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Explosion of Litigation Approaches as 4G-LTE Patents become Smartphone Standard: iRunway Report

Samsung Emerges as 4G Patent Frontrunner

Hundreds of Smaller Enterprises Likely to Assert Patents Against Industry Heavyweights; Asia-Based Institutions Represent Additional Threat

AUSTIN, TX (US), April 26, 2012

iRunway, a technology research firm specializing in litigation support and patent portfolio analysis, has released a comprehensive new report on the 4G-LTE patent landscape that identifies a coming wave of Smartphone patent litigation/licensing.

The report reveals those companies with the strongest position in the 4G-LTE space, highlighting the strengths of Samsung, Qualcomm and Interdigital over other industry heavyweights. The report lists possible licensing and acquisition targets as activity in the 4G-LTE patent space heats up.

“A new era in the Smartphone patent wars is about to unfold as consumer demand for faster data transmission intensifies and 4G becomes more commonplace in the market,” said Animesh Kumar, Chief Solutioning Officer at iRunway. “Companies that were at the forefront of previous patent battles may find themselves outmaneuvered by those that have already invested heavily in the 4G arena.”

The report examines existing and anticipated 4G holdings and assertions, while offering a comparative analysis of seminal (strong) patents. The report evaluates patents held by leading 4G players such as Samsung, Qualcomm, and Interdigital, among others. Samsung is revealed as a leading 4G patent holder in several key categories, while Apple holds few 4G patents.

“Given Apple’s low patent protection in the 4G space, the company is likely to be hit by patent assertions from both its competitors as well as non-practicing entities,” Kumar says. “Consequently, Apple is likely to use at least some part of its cash balance in acquiring patents, or companies with strong patents in this area.”

The report also demonstrates that the top 10 industry players hold approximately half of all seminal patents, and that the remaining patents are held by hundreds of smaller companies including non-practicing entities. The likely outcome of this is increased patent monetization activities.

Also posing a new patent litigation threat are research institutions in Asia (specifically, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan) that hold significant portfolios of 4G patents, including several critical patents. These institutions have already set up active patent monetization programs.

“In the next three to five years we are likely to see a tremendous surge in litigation and licensing as hundreds of these smaller patent holders, research institutions, and non-practicing entities seek to assert their 4G holdings against Fortune-ranked companies,” Kumar said.

The 4G-LTE landscape is already showing signs of change. On March 9, the day after the launch of the new iPad (with 4G-LTE), patent holder Adaptix filed a 4G patent infringement lawsuit against Apple and AT&T.

For additional information on the 4G-LTE report, please click here

About iRunway

iRunway helps corporations and law firms unlock and protect the value of patents by combining technology expertise with practical business insight to monetize patent portfolios and improve litigation outcomes. For more information about the company’s consulting model and in-depth analysis, visit www.i-Runway.com

George Shea
(212) 627-5766