Ericsson sells over 2,000 patents to 'patent troll'

By Sooraj Shah
14 Jan 2013 View Comments
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Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson has sold a portfolio of patents and patent applications to intellectual property company Unwired Planet.

The company, which claims to be the "inventor of the mobile internet", was known as Openwave back in 1996 when it first started up. 

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It focused on mobile software until May last year when it sold certain parts of its business and changed its name to Unwired Planet. It now focuses on intellectual property licensing, mainly to protect its own expanding patent portfolio. 

This includes a battle it launched in September last year against both Apple and Google for the alleged infringement of 10 patents each.

Now the patent licensing company has announced that Ericsson will transfer 2,185 US and international patents and patent applications to Unwired Planet.

The bulk of the patents are related to 2G, 3G and LTE (4G) technologies.

The terms of the deal were outlined in an 8-K filing made by Unwired Planet: the company will pay Ericsson 20 per cent of revenue up to $100m (£62.3m); 50 per cent of revenue between $100m and $500m (£311.5m), and 70 per cent of revenue in excess of $500m.

Mike Mulica, CEO of Unwired Planet, said that the relationship between the licensing company and Ericsson began in the late 1990s.

"Our inventions have delivered massive social value and this transaction with Ericsson reflects our commitment to protecting and realising value from this innovation," he claimed.

"We look forward to leveraging a strong, multi-dimensional patent portfolio and furthering discussions with key industry players who are interested in licensing these inventions to protect and further build their product strategies," he added.

Unwired Planet is one of a number of companies that are looking to cash in on the surge in patent disputes by holding patents for technology firms.

Last month, patent licensing company MobileMedia Ideas was successful in the US state of Delaware in its claim that Apple's iPhone infringes three of its patents. The company holds patents originally filed by Sony and Nokia, among others. 

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