Feeds

OpenWave fires ten-gun patent broadsides at Apple AND Google

The enemy of my enemy is ... also my enemy

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Apple and Google will find themselves on the same side of the patent court defending against Unwired Planet, which has accused the pair of infringing 20 patents filed while it was known as OpenWave.

The 20 patents are split between the defendants, ten for Apple and ten for Google, but it's hard to find any which equally apply to either company so we're assuming this is just an opening gambit. OpenWave, as the company was known, was a real pioneer at the time when WAP was cutting edge, men were real men etc, so the patents are very broad and defence will probably rest on challenging their validity rather than working around them.

United States Patent No. 6,532,446, for example, covers "Server based speech recognition user interface for wireless devices", and is attested against Apple but could (and no-doubt will) apply to Google too. Apple is also accused of infringing in "Web Based Provisioning of Two-Way Mobile Communications Devices", which could apply to any smartphone these days.

Not that Google's selection is any more specific - "Method and Apparatus for Informing Wireless Clients about Updated Information", or "updates" as we know them, and "Efficient Location Determination for Mobile Units" which covers the use of multiple radios to deduce location, as employed by Google, Apple, Nokia and even BAE Systems, if the patent is proved to be valid.

But these patents aren't broad because they were filed by a troll looking to make money: OpenWave was genuinely breaking new ground and doing things which had never been done before. Before the smartphone explosion OpenWave was the sensible choice for the phone manufacturer or Head of Enabling Software*. It came with operator services and an application suite the company would happily port to your embedded OS of choice.

But that was a decade ago, and last August the company publicly recognised that its most valuable asset was its patent portfolio. At that time it filed a complaint against Apple and RIM with the ITC, the US authority which can ban imports if it thinks a patent case is clear, in a case which is still ongoing. These two actions are additional to that complaint.

So focused is Unwired Planet, as the company is now known, on patent resolution that it has relocated operations to Nevada which (the company explains) "has developed specialized procedures to handle complex patent cases" and will thus get to adjudicate on the patents in question.

The emergence of such a venerable player will raise the stakes in the patent battle. Expect most of the mobile industry to be reading through the patents now, and counting their pennies to work out if it might be easier to just buy Unwired Planet and turn an enemy into a potentially-valuable weapon.®

*A position your correspondent held at O2 just when OpenWave was at its peak.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?