HTC attempt to dodge Apple patent lawsuit by licensing portfolio of exMicrosoft

first_imgWith lawsuits whizzing like bullets in every direction, fired from the big guns of almost every major smartphone manufacturer’s legal departments, 2011 is shaping up to be the year of the mobile patent lawsuit.At least one prominent smartphone maker, though, is diving for cover: sued by Apple for patent infringement, HTC has opted to license the patent portfolio of Intellectual Ventures to protect itself. In doing so, HTC is climbing into bed not just with Microsoft‘s former chief technology officer, Nathan Myhrvold, but also one of the most infamous patent troll companies around.In a press release, HTC says that it licensed Intellectual Ventures’ patent portfolio of over 30,000 IP assets in order “to defend itself and its subsidiaries from potential litigation.” This follows a similar move by Samsung last week to license Intellectual Ventures’ patent portfolio to protect itself in the patent lawsuits that are going to be ubiquitous in determining who owns what in the current smartphone wars.If you haven’t picked up on it yet, the next couple of years are going to be bloody amongst smartphone manufacturers, almost all of whom are suing each other based on file cabinets filled with patents, many of which overlap with other patents and none of which have been tested. Given the fact that mobile is the future of computing, there’s a lot resting on eliminating the competition, and patent portfolios are proving to be one of the biggest weapons in many mobile gadget makers’ arsenals in trying to get a leg up over the competition.The thing that’s interesting here is that even Intellectual Ventures’ patent portfolio is largely untested, so by licensing it, HTC and Samsung are basically offloading culpability in defending their patent innovations to a third-party. That might be smart, but something tells me it’s not really going to mitigate the actual volume of patent lawsuits thrown at them in the coming years all that much.last_img

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