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Apple Sees More Court Troubles Over Patents

March 6, 2012

Luxembourg-based Core Wireless Licensing SARL has claimed in an East Texas District Court, that the iPad and iPhone are infringing patents it holds related to 2G, 3G, and 4G communication protocols, writes Steven Musil for CNET.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and future royalty payments for “each and every product sold by Apple in the future that is found to infringe,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Core Wireless holds up to 2,000 patents originally filed by Nokia, and was bought last year by Canadian firm Mosaid Technologies – now owned by US private equity firm Sterling Partners. Microsoft then licensed those patents and was given a share of future revenue that Mosaid received from the licensing of the patents to others.

In a detail that may be an embarrassment for Microsoft, reports Emma Woollacott for TG Daily, it has recently teamed up with Apple to partner in a consortium that purchased Nortel Networks´ remaining portfolio of 6,000 patents and patent applications for $4.5 billion. Other companies involved in the deal, which won regulatory approval last month, include Research In Motion (RIM), Sony, and Ericsson.

While the press release didn´t mention Microsoft as a beneficiary of the deal, the software giant then licensed those patents, a company representative confirmed. Microsoft has told Richard Chirgwin from The Register that it has only a passive interest in Core Wireless.

“Last year, Nokia sold patents to Mosaid. We paid for a license to those patents. As part of that transaction, we also received a passive financial interest in future revenue generated by Mosaid from the licensing of those patents to others,” a Microsoft spokesperson explained.

“We are pleased to have secured a license to the Nokia patents now acquired by Mosaid for Microsoft´s products and services,” Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez told CNET sister site ZDNet last year.”

“In return, we have a passive economic interest in the revenue generated from the licensing of those patents to third parties. The marketplace for intellectual property is incredibly dynamic today, and this agreement is an effective way to make these Nokia innovations available to the industry and to unlock the considerable value of this IP portfolio.”

Microsoft, meanwhile, has inked patent-protection deals with half the world´s original design manufacturers, which pay undisclosed royalties to the software giant for use of Google´s Android and Chrome operating systems used in smart phones, tablets, and other consumer electronics.

Rather than going after Google for patent violations, Microsoft has targeted device makers, pressing them to license Microsoft´s patents that it alleges Android and Chrome infringe upon.

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Source: RedOrbit Staff & Wire Reports



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