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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilesmartphoneslegalconsumer electronicsintellectual propertypatentLG ElectronicsIntellectual Ventures

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?