GoPro shares tanked 12% Tuesday after it was reported that Apple got a new patent for a GoPro-like digital video camera.
The press attention seemingly caused GoPro investors to panic and sell.
Now for a reality check.
Apple files zillions of patents all the time. Almost none of them result in actual products.
Patents are usually nothing more than pieces of paper until there’s a battle with another company. Then, everybody gathers their patents up, engages in some horse trading, and pays for patent cross-licenses where necessary. They’re also a useful defence against patent “trolls” — companies that make no product, but simply collect patents and use them to sue other companies.
Apple files crazy patents all the time.
- These “Minority Report” gesture controls for your computer.
- iPhones and iPads made of all glass.
- A flexible iPhone.
- An iPad case that can also display notifications.
- And so on…
Just because Apple files a patent for something does not mean that a product or feature is imminent. Maybe Apple’s working on a remote-controllable high-def camera, maybe not. Maybe it will come out this year, or maybe in 2018, or maybe never. Nobody outside of Apple has any idea.
So if GoPro investors really sold the stock off simply because of this patent filing, they’re not very smart.