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Google could fight Apple with just 18 of Motorola’s 17000+ patents

You probably know by now that Google’s move to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion was seen as one specifically focused on acquiring their more than 17,000+ patents, many of which are thought to be key in protecting Android from other smartphone makers (Apple and Microsoft) in court. However, according to a report from Bloomberg, only 18 of those patents will be essential in fighting patent-infringement related cases against, namely, Apple.

According to CEO of ICAP Patent Brokerage Dean Becker (“global leader in intellectual property brokerage”) Google only needs a few of the 17000+ patents to protect it’s mobile IPs, he added:

“There are a lot of sweet patents in that portfolio…”- Dean Becker, ICAP Patent Brokerage 

The patents cover a little bit of everything that we’ve come to expect from a smartphone; touch-screen gestures, antenna designs, location-based services, email,etc. Among some of the more notable patents that will certainly provide value when protecting Android include one from 2001 that details disabling a “touch sensitive” display that detects a user’s head in relation to the device to prevent accidental input (sound familiar?), another shows a feature that would allow users to control when their location data is sent over a network via GPS (lack of these types of features were recently the subject of debate at a senate judiciary hearing in May where Apple and Google were questioned on their practices in relation to user location data). Other noteworthy patents include one related to increasing data storage for users and others that detail features we see in most modern smartphones.

Motorola, even before being acquired by Google, was and still is involved in mobile related legal issues. Most recently Apple filed patent-infringement complaints with the ITC in October, and also sued the company in civil court for “a pattern of unfair, deceptive and anticompetitive conduct”. Claims which also mirror those of Microsoft. Motorola seems to be confident in their patents, however, by going after Apple in lawsuits on three separate occasions and filing their own complaint with the ITC.

It’s clear companies analyze their patent’s ability to fend off legal disputes before jumping in head first. Motorola certainly isn’t shying away from the smartphone patent wars, leading us to believe that value of their mobile related patents might actually prove to be beyond what many expect, especially in Google’s hands. Patent lawyer David Mixon of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings told Bloomberg, “Any patent owner, before they consider litigation is going to carefully evaluate their patents to withstand an attack..”

Google’s dedication and stance on protecting Android is clear:

“We’ve been saying for some time that we intend to protect the Android ecosystem… It’s under threat”

It’s very possible we haven’t even seen the majority of valuable patents in terms of the those Motorola could be using to fight off litigation. CEO of patent brokerage firm Epicenter IP Group LLC told Bloomberg he thinks Motorola has only being utilizing what’s necessary… potentially providing Google with a treasure chest of patents that have yet to be used in fighting Apple and Microsoft.

From the report:

“I would be shocked if they brought all of the patents they thought were of value in this first round of litigation,” Epstein said. “They brought a set of patents that they thought would do a job they set out for, which is telling Apple to back off.”

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s weekly Logic Pros series and makes music as one half of Toronto-based Makamachine.