Motorola Confident In Patent Portfolio: Could They Once Again Be Android’s Saving Grace?

It doesn’t take a fool to know that had it not been for the Motorola Droid line Android would not be half as popular as it is today. The company put forth a lot of resources into the Android front and for a few months was nearly the sole reason Android devices sold. Once again Motorola might be Android’s saving grace. Motorola’s CEO, Sanjay Jha, even went as far as saying that shareholder value might benefit from their patents. Looks like Motorola knows something we don’t.

The smartphone news world is becoming polluted with more patent related stories than actual technology advances. Just a few months ago no one seemed to care much about the lawsuits being flung around. For some reason that all changed when Apple sued HTC for the second time. Suddenly Apple is irritating the masses enough that not only are people starting to question whether or not they’re becoming a patent troll, but the Federal Government themselves are starting to look at patent cases in fear of foul play. While all of this hoopla goes on, Motorola seems to be offering their fans some words of comfort. In their recent Q2 earnings call, Sanjay Jha did a bit of boasting toward not only their sales, but their patent portfolio. Motorola has been in the phone industry a long time. Jha reminded everyone of how many patents the company held in 2G/3G technologies, 4G LTE and Wimax innovations, and mobile handset technology in general. But analysts point that this bit of press could mean 3 things from the company that made Droid a household name.

  1. Motorola could be doing some patent suing/counter suing of their own.
  2. They could sit on a few patents rather than license them out to the competition.
  3. The most interesting possibility addressed was that Motorola could sell/share a few key patents with Google.

No matter which of those three Motorola decides to focus on, it definitely seems that Motorola is once again taking Android under its experienced wing. Good news for Android and Google: In terms of patent portfolios, Motorola is one of the best allies you can have. You know how upset Google was to lose out on those Nortel patents? To put it in perspective, Motorola owns nearly 3 times as many mobile patents as Nortel. 17,000 individual patents to be precise. Another interesting piece of info is that many analysts view Motorola’s patent portfolio as possibly the strongest in the mobile field and the company that has the best patent defense against Apple’s war machine. Interestingly, Motorola sued Apple with the power of 18 patents and Apple was only able to respond with 6. The feds may not have to worry about Android’s ability to defend itself against patent suits if Motorola is serious about backing Android.

All of this begs an interesting question: The Android manufacturers are being picked apart by Apple in the courtrooms. You have to wonder that if things look grim they’ll join up together in order to prevent themselves. Everyone knows wars are won based on the allies you have. Could an Android coalition be inevitable? Google, Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and LG might be quite the force to be reckoned with if they lock arms in this patent race.

The patent war has begun.

[via thestreet]


About the Author: Andrew Greenfield

Andrew Greenfield was born and raised in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. He is currently attending THE Ohio State University where he is majoring in Honors Industrial & Systems Engineering. He was allowed to pick a smartphone for college and has been surgically attached to his Evo ever since. When not playing around with his phone, Andrew enjoys playing frisbee, football, soccer, Super Smash Bros, fixing the technology for the technologically impaired, and making fun of M*chigan fans.


  • Peter Mackey

    It would be better if motorola and android become one. M makes very good to decent handsets, and then we can finally stop with the fragmentation and dumb UIs. M gives us as good phones as the other companies and if it was android and Moto only there wouldn’t be motoblur or ninjablur… And there will still be options because motorola makes all types of phones. There is no way Motorola helps android if it will help the other manufacturers, they are already losing lots of customers to htc and samsung.

  • sam

    Dude if u think moto will not help android, then ur dead wrong. Even if they help their competition, they are not stupid to turn their back on their fellow Android carriers like HTC, Samsung and LG. If they don’t help fight Apple and turn their backs on them, its like telling Google to fuck off. If they do that, then moto can say goodbye to the Droid branding, cause I think Google owns that along with Android. The only way to beat patent troll Apple is if they all work together. Unlike Apple who only creates one handset the i *hone Android brings variety which in turn creates amazingly powerful phones in turn. Just look at te galaxy s2. That is an amazing handset and Apple is scared cause they don’t innovate anymore. Instead they try to sue the competition vice innovating. If they created more phones instead of just one a year then they would let the phones talk for theirselves instead of suing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Apple start suing when they were losing the smartphone shares? Ever since Android became top dog in the market as top os?

  • Sulan B

    Microsoft is a Patent troll

  • Curt

    @Sam – Google does NOT own the Droid Brand… that is owned by Lucas Films, and it is licensed to Verizon Wireless. That is why you see Motorola and HTC had Droid phones. Verizon only allows certain phones to carry the Droid name.

    @Peter – Motorola will not drop the (insertnamehere)blur. Even if they had Android all to themselves, they still think that it provides value to people. I personally don’t mind motoblurlite that is on my droid X. There are a few features that I like, a couple that I don’t like, but in the end, I could change if I wanted to, but it doesn’t make that much difference to me.

    Fragmentation is not as bad as some people think. Mostly the differences are just the front end UI on each of the manufacturers. It would be nice if the manufacturers would give people a choice to use/not use their UI, but that would mean more testing, more programming because of the hooks that sink into Android for their UI to work. To make it dual purpose, would mean a lot more time waiting for updates/upgrades to the Android System.

    The nice thing about Android is that people have a choice in handsets, choices in features, choices in carriers. Apple provides only one handset, take it or leave it. Yes, there are fewer problems with iOS, but when you control the software and the hardware, you make easily make it a little more stable. For me personally, my X has been really stable. Most of my problems I have are app related. If a developer releases an app that is unstable, the market for their app will decline. So it is in the developers interest to make as stable an app as they can.

    Apple’s problem is that they have patents on stupid things. Some of their patents should have never been issued because of a process, not an innovation. Some things are not in the best interest of the public to have one company own a patent on the process.

    Microsoft also does the same thing, but they have been either doing it to a lesser scale, or more behind the scenes. I find it funny that Microsoft gets royalties for every handset that HTC sells.

  • Shadow

    I’ve had 2 iphones and an evo. My iphones were by far less stable than my evo. My evo is much less buggy, even though I use cyanogen nighties. The biggest problem with the iphone though is its reliance on itunes.