Thursday
May082014

May 9, 2014 Update

Today we are providing a brief update regarding our litigation in Germany.

We have added LG Electronics as an additional defendant in our pending patent litigation in Dusseldorf, Germany (Press Release).

Our goal is to complete a license arrangement with LG on FRAND terms, but obviously, this has not yet occurred. We took this step in advance of our first oral hearing, which is scheduled to take place in Dusseldorf on May 22nd, to avoid the potential for subsequent delay in our case (i.e. if we had waited longer to take this action).

Thursday
May012014

April 30, 2013 Update

Today we are providing an update on activity taking place at Unwired Planet. This post incorporates our past blog entries and we recommend that you review all of them in chronological order. As before, we have divided our activities into four categories: Licensing, Technology, Portfolio/Prosecution & Enforcement. Following is an update on each area.

 

I. Licensing

As we have previously announced, we completed our first OEM license with Lenovo. The Lenovo license was one of two transactions that were signed together in March and for which payment was received in April. The other transaction was a sale of 21 patent families to Lenovo.

We continue to interact with dozens of companies across our 3 core markets (Mobile Devices, Mobile Cloud & Services and Network Infrastructure). Based upon our ongoing effort to uphold FRAND principles, on the heels of the Lenovo transactions, we adjusted our royalty rates to reflect that event and are in the process of communicating these royalty rates. We have published a copy of our standard license proposal here (FRAND License Proposal).

We feel very confident that our license pricing is well supported by comparables, the law and the economics of the smartphone market. We do, however, continue to expect that further effort, negotiation and time, and in some cases successful enforcement, will be needed to close licenses with all of the industry players.

 

II. Technology

The rapid growth in LTE sales is exciting news for Unwired Planet (CCS Insite article). Our revenue potential grows in proportion with this growth. 250 million LTE phones were sold in 2013 and 500 million are expected to be sold in 2014, growing to 1 billion in 2017. Our LTE portfolio has many years remaining (in many cases these patents will not expire until 2025 and later).

Here are a few additional articles that we found interesting:

In addition to the mobile devices themselves, we remain focused on the evolution of chipset platforms. As an example, OEMs are apparently trying to get better vertical control of the application processor market. Samsung has long been developing its own Exynos processor. Now market rumors suggest Samsung will be swapping the Snapdragon processors on Galaxy S5 Prime and beyond for Exynos with Intel LTE (Android Headlines article, International Business Times article). Additionally LG Electronics has confirmed that they also are developing their own application processor, called Odin, and apparently it will be mass-production ready soon (The Droid Guy article). Some analysts are saying that these projects are OEM’s effort to save costs, which we hope will translate into the introduction of mid-tier LTE devices.

Intel continues to push hard to be a key provider of mobile technology. At IDF Shenzhen, Intel’s CEO announced that Intel will be shipping its first Cat 6 multimode LTE solution, XMM 7260, in Q2 this year (The Motley Fool article).

In January we mentioned Mediatek’s MT6290 chip. Mediatek had their MT6595 chip in action at the China Electronic Information Expo (Fudzilla article). MT6595 is a big.LITTLE octa-core with integrated LTE support. With these developments, Mediatek seeks to become a significant LTE provider in the near term.

In summary, we believe that the recent developments support LTE market expansion predictions. Platform and processor diversity will ensure options and supply for all interested OEMs and facilitate growth into all price segments.

 

III. Portfolio/Prosecution

Below represents our current portfolio status (all patents transferred to Lenovo have already been excluded)

Overall Portfolio Prosecution Statistics -- 1 January 2014 to 31 March 2014

Number of Office Actions Received – 27
Number of Office Actions Responded – 31
Number of Search Reports received – 1
Number of Search Opinions Responded – 4

Number of Foreign Acceptances (not yet issued) – 4
Number of US Acceptances (not yet issued) – 8
Number of EP allowances (not yet issued) – 6

US Issued – 6
EP Issued - (not including EPs in their opposition period, but including validated EP countries) – 9
EP issued in opposition period – 3
Number of Foreign Issued – 2

TOTAL Granted – 22

Newly filed apps – 5
Abandoned – 6
Patents expired – 1

TOTAL Portfolio

Total Issued Patents = 2261
Total Pending Applications = 251

Total Portfolio Count: 2512

    Total Issued Patents = 2361
    Total Pending Applications = 251
    Total USA Assets = 1044
    Total Foreign Assets = 1468

US Post Grant Proceedings Summary

Pending Inter Partes Reexams – 1
Pending Broadening Reissues – 5 (2 are currently in “Allowance” state)
Pending Self-Initiated Reexams – 1
Inter Partes Review – 3 cases instituted
Covered Business Method – 3 cases instituted

The three Inter Partes Review proceedings and the three Covered Business Method proceedings relate to the same three patents (7,024,205, 7,203,752, and 7,463,151) and were each requested by Google, and were asserted in the ongoing Nevada litigation against Google. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) decided to institute proceedings but, in each instance, determined to institute on fewer than all of the grounds put forward by Google.

At this point, all six re-examination cases will proceed along an expedited and substantially parallel timeline through trial. These cases are currently scheduled to have oral arguments on January 13, 2015, with a final decision due by the end of April of 2015. If and when the PTAB issues a final decision, Google will thereafter be prevented from challenging the validity of these patents on any ground that they raised, and be prevented from challenging the validity based on most prior art that they could have reasonably raised, in these proceedings. This will significantly simplify existing and future enforcement actions against Google based on these patents.

 

IV. Enforcement

Below is a brief summary of each of our pending enforcement actions, all of which had significant developments over the past several months:

UK (Samsung, Huawei, Google)

  • UPIP has submitted FRAND-compliant licensing proposals to defendants.
  • Defenses will be due in late May and the initial case management conference is now expected to be in late June.
  • We will seek to obtain a trial date as soon as possible and expect that it will be set at the case management conference.

Germany (Samsung, Huawei, Google, HTC)

  • The first oral hearing will occur May 22nd in Dusseldorf. We will seek to obtain a trial date as soon as possible and expect that it will be set at the hearing.

Apple – District Court of Nevada / Northern District of California

  • Had been assigned to Judge Yvonne Rogers in Oakland, CA. Scheduling Hearing took place on January 6th.
  • To expedite matters, Judge Rogers ruled that we must move forward to claim construction with 10 patent claims (from our 70 pending claims) for the time being, but we would maintain our rights on other patents and claims. We selected 10 claims from 5 patents for this first action and the Markman Hearing (for these first 10 claims) was set for May 14th.
  • However, on April 17th we were reassigned to San Francisco-based Judge Vince Chhabria. We do not yet know what impact this will have on our schedule overall, but our Markman Hearing with Judge Rogers has been canceled.

Google – District Court of Nevada

  • Google’s motion to transfer to Northern District of California was denied in August. Google sought reconsideration of the transfer decision and that was also denied.
  • Google filed 3 re-examinations (of 3 out of the 10 patents in the case) and sought a partial stay of the case (with respect to these same 3 patents). The partial stay was granted.
  • We are moving forward with the remaining 7 patents in the case. 26 depositions have taken place already in this case.
  • Markman hearing is set for July 22nd.
  • Google recently filed a motion to bifurcate damages from liability phase of case. We oppose this motion.

Apple/RIM – District Court of Delaware

  • This case corresponds to the ITC case from 2012.
  • The case is now moving forward under Judge Andrews in Delaware.
  • Single claim term Markman hearing took place November 2013.
  • We received a negative but still ambiguous Markman ruling.
  • A trial date is set for February 2016.
  • The defendants will file a motion for summary judgment of non-infringement based upon their interpretation of the claim construction. If granted, this case would then proceed to the Appellate level.

Square – District Court of Nevada

  • Judge Jones has been assigned to this matter.
  • Square filed a transfer motion in December and we responded. There has been no ruling yet.
  • A scheduling conference took place in February, setting a Markman hearing for September 2014 and a settlement conference for May 15th.
Wednesday
Apr232014

April 23, 2014 Update

Today we are providing a brief update. A more detailed post on a broader set of issues is planned for next week.

We have issued non-confidential licensing proposals to the defendants in our European litigation to continue to meet our FRAND obligations. A copy of this proposal is available here (FRAND License Proposal) and, in accordance with FRAND principles, is available to all potential licensees selling mobile devices and/or network equipment. To put this proposal in some context, according to our internal analysis, the average smartphone wholesale price is approximately $400 in North America and Western Europe and is approximately $225 in the rest of the world.

Monday
Mar102014

UK Pleadings

Monday
Mar102014

German Pleading