Well, if it wasn't clear before, it's certainly official now. Unwired Planet (formerly Openwave), a former innovator in the WAP browser field, decided back in April
that it was no longer interested in competing in the marketplace. Instead, it set the dials to "troll" and announced a new "corporate strategy," one that would punish actual
innovators for innovating. CEO Mike Mulica announced a "multi-pronged strategy to realize the value of [Unwired Planet's] unique patent portfolio."
Now, an aider and abettor has thrown Unwired Planet 2,185 additional trolling devices
Last week, Unwired Planet, a patent licensing company that once upon a time was an Internet services company called Openwave, announced a deal to acquire a portfolio of 2,185 U.S. and international patents and patents pending from Ericsson.
The company said the deal “significantly broaden[s] Unwired Planet’s Mobile Internet-focused portfolio,” including 753 U.S. issued patents related to 2G, 3G and LTE technologies. Ericsson will also contribute 100 additional patent annually to Unwired Planet from 2014 through 2018. Terms call for Unwired Planet to compensate Ericsson with certain ongoing rights in future revenues generated from the enlarged patent portfolio. Unwired Planet will also grant Ericsson a license to the Company’s enlarged patent portfolio.
In other words, Ericsson will profit from any litigation or settlements Unwired Planet manages to extract from tech companies. Pretty good money, if you don't mind being part of the problem. Mulica was on hand again to put lipstick on the troll-pig with plenty of words that dance around the shakedown-and-sue "business model" Unwired is calling a "corporate strategy" these days.
Unwired Planet CEO Mike Mulica said in a statement that his company looks forward to “leveraging a strong, multi-dimensional patent portfolio and furthering discussions with key industry players who are interested in licensing these inventions to protect and further build their product strategies.”
Well, just replace "leveraging" with "exploiting" and "furthering discussions" with "shakedown letters" and "interested in" with "forced to" and we've got ourselves a sentence! For that matter, let's replace "protect and further build" with "tentatively move forward in a highly litigious atmosphere, infested with tapeworms sporting UP/E logos."
The costs inflicted by the new hybrid tapeworm will, of course, be passed on to the end users in the form of increased costs, fewer innovations and East Texan accents
. Ericsson will receive, in exchange for patents covering a broad swath of "telecommunications infrastructure" (and part of its
reputation), 20% of the first $100 million, increasing to 70% should Unwired be able to hit the $500 million mark. Unwired has already fired an opening salvo in the direction of Apple and Google
, so the sky's the theoretical limit.
In addition, America itself will be blessed with several million more reasons for newly minted lawyers to embrace the patent field, which despite the best (but still very poorly done
) efforts of the US government, still offers a good chance to make big money by doing little more than spamming successful companies with threatening letters.