Smartphone makers Samsung and HTC have entered patent licensing agreements with Intellectual Ventures, which should help both avoid patent suits in the future.
Smartphone makers HTC and Samsung
Electronics have taken steps to keep their energies focused on innovation and
not legal documents. In respective Nov. 23 statements, each announced that it
had entered into a long-term licensing agreement and strategic alliance with
Within the agreements, HTC and Samsung
gain access to IV's portfolio of patents, which includes more than 30,000
intellectual property assets. This, HTC said
in its statement, "contributes to HTC's
ability to reduce its risk of litigation."
"HTC is one of the fastest growing
companies in the mobile phone industry, and it understands the value of
actively protecting its invention rights," Peter Detkin, founder and vice
chairman of Intellectual Ventures, said in the HTC
statement. "Given HTC's innovativeness
in developing some of the industry's first smartphones and its continued
development of some of the world's most advanced products, HTC
is forward-thinking with its IP practices and is working with IV to mitigate
its IP risk."
Earlier this year, Apple
filed a patent-infringement suit against HTC,
whose Android-running phones
have established HTC as a major brand in the United
States and helped Android's market share to
outperform Apple's iOS. In the suit, Apple charges HTC with violating 20 Apple
patents related to the iPhone's interface, architecture and hardware.
"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or
we can do something about it," Apple CEO
Steve Jobs said in a March 2 statement.
HTC soon after filed a suit of its own,
likewise accusing Apple of patent infringement and seeking to stop the shipment
of iPhone, iPad and iPod devices into the United
Patent infringement suits-nearly too many to count-have also been swapped
this year between Apple and Nokia; Microsoft and Motorola; and Motorola and
Apple. Vertical Computer Systems has filed a patent suit against LG Electronics
and Samsung; and NTP, which had a years-long legal battle with BlackBerry maker
Research In Motion, has most recently
filed patent lawsuits against
LG, Microsoft and Motorola.
Intellectual Ventures, which describes itself as being on a mission to "energize
and streamline an invention economy," plans to (as with HTC)
help Samsung in its pursuit of new developments, while helping it to avoid
"At Intellectual Ventures, we have the expertise to meet the complex IP
needs of companies like Samsung," Adriane Brown, president and COO
of Intellectual Ventures, said in a statement. "Samsung is committed to
developing excellent products, and we are providing them with the critical IP
rights they need to continue this strong tradition of innovation."
In October, rivals Nokia and Motorola also announced a
bit of legal cooperation
, saying that they were extending an intellectual
property licensing agreement to include 4G technologies such as LTE (Long-Term
Evolution), WiMax and LTE-Advanced (which was just ratified as officially a 4G
The agreement "shows that the industry is making fast progress in
resolving LTE licensing issues between the major patent holders," Paul
Melin, vice president of intellectual property at Nokia, said in a statement.