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Handful of Motorola patents could shift Google's Android cases

23 Aug 2011
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Google's recent $12.5bn deal to acquire Motorola Mobility will bring the Android maker a number of new properties, most notably an in-house handset and tablet maker with an extensive history in the hardware market.

But the acquisition may also yield valuable intellectual property which some believe will play a pivotal role in Google's legal feud over patents related to Android.

Patent lawyer David Mixon suggested in an interview with Bloomberg that the star of the Google/Motorola deal may be a collection of 18 Motorola patents which could put Google in a stronger position in its legal dealings with the likes of Apple and Microsoft.

Mixon suggested that the patents are of particular value because they cover core components such as touch-screen hardware and wireless antennas.

Google cited Motorola's patent holdings as a motivating factor in the deal. In an era when every major vendor seems to be taking the other to court, patent portfolios are considered as good as currency in helping to negotiate licensing settlements.

According to some in the industry, however, Motorola's patent holdings may be overstated. Intellectual property expert Florian Mueller has previously noted that Apple and Microsoft have filed their own patent suits against Motorola.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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