LG signs deal with Intellectual Ventures

It joins RIM, HTC and Samsung, among other phone makers, who signed licenses rather than face a potential lawsuit

LG has joined companies including Samsung, HTC and Research In Motion in deciding to sign a deal with patent licensing company Intellectual Ventures.

Among mobile phone manufacturers, Pantech, the Korean phone maker, has also agreed to license the patents, but Motorola is instead fighting Intellectual Ventures in court.

As part of the agreement, LG has access to Intellectual Venture's portfolio of 35,000 patents. Intellectual Ventures argues that such deals help the licensee defend itself from litigation.

Most handset makers, when approached by a company like Intellectual Ventures about such a licensing deal, weigh the costs of litigation against the cost of the license and consider what they might gain in either scenario, said Jack Gold, an analyst with Jack Gold Associates. A CEO of a handset maker is thinking, "If I fight it and spend $20 million and 30 years, what do I gain?" he said. "If I'm diverting resources to it, shouldn't I instead go out and do what I'm good at, which is building phones?"

When the licensing cost is reasonable, the answer is often clear. "Sometimes it's easier to pay them to go away than to fight it," Gold said.

Motorola is so far the biggest name in mobile phones to publicly fight Intellectual Ventures rather than sign a licensing agreement.

In October, Intellectual Ventures charged Motorola with infringing six patents. It said it approached Motorola in January about taking licenses but the phone maker refused. That dispute is notable because Google, which is planning to acquire Motorola, is an investor in an arm of Intellectual Ventures.

Companies that have been around for years may be able to leverage their own large patent portfolios in their attempts to resist signing up for a licensing agreement.

Samsung and HTC announced that they'd signed with Intellectual Ventures last year and RIM followed in March.

The mobile phone market has become increasingly litigious, with every major phone maker involved in at least one dispute over patents. Apple and Microsoft have both either sued a number of phone makers or pressured them to sign licensing agreements.

"Everyone is suing everyone else," Gold said. "What's happening now is they're starting to compete based on lawsuits and injunctions rather than products."

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Intellectual Venturesconsumer electronicsintellectual propertyLG Electronicssmartphonespatentlegalmobile

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?