While existing Android patent suits between the likes of Samsung and Apple continue to drag on in Europe, another two have come to light. Unwired Planet, the patent enforcement entity that acquired 2,400 wireless patents from Ericsson last year, has filed parallel infringement actions in the Patents Court of the High Court of Justice, London, United Kingdom and in the Landgericht (District Court), Dusseldorf, Germany — covering a range of technologies spanning messaging, LTE and other mobile data-related technology. It has given a preliminary estimate of €30 million ($42 million) in damages in Germany; it has not given an estimate in the UK case.
A lot of parties (including companies themselves both in Europe and the U.S.) have argued against the trend for patent suits like these as being counterproductive to innovation and just getting on with things. But for Unwired Planet, it looks like a straight business plan: the company in its Q2 report covering the three months ended December 31, 2013, reported a net loss of $7.3 million, equivalent to $0.07 per share, down from a net loss of $11.6 million a year ago. It looks like their revenues were zero for the year.
The UK lawsuit is against Samsung, Google and Huawei and covers six UK patents related to “2G/3G/4G telecommunication standards and push notification technology underpinning the Android ecosystem.”
The lawsuit in Germany extends also to HTC and involves the German equivalents of those same patents.
Unwired Planet says that the suits are being filed “expedite” ongoing discussions with the parties (in other words, sounds like things were dragging on in licensing negotiations, so now Unwired Planet is getting heavy).
“We are committed to FRAND licensing principles and our preference remains to complete royalty-bearing license arrangements without litigation whenever possible,” said Philip Vachon, chairman of Unwired Planet, in a statement. “To that end, we have established fair and reasonable licensing rates that we believe are wholly justified by our portfolio. Our goal has been, and remains, to license each of these parties in 2014 at these rates. However, we have determined that enforcement is necessary at this time to expedite ongoing discussions, establish a concrete timeline for resolution and, if necessary, to demonstrate the value of a small sample of our expansive and diverse patent portfolio of over 2,600 patent assets through formal and visible means.”
The patents involved in the lawsuits are as follows:
1. European Patent No. 0,989,712, entitled “Method and Apparatus for Establishing a Secure Connection over a One-Way Data Path,” asserted against Google Inc.’s Android Cloud To Device Messaging (C2DM) and Google Cloud Messaging for Android (GCM), and applications, mobile phones and tablets which use these messaging services. This patent generally relates to securing data transmissions in a wireless network.
2. European Patent No. 2,119,287, entitled “Self Configuring and Optimisation of Cell Neighbours in Wireless Telecommunications Networks,” asserted against mobile devices, together with base stations, operating according to the LTE telecommunications standard. This patent generally relates to cell reporting in wireless telecommunications networks.
3. European Patent No. 2,485,514 entitled “Self Configuring and Optimisation of Cell Neighbours in Wireless Telecommunications Networks,” asserted against mobile devices, together with base stations, operating according to the LTE telecommunications standard. This patent generally relates to cell reporting in wireless telecommunications networks.
4. European Patent No. 2,229,744, entitled “Method and Arrangement in a Wireless Communication Network,” asserted against mobile devices, together with base stations, operating according to the LTE telecommunications standard. This patent generally relates to status reporting for transmitted data packets in wireless telecommunications networks.
5. European Patent 1,105,991, entitled “Communication Methods and Apparatus Based on Orthogonal Hadamard-Based Sequences Having Selected Correlation Properties,” asserted against mobile devices, together with base stations, operating according to the UMTS telecommunications standard. This patent generally relates to cell search procedures and associated encoding and decoding of synchronization channels in wireless telecommunications networks.
6. European Patent No. 1,230,818, entitled “Method for Improving Handovers Between Mobile Communication Systems,” asserted against mobile devices operating according to the GSM telecommunications standard. This patent generally relates to cell measurement reporting and conversion between different mobile communication systems.
Unwired Planet says it will release the text of the suits, and in the meantime I’ve contacted the company with further questions, such as the current status of other active suits, the estimated value of these new suits, and why HTC is not included in the UK case. We’ll update as and when we learn more.
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