What would you consider ARM Holdings? They don't make anything, either, they just employ a bunch of engineers to design and come up with CPU solutions for various problems (using the ARM architecture, obviously). And, of course, they patent their designs and then let approved licensors fab their designs (with and without approved modifications). Honestly, I'd say that ARM is the type of NPE that's "doing it right". Not only are they protecting their patents, but they are steadily trying to improve the state of the art and continuing to push forward. I think the key difference is, you can *buy* a Qualcomm branded chip (I've got a snapdragon in one of my phones, for instance). However, you're most likely never going to be able to buy an ARM Holdings chip, even though it's their designs (many of which Qualcomm uses and modifies). It's a subtle difference, but it does change the frame of the question.
Now, trying to compare guys who think they patented, I dunno, hypertext 7 years after the fact, that's absurd. :/