Google to FTC: Stop Nokia’s Patent Privateers

With a filing with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice Friday, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) hopes to stop the so-called patent privateering supported by tech companies like Nokia (NYSE:NOK). Both Nokia and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) were identified as companies who contract third-party patent assertion entities (PAEs) to enforce the protection of proprietary technology. Blackberry (NASDAQ:BBRY) was on board with Google for this FTC-DOJ filing.

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The complicated nature of technology company lawsuits can shed light on the need for a PAE. Normally, if a company like Google were to file suit against a competitor like Microsoft over patents, the two companies would reach an agreement that gave credit to each individual company while determining the share each has in its technology. PAEs are useful to a company since they don’t produce products. Therefore, any settlement would lead to larger losses for the company not represented by PAEs, known in the industry as patent privateers.

Google and Blackberry claim they have been on the bad end of many deals, forcing them to take issue with the role of PAEs in the tech industry. Nokia was mentioned as an offender in this regard, though the company maintained its right to contract PAEs in a FTC-DOJ hearing last December. According to Bloomberg, a Nokia executive defended the system as “a very important channel for us to monetize and realize the value of research and development.” In this respect, Nokia is asserting its underdog status…

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