Headquarters: Beijing, China; Morrisville, United States
Industry sector: Computer hardware
Lenovo’s IP strategy has been predicated on a string of strategic acquisitions that have enabled the business to expand its product offering and gain access to new markets at lightning speed. The standout deal to date was its purchase of IBM’s PC business in 2005 – a coup which won the Chinese computer hardware manufacturer IBM’s formidable patent portfolio, its ThinkPad trademark and key global resources. Lenovo has since garnered praise for its ability to integrate and manage these assets with its own systems, to great effect. The company’s respect for IP rights has also earned it plaudits: in March 2013 it became one of the first Chinese PC manufacturers to sign an agreement with Microsoft to ensure that the Windows operating system is pre-installed on all of its computers made in China, in a bid to crack down on software piracy. Lenovo’s two-pronged IP strategy involving organic growth and acquisitions has seen it rise to become the world’s leading personal computer vendor and – since closing a $2.9 billion deal with Google earlier this year for Motorola Mobility’s operating business and licences to its patent portfolio – it is now the third largest smartphone maker too.