updated 11:25 pm EDT, Wed October 12, 2011
Pantech pushed into Intellectual Ventures deal
Pantech was steered into striking a patent licensing deal with Intellectual Ventures late Wednesday. The pact gives it use of 35,000 patents for defense against the growing rash of patent lawsuits and countersuits. The Korean smartphone maker's IP strategy leader Chadong Hwang spun the deal as one that let it "stay ahead of the curve" and keep making the phones it wanted.
IV characterized Pantech's step as "progressive."
Pantech may have agreed to help curb Microsoft's Android patent campaign, where the Windows Phone developer claims to own patents inherent to Android and offers licenses with the clear message that a lawsuit will follow if the company tries to challenge the legitimacy of the patents.
The deal, while cast as friendly, may have been landed with its own implicit threat of a lawsuit. IV is known to readily sue anyone that doesn't make a deal and just recently sued Motorola. Its lawsuits have covered virtually anyone connected to a patent, even suing Best Buy despite it merely being the store carrying someone else's products.
IV has considered itself an invention think tank and is a step above many of the companies that thrive on patent lawsuits, having been responsible for inventing technology and not just selling the rights to it. Many still label it as a patent troll, however, since it never produces meaningful products and relies solely on licensing out or suing over inventions it either created, or bought, to others.