updated 12:50 pm EDT, Thu September 1, 2011
Mosaid controls Nokia standards, wireless patents
Mosaid signaled the likely start of a rash of new patent lawsuits after it reached a deal to manage 2,000 Nokia patents. The deal, which sees it take control of Core Wireless Licensing, will let Mosaid license out and sue over alleged infringements of 1,200 "standards-essential" patents for 2G, 3G, and 4G, as well as 800 general wireless implementation patents. Rather than pay for the patents directly, it was gambling that it could pay for the deal through royalties and lawsuit payouts in the future.
About a third of the revenue from patent actions will go to Ottawa-based Mosaid while the rest will go to Nokia, the actual owner. The new managing firm made clear that it saw this as a substitute for competing with products, since it expected to make more revenue just from the 2,000 patents than it has from the entire product lines and patent deals it has had since 1975.
Core Wireless' continued ownership of the patents hinges on how much it and Mosaid collect in patent revenues. It may have to relinquish control otherwise.
The agreement will almost invariably lead to conflict given Mosaid's past habits, where it has sued any and all for allegedly violating patents, in many cases for technologies Mosaid didn't originally develop itself. It was once a genuine semiconductor hardware developer but gradually shifted over towards patent disputes after it struggled to compete normally.
Apple may be a Mosaid target. Nokia has confirmed that none of the patents now being steered by Mosaid are covered by a settlement with Apple in June. The patents touch on basic technologies like GSM and LTE and could be used to extract a toll on any phone maker that Mosaid thinks might be using a similar technology, even if developed completely independently.