Ina Fried

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Google, Apple Hit With Patent Suit From Early Mobile Web Pioneer

While Google and Apple are often on opposite ends of patent battles, they are both targets in a new attack.

Unwired Planet, formerly known as Openwave, said on Thursday that it has sued both companies for patent infringement. In separate suits filed in Nevada Federal Court, each company is accused of violating 10 of Unwired Planet’s patents.

In the Apple case, Unwired Planet is charging infringement on patents related to cloud messaging, mobile digital content and location services, among other features. With Google, Unwired Planet says the Android developer is infringing on patents related to Google AdWords, Google Wallet, and mobile search and advertising.

An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment. A Google representative said the company had no comment and said it had yet to be served with a copy of the lawsuit.

The suits are part of Unwired Planet’s effort to transform itself from a maker of mobile browsers to a company focused on its patent holdings. Openwave was a pioneer in the market for basic mobile browsers using the WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) standard.

“Today’s actions follow a careful review that we launched in late 2011 as we began to transform Unwired Planet into an Intellectual Property company,” Unwired Planet CEO Mike Mulica said in a staement. “This litigation marks a key step in our multi-pronged strategy to maximize shareholder value through the licensing of our robust portfolio of patents and to protect our IP through litigation against unlicensed parties as necessary.”

As part of that shift, the company is relocating to business-friendly (and patent-friendly) Nevada.

“Nevada has been chosen as one of 14 districts across the United States as a pilot patent district and it has developed specialized procedures to handle complex patent cases,” Mulica said. “As a result, we believe the Nevada district will be an ideal venue to resolve this matter with efficiency and expertise.”


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald