Patent War

In the technology industry, where the major players have sued and countersued one another for decades, the battle between Nokia and Apple is nevertheless emblematic of the state of the mobile turf wars, writes WSJ.
“Given the amount of money involved, even a fraction of a percent can make a huge different in licensing revenues. With 1.55 billion phones expected to be sold this year the importance of these negotiations cannot be underestimated,” said Ben Wood, head of research at U.K.-based mobile research firm CCS Insight.
As the focus of competition increasingly turns to software and services, it has shifted to what Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has described as a “war of ecosystems” in which the value of patents has taken on even more importance. “Patents play an important role in this war of ecosystems,” Alexander I. Poltorak, CEO of U.S.-based General Patent Corp, said. Nokia’s portfolio of patents has given it a strong position through patent litigation to capture part of the revenue lost to its market competitors, he said.
While Nokia’s latest patent suit against Apple is strategic, Google’s defensive move to acquire Nortel’s patent portfolio of USD900 million is even more so. Though Google could use some of the technology in the Nortel patents in future research, the company said Monday that it wanted to buy them to defend against patent litigation. IHT writes that Google could also use the Nortel patents to protect its partners, like mobile manufacturers and developers using open-source Android and Chrome software. But, first and foremost, it wants to keep the patents out of the hands of competitors. Google also hopes to dissuade other companies from suing it, either because Google holds patents similar to the ones they might sue over or as deterrence.
HTC said recently it plans to spend USD75 million to purchase dozens of patents that cover 4G-network technology from U.S.-based ADC Telecommunications. (Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune)

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