Legal Featured Article
January 14, 2013
Almost 2,000 Ericsson Patents to be Transferred to Unwired Planet
By Joe Rizzo, TMCnet Contributing Writer
Ericsson (News - Alert), one of Sweden’s largest companies, is a provider of telecommunications equipment and services to mobile and fixed network operators. According to Ericsson, over 1,000 networks in more than 180 countries use its network equipment. It was founded in 1876 as a telegraph equipment repair shop by Lars Magnus Ericsson.
It was announced on January 11, 2013 that Ericsson has agreed to transfer 1,922 patents and 263 patent applications to Unwired Planet. In return, Ericsson will receive a share of ongoing revenue from these patents. Chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson, Kasim Alfalahi noted that the company has over 30,000 patents and more than 100 license agreements with major players in the industry
Unwired Planet is a publicly held company whose headquarters are in Reno, Navada. The company started in 1996 as Libris, Inc. and focused on developing mobile client software for "pull" services while the general mobile market was rapidly growing "push" services based on Short Message Service (SMS). Later it changed its name to Unwired Planet, Inc. and launched its proprietary end-to-end mobile network solution for Internet access and Web browsing, known as up.link (browser and network server/gateway). It went through several name changes, including Openwave, before it became known as Unwired Planet.
Mike Mulica (News - Alert), CEO of Unwired Planet said, "Our patent portfolio now extends to all layers of the telecom handset and infrastructure stack.” It received 753 U.S. patents that are related to 2G, 3G and LTE (News - Alert) technologies. Ericsson has committed to transferring an additional 100 patents per year for a four year period between 2014 and 2018.
Mulica said that Ericsson will not receive a lump sum for the patents; instead it will receive a 20 percent cut for the first US$100 million dollar revenue raised and a 50 percent cut for revenue raised between $100 million and $500 million. Ericsson will receive a 70 percent share of revenue over $500 million. If, however, Unwired Planet is acquired within the next three years by another company, Ericsson may elect to receive one sum instead of sharing revenue. In that case, the payment would be calculated according to the market value of the patents, a minimum of $1.05 billion, less than any revenue share it had already received.
It was made very clear by Mike Mulica that while Unwired Planet would let anyone use the patented technology for a license fee, “We will use litigation when necessary.” In September 2012, the company sued Google. Unwired Planet alleges that Google Maps, Adwords, Google Search and the Android operating system, among other technologies, infringed its patents.
Google was not the only company that Unwired Planet went after. It also filed law suits against Apple (News - Alert). The two companies were accused of infringing on 20 patents. The patents were split evenly with no cross over, 10 against Apple and 10 against Google. Ericsson also sued Samsung Electronics in November 2012 for patent infringement. This is not the first lawsuit filed against Samsung.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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