updated 03:25 pm EST, Fri December 30, 2011
Lenovo and ZTE may lead Chinese patent defense
Chinese smartphone designers are quietly forming a pact to fend off patent lawsuits from Apple, Microsoft, and Nokia, a rumor maintained Friday. Lenovo and ZTE, as well as smaller firms like Coolpad, Konka, and TCL, were said by Digitimes to be forming a collective. The details weren't given, although a patent defense would most likely involve pooling patent resources together and sharing resources on how to work around other companies' patents.
Some of the companies might not directly need help, since companies with 3G and 4G specialties like Huawei and ZTE have their own related patents.
The coalition hasn't been independently confirmed, but it would come at a time when Chinese companies are drawing legal attention as their share of the smartphone market grows. Microsoft has been pushing Huawei on a deal to make it pay a royalty on every Android device. Apple and Nokia have mostly stayed out of China, although Apple's wins against HTC could impact the overall Chinese market.
China just recently became the largest smartphone market through sheer population. Although most can't afford smartphones in the country, the size and newness of the market gives it both a larger base and more room to grow.