Of the 17,000 patents Google will pick up when the company completes its acquisition of Motorola Mobility (MMI), 18 of them are likely to be considered the most important, according to patent lawyers who weighed in on the deal. According to Bloomberg, patent experts said the patents, some dating back to 1994, apply to location services, antenna designs, e-mail transmission, touchscreen motions, software application management, and third-generation wireless technologies.
Ron Epstein, CEO of Epicenter IP Group LLC, a Redwood City, California-based patent brokerage, went so far as to tell the news organization that the MMI acquisition has shifted the balance of power in the patent wars between Apple, Microsoft, and Google, and that at the very lest discussions for cross-licensing between the companeis is now “inevitable.”
Motorola Mobility Holdings has more than 17,000 patents, with an additional 7,500 pending. Before the announced acquisition, Google had less than 1,000 patents to its name and had been mostly sitting on the sidelines as it’s hardware partners have been actively involved in lawsuits with Apple and Microsoft.
That might not be the case for long, however. David Drummond, Google’s Google’s Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, noted in a conference call with analyts that, “We’ve been saying for some time that we intend to protect the Android ecosystem. It’s under threat.”
That’s the same David Drummond who accused Apple and Microsoft of using “bogus patents” in an orchestrated campaign to try and stifle the innovation that is Android.
Motorola Mobility had three lawsuits and an ITC complaint against Apple dating from last year. Those cases involve the iPhone 4, iPad, AppleTV, and MacBook Air. The acquired patents are also believed to be useful against Microsoft and RIM. Four of the newly acquired patents were used in a case with RIM that came to a settlement last year.