Apple outsources patent war

By Liam Tung on Dec 12, 2011 8:46 AM
Filed under Strategy

Hands over patents for proceeds and protection.

Apple has handed over two valuable mobile patents to a company which shares its court-won proceeds with companies that contribute to its intellectual property cache.

The deal is expected to protect the iPhone and iPad maker from potential litigation by the patent hoarder, Digitude Innovations.

The company, founded in 2010, earlier this year invited inventors to "sell their IP assets to Digitude for cash, equity, or a combination of the two".

A filing with the US International Trade Commission this month revealed Apple had agreed to provide patents USPTO #6208878 (Mobile Information Terminal Equipment and Portable Electronic Apparatus) and USPTO #6456841 (Mobile Communication Apparatus Notifying User of Reproduction Waiting Information Effectively) to the company.

Digitute Innovations is using the patents in a recently filed complaint with the ITC aimed at BlackBerry maker RIM, HTC, Motorola, Samsung, LG,  Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Amazon, but not Apple.

The deal would see Apple become part of a pool of IP contributors that will receive proceeds from Digitude Innovations based on the value of the assets contributed.

Venture Beat reported Apple's move as "a clever deal that effectively gives Apple immunity from an attack by the troll", adding that although Apple does not control Digitude Innovations' actions, it would have known the outcome for its rivals.

Apple ramped up its own patent litigation this year, becoming engaged with action against rival smartphone makers Samsung and Motorola that has spread globally.

 
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