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Summary:

Battles in the mobile ecosystem used to be fought for developers, but now that clear leaders have emerged with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system, with Windows Phone 7 showing promise for no. 3, the battle has switched to patents. So who has them?

patent

Battles in the mobile ecosystem used to be fought for developers, but now that clear leaders have emerged with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system (Windows Phone 7 has a chance) the battle has switched to the courts and intellectual property. So now we have Oracle suing Google, Apple suing Samsung, and HTC suing Apple to name a few. Patents have suddenly become more valuable than Glenn Beck thinks gold should be, so now the big question is who has them?

In his second quarter wireless data report mobile industry analyst Chetan Sharma answers this question for Europe and the U.S. where he says most patent battles are waged. In an email he said that in Asia, Japan is the most relevant market in terms of patents but he couldn’t get information out from the country’s patent office. He added that China and Korea are other two markets where patent disputes are rising but said they are relatively minor.

Sure Google just said it would acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion while InterDigital, which holds a fair number of mobile patents, is now the belle of the ball, but judging by the sheer number of patents granted, there are plenty of players that have the arsenals of IP in order to keep their hand in. Stand aside developers, it’s the lawyers’ turn to fight for mobile supremacy.

  1. A problem with just counting patents is that it does not take into account the practice of some companies to obtain separate patents for small variations of an invention, instead of wrapping them all into one patent. A better metric would be a count of the independent claims in all the companies’ patents. This still does not address the issue of the quality or value of the independent claims and patents.

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  2. This seems kind of silly … I would think that it isn’t the number of patents that matter, but the specific patents that one holds. While certainly the number of patents can be a window into a companies strength in fighting patent battles, it is a pretty dirty and small window.

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  3. Geeknizer (Taranfx) Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Stats are simply WRONG. Motorola had 15000 patents, Google’s acquisition declared that.

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  4. You are correct total amount of patentäs / pending approx; 24,600 patents!

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