Sam Zellner, AT&T’s point man for patent portfolio development and monetization, was caught in a bind. With 5,000 issued and pending wireless patents under his charge, Zellner’s job was first of all to make sure that AT&T’s wireless portfolio—rated No. 2 in patent quality in the telecom sector by the Patent Board—was aligned with its business goals and adequately protected the company’s products and services. But his job also included identifying which of his wireless patents were most valuable and then directing these for use in one of four ways:

• Could the patent be mapped to a standard and submitted to a pool?

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