Motorola Mobility has become the latest target of patent litigation, with Intellectual Ventures claiming the company infringes on six patents with its Android smartphone range. Intellectual Ventures - which counts Google as a partial investor - alleges that licensing negotiations with Motorola broke down and thus forced the lawsuit, and that the company "will not tolerate ongoing infringement of our patents to the detriment of our current customers and our business."
Those "current customers" include HTC and Samsung, with both companies signing deals with IV back in November 2010. The patent stronghold includes over 35,000, predominantly acquired by purchasing intellectual property from other firms and from inventors looking to capitalize on their developments. As of this year, IV was one of the top five holders of US patents.
"Intellectual Ventures has successfully signed licensing agreements with many of the top handset manufacturers in the world, and has been in discussions with Motorola Mobility for some time. Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach agreement on a license. We have a responsibility to our current customers and our investors to defend our intellectual property rights against companies such as Motorola Mobility who use them without a license. Our goal continues to be to provide companies with access to our portfolio through licensing and sales, but we will not tolerate ongoing infringement of our patents to the detriment of our current customers and our business" Melissa Finocchio, chief litigation counsel, Intellectual Ventures
The Google connection, meanwhile, is part of a roughly $5bn investment package of which the search giant is believed to have contributed some part. Other investors include Microsoft, Intel, Sony, Nokia, Apple, SAP, NVIDIA and eBay. Today's irony, of course, is that Google is now attempting to buy Motorola Mobility itself.
Among the allegedly infringed patents include technology that covers file transfers, remote data management and updates on mobile devices. IV claims licensing talks began in January this year, but broke down after the two companies failed to reach an agreement.