Ericsson boosts Unwired Planet with wireless patent sale

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Unwired Planet, formerly Openwave Systems, purchased a portfolio of nearly 2,000 patents  from Ericsson, including intellectual property relating to 2G, 3G and LTE technologies.

The purchase increases the patent holdings of Unwired Planet from around 260 to well over 2,000. The patent trove could help the company in its patent litigation with the likes of Apple, Google and Research In Motion. Furthermore, under the terms of the transaction, Ericsson will also contribute 100 additional patent assets annually to Unwired Planet from 2014 through 2018.

The transaction covers 1,922 issued patents and 263 patent applications covering technology used in "telecommunications infrastructure including signal processing, network protocols, radio resource management, voice/text applications, mobility management, software, hardware and antennas." Of the 1,922 issued patents, 753 are U.S. patents.

Unwired Planet is what was left of Openwave after the firm sold its messaging and mediation businesses to Marlin Equity Partners in April 2012. At the time, Openwave said it would operate under the Unwired Planet brand, and would focus on a mobile communications patent portfolio comprised of 200 issued U.S. and foreign patents and another 75 pending applications.

According to a TechCrunch report, the financial terms of the deal mean Ericsson is now set to benefit from Unwired Planet's future patent-enforcing activities: UP will pay the vendor on a sliding scale depending on the revenue that it makes from the patents.

Under the deal, Unwired Planet will pay Ericsson revenue it gets from the patents on a quarterly basis as follows: 20 percent of the revenue until it hits $100 million (€75 million); plus 50 percent of the amount of revenue in excess of $100 million, until the revenue hits $500 million; plus 70 percent of the amount of revenue in excess of $500 million.

ZDNet noted that Ericsson has previously promised a more aggressive approach to generating IP revenue. The company appointed its first chief IP, Kasim Alfalahi, in January last year, and said its planned to increase revenue from patents above its 2010 level of around €532 million.

For more:
- see this TechCrunch article
- see this ZDNet article

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