Impossibly simple solution to the mobile telecom patent lawsuit jungle

When was the last time you saw a mess like this?

Thanks to Ars Technica for the insightful write up as always.

Or, to look at it another way (from information is beautiful):

The solution?

Stop paying millions to the litigating lawyers and instead spend the time and money on creating a viable, modern, useful patent pool.

Impossible?  I don’t think so.

Some other insights:

  1. the graphics are woefully incomplete – there’s a lot more going on out there;
  2. Kodak is enforcing technology outside its core business;
  3. if you’re making money, you can expect arrows pointing at you;
  4. the graph will blossom further in coming months;
  5. ITC proceedings are a very sensible component, of course.

Your thoughts?

13 Comments on “Impossibly simple solution to the mobile telecom patent lawsuit jungle

  1. Incredible, I just thought this morning when reading about the Motorola/Apple case that a chart like this would interesting to see.

    You read my mind!

  2. Very interesting chart and thoughtful proposal. Interestingly, what we’re starting to see is a breakdown of the traditional detente that has existed amongst large operating companies. Your proposal would, at least, give these companies the freedom to operate without fear of assertion from other member companies in the licensing pool.

    What this graphic doesn’t show, and where many of the lawsuits will undoubtedly come, are the NPEs (sometimes referred to as patent trolls). Companies whose primary business model is IP licensing, like VirnetX, that recently settled a VPN suit against Microsoft for $200m and which claim to have fundamental IP in the 4G arena, will not join a patent pool. And it’s not just VirenetX…WiLAN, Mosaid, InterDigital are three that come to mind immediately. There are many others that are lower profile, like Linex, which claim IP in technologies like MIMO and which have a history of assertion, and licensing to 800 lb gorillas.

    But, as you suggest, a patent pool formed by the companies operating in this space would be an interesting move.

    That’s my .02!

    Martin Suter

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  4. Market will shift by the time any decision is given. Half of the companies will be alive after this game is over. Kodak is already dead. Apple has already moved to iPad from the iPhone and hence diversified. The thing to observe is who is the market leader when 5G (seamless mobile web) arrives in full force. The companies that can potentially be market leaders will possibly not join a patent pool.

      • I agree. At our company we are well cognizant about this. Talking about patent pools what do you think that emergence of defensive patent pools like RPX at one end and emergence of Mega NPE’s like Intellectual Ventures at the other is indicative of coming IP landscape?

      • Thanks Naim – there are a lot of strategic implications, one is that the gridlock will be reinforced and require precision from new entrants or those wanting to grow

  5. The game is about to change with Google’s bid for Nortel patents. $900 million
    for about 6000 patents covering wide spaces of telecommunication technology.

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