updated 03:12 pm EDT, Tue March 11, 2014
European 2G, 3G, 4G patents from Ericsson used by Unwired Planet in lawsuit
Huawei, Google, HTC, and Samsung have become the targets for two patent infringement lawsuits, filed simultaneously in the United Kingdom and Germany. Unwired Planet, the owner of 2,400 wireless patents it acquired from Ericsson last year, claims a total of six patents have been infringed by the technology company group. Although Unwired Planet has not estimated the possible value of the UK action, the company is seeking at least 30 million euro ($42 million) from the German case.
The case in the UK, filed at the Patents Court of the High Court of Justice in London, covers patents relating to "2G/3G/4G telecommunications standards and push notification technology underpinning the Android ecosystem," reports TechCrunch, with the lawsuit targeting Samsung, Google, and Huawei. The German suit, filed in the Landgericht District Court in Dusseldorf, adds HTC to the defendant roster, and applies to the equivalent German patents.
Philip Vachon, chairman of Unwired Planet, claims "We are committed to FRAND licensing principles and our preference remains to compete royalty-bearing license arrangements without litigation whenever possible." While the company claims to have "established fair and reasonable licensing rates" the suits are apparently being used to "expedite ongoing discussions" for licensing and, in the event a licensing agreement cannot be reached, "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 courts in the UK and Germany were chosen by the company for the filings as they are "among the fastest and most efficient ways to protect intellectual property rights," with both offering "strong remedies if a license cannot be reached on FRAND terms, including the potential for injunctive relief."
The patents in question include a "Method and Apparatus for Establing a Secure Connection over a One-Way Data Path" (European patent number 989,712) relating to messaging services, two for the "Self Configuring and Optimization of Cell Neighbours in Wireless Telecommunications Networks" (2,119,287 and 2,485,514), a "Method and Arrangement in a Wireless Communication Network" (2,229,744), "Communication Methods and Apparatus Based on Orthogonal Hadamard-Based Sequences Having Selected Correlation Properties" (1,105,991), and a "Method for Improving Handovers Between Mobile Communication Systems" (1,230,818).
Despite selling the patent collection to Unwired Planet in January last year, Ericsson still stands to gain from the lawsuit if it is successful. A filing at the SEC notes that Ericsson would receive a proportion of Unwired Planet's cumulative gross revenue, with the percentage rising once revenue hits certain milestones.
Under the previous name of Openwave, Unwired Planet owned a much smaller 200-patent catalog, which it used to sue Apple and Research in Motion (now BlackBerry), as well as extracting licensing fees from Microsoft.