Recent research for 4G LTE standard essential patents (SEPs) reviles one interesting point: Among the top patentees for SEPs such as Samsung, LG, Qualcomm, Motorola, and Nokia, there is a patentee - Innovative Sonic – that was never been noticed before. Innovative Sonic holds total of 44 LTE related patents of which 8 patents are identified to be potential candidate for 4G LTE SEPs (for details, see http://techipm-innovationfrontline.blogspot.com/2013/05/4g-lte-standard-essential-patent.html).
Innovative Sonic is a Mauritius corporation based in Taiwan. Innovative Sonic sued BlackBerry for patent infringement base on two patents transferred from ASUSTeK Computer: US6925183(http://assignments.uspto.gov/assignments/q?db=pat&qt=pat&reel=&frame=&pat=6925183&pub=&asnr=&asnri=&asne=&asnei=&asns=)
Furthermore, during the discovery for the litigation, it was found that engineers of ASUSTeK supported pre-litigation infringement testing of BlackBerry’s products (Innovative Sonic v. Research In Motion, Case 3:11-cv-00706-K Document 339 Filed 03/01/13). Additionally, many patents of Innovative Sonic are owned by ASUSTeK previously. These facts may show that Innovative Sonic is a patent privateer for ASUSTeK.
Patent privateering is a type of trolling practice that patent holders assign a patent assertion entity (PAE) to engage in exploiting their IPRs (for the origin of privateering, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privateer). This kind of outsourcing practice of patent enforcement to PAEs can adversely affect to industries and consumers. First of all, patent privateering can increase patent lawsuits significantly because PAEs do not make products or services, and thus, they don’t need to worry about counter lawsuits. Second, patent privateering can harm consumers directly because PAEs willingly sue consumers instead of manufactures or service provides.
In addition to Innovative Sonic, there are several entities that are suspected to be a patent privateer:
Unwired Planet: Ericsson agreed to assign 2,185 patents (http://www.techinvestornews.com/Mobile/Latest-Mobile-News/ericsson-sells-2185-mobile-tech-patents-to-newly-minted-troll-unwired-plane)