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Motorola's Most Important 18 Patents 137

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-heard-they-patented-sandwiches dept.
quarterbuck writes "Bloomberg has a story on Google's acquisition of Motorola and quotes IP lawyers who claim that 18 patents dating to 1994 are probably what Google is after. These patents cover technology essential to the mobile-device industry, including location services, antenna designs, e-mail transmission, touchscreen motions, software-application management and third-generation wireless."
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Motorola's Most Important 18 Patents

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  • Okay, I give up. (Score:5, Informative)

    by dtmos (447842) * on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @08:01AM (#37177050)

    Which 18 patents are they? You'd think in a 23-paragraph article they would have found space to list them.

    • by tedgyz (515156) * on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @08:04AM (#37177092) Homepage

      Details? We don't need no stinking details!

      What would expect from a financial news site. The bean counters eyes might glaze over if they revealed such information.

      • Or reveal insight as opposed to whatever they feel rings true with their own marketing belief.

        Take Forbes...
        Thinking Of Buying A $99 TouchPad? Don't [forbes.com]

        Reasons for not buying a TouchPad, a more than capable piece of hardware that is perfectly functional, lets you browse the interwebs, run photo slideshows, play media files, etc. etc. so even if it's not exactly a Galaxy Tab it still makes for a kick-ass digital photoframe?

        1. Hardware: Bulkier, lower battery life, just one camera.
        2. Software: There's not as many

        • by Intron (870560)

          "just one camera" - wooh

          Does anyone else believe that Apple should have put one decent camera in the iPad instead of two crappy ones? Here's a review:

          http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/03/just-how-bad-is-the-ipad-2-camera/ [wired.com]

        • I was thinking about buying one.

          But there's no good reason to do so. Lets break it down by use:

          1) Use as normal tablet. The iPad has better hardware for the most part, and vastly better software. Even an Android tablet would serve you better software wise.

          2) Use for a mix of hacking/normal tablet use. Essentially the same argument, only now you start to consider the hacking communities are greatly more robust for either Android / iOS.

          So basically if you are about to buy one, stop and think - might you n

          • by macslut (724441)
            Your comment is just as bad as the article. I love my iPad 2, and loved the original iPad before it, but for $100, the TouchPad is pretty damn awesome. I would've gotten one just for a picture frame if I could have gotten my hands on one.
            • I'm not saying the tablet was not pretty nice. But I really can't see owning one... are you sure you can't get a better digital frame for $100 these days?

              I am as guilty as anyone here of buying gadgets at various times that were interesting but then just sat around. Already having an iPad I couldn't see that I would ever use this. I thought about buying one for my parents but that seemed more like a curse than a blessing. Basically there are a lot of ways $100 can be better spent, including as part of a

              • are you sure you can't get a better digital frame for $100 these days?

                Quite sure.

                For one thing, the vast majority of the digital photo frames out there do not have built-in batteries. That means you can't just pass it around (without strangling people with the cord).
                For another, most don't do video beyond a subset of 640x480.
                Add another.. say somebody likes the picture, and would like a copy? Most digital photo frames, you're screwed. Remove the card, stick it into a computer, find the picture again, etc

                • For one thing, the vast majority of the digital photo frames out there do not have built-in batteries.

                  While true, you'd mostly want a photo frame to be plugged in all the time anyway. If you want to "pass around photos" mostly you use a tablet for that...

                  For another, most don't do video beyond a subset of 640x480.

                  How long has it been since you have looked at digital photo frames? Most are beyond VGA res now, like this one [slashdot.org]. That's well under $100.

                  Also note that it LOOKS like a photo frame, not like a tabl

        • by LibRT (1966204)
          I stopped reading Forbes when they started gushing repeatedly about facebook without disclosing in any of the articles that they are owned by Elevation Partners, which has a significant stake in facebook (1%+, if I recall). Fred Anderson, former Executive VP and CFO of Apple is a founding member of Elevation Partners, so I guess that explains the current gushing about iStuff...
      • What? I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you. I was being bombarded with too many ads to hear what you had to say about financial details. :>

    • But that would ruin the surprise when the patent lawyer shows up!
    • by Idbar (1034346)
      You wouldn't be reading TFA anyways. I see you also managed to actually read the summary before commenting! Outrageous!
    • The Patents (Score:4, Informative)

      by chrb (1083577) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @12:08PM (#37180622)

      6 patents from Illinois 1 lawsuit [patentlyapple.com]:

      5,311,516 [uspto.gov] Paging System Using Message Fragmentation to Redistribute Traffic
      5,319,712 [uspto.gov] Method and Apparatus for Providing Cryptographic Protection of Data Stream in a Communication System
      5,490,230 [uspto.gov] Digital Speech Coder Having Optimized Signal Energy Parameters
      5,572,193 [uspto.gov] Method for Authentication and Protection of Subscribers in Telecommunications Systems
      6,175,559 [uspto.gov] Method for Generating Preamble Sequences in a Code Division Multiple Access System
      6,359,898 [uspto.gov] Method for Performing a Countdown Function During a Mobile-Originated Transfer for a Packet Radio System

      6 patents from Illinois 2 lawsuit [patentlyapple.com]:

      5,359,317 [uspto.gov] Method and apparatus for selectively storing a portion of a received message in a selective call receiver
      5,636,223 [uspto.gov] Methods of adaptive channel access attempts
      6,246,697 [uspto.gov] Method and system for generating a complex pseudonoise sequence for processing a code division multiple access signal
      6,246,862 [uspto.gov] Sensor controlled user interface for portable communication device
      6,272,333 [uspto.gov] Method and apparatus in a wireless communication system for controlling a delivery of data
      7,751,826 [uspto.gov] System and method for E911 location privacy protection

      6 patents from Florida [patentlyapple.com]:

      5,710,987 [uspto.gov] Receiver having concealed external antenna
      5,754,119 [uspto.gov] Multiple pager status synchronization system and method
      5,958,006 [uspto.gov] Method and apparatus for communicating summarized data
      6,008,737 [uspto.gov] Apparatus for controlling utilization of software added to a portable communication device
      6,101,531 [uspto.gov] System for communicating user-selected criteria filter prepared at wireless client to communication server for filtering data transferred from host to said wireless client
      6,377,161 [uspto.gov] Method and apparatus in a wireless messaging system for facilitating an exchange of address information

  • Email transmission? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @08:02AM (#37177064)
    How the hell can a 1994 patent cover email transmission?
    • by RobWalker (623706)
      Errr .. because email was around way before 1994. Maybe not in it's current form, and maybe not as prevalent - but it certainly existed way before then
      • by Skarecrow77 (1714214) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @08:12AM (#37177194)

        Errr .. because email was around way before 1994. Maybe not in it's current form, and maybe not as prevalent - but it certainly existed way before then

        Outlook and Exchange weren't around in 1994. POP3 and SMTP most certainly were.

        Email actually hasn't changed much at all since 1994.

        • by danlip (737336)

          right, which would imply that any patent on email from 1994 or later would run into prior art.
          (got my first email account in 1989, not much has changed except the clients)

        • Email actually hasn't changed much at all since 1994.

          "Email", yes, but this patent is for "email on a mobile device!"

      • by Cyberax (705495) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @08:23AM (#37177362)

        SMTP is described in RFC 822 dated August 13, 1982.

        By 1994 e-mail was pretty much as it is right now. Maybe without current spam-blocking techniques.

        • Yep. It's amazing how little e-mail has changed since it was invented in the mid-sixties [multicians.org]. (Incidentally, that link also reveals to the young computer history student that unsolicited mass mailings date to 1971, and unsolicited commercial mass mailings date to 1978. Feel free to pick which one is spammier in your mind.)
        • Maybe without current spam-blocking techniques.

          because none was needed. until a pair of low life bottom-feeding douche bag lawyers [wikimedia.org] spammed usenet with their green card lottery spew (repeatedly,) and "inspired" millions of other bottom-feeders to copy their exploits (effectively destroyed usenet and e-mail as an useful communication medium,) spam was unheard of. (no, don't get me started on AoL'ers)

          • Like almost everything that's been patented in the last twenty years, A) this wasn't really new, it was just new on the internet*, and B) it was obvious enough that someone else would have done it shortly thereafter anyway.

            Doesn't make them less scummy though. =)

            * Crap left in my door, bulk mail, and robocalls all predate this.

        • Remember....

          The Web is not the internet - The internet is ~ 20 years older than the Web

          Email is not tied to the internet, it is around 10 years older then the internet .... !

        • by Intron (870560)

          Junk mail predates SMTP. It's described as a problem in RFC 706 [ietf.org], Nov 1975

    • by DarthVain (724186)

      Considering I wrote documentation for some software called "Pegasus Mail" for a university, I'm pretty sure e-mail was alive and well (as part of my high school co-op program no less).

      Not available to normal pleabs maybe, but it was available mostly for education and government uses.

      But your right, that was also the time I was still dialing into BBS's with a 2400 baud modem...

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Why not? It's not like patenting something dcades after it was actually invented by someone else is unusual...

      But not all the patents will be from 1994, just the oldest one (one would hope, since that's an expensive way to get some patents 3 years before they expire)...

      • Why not? It's not like patenting something dcades after it was actually invented by someone else is unusual..

        Correct.

        It's not 'performing the act' that's something that's considered "wrong" or "unethical" in patent-hungry individuals' minds, it's 'getting caught' that matters.

      • by jdgeorge (18767)

        Mmmm... Dare I even suggest that people read the claims of the patent before concluding that it was invalid?

        Oh, right - the article didn't provide any useful details or a link to the patents, so all we can do is jump to conclusions.

        Score: "Journalists" 1, Readers 0, Slashdotters -1.

        (Yes, I'm in the last group. Mea culpa.)

        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          Except that no conclusion about the patents validity was being made at all (well until you jumped in I guess).

          Just that one person thought an email patent at that time is strange, and one person did not. Neither making any comment about the validity or not. And a comment on general patents, not on the ones in question.

          • by jdgeorge (18767)

            Really? I interpreted

            Why not? It's not like patenting something dcades after it was actually invented by someone else is unusual...

            as implying that the patent should be invalid because the invetion was decades old before the patent was granted.

            In any case, I only suggest that it's hard to judge the validity of a patent without seeing the claims. Aside from arguments about the validity of patents in general, of course.

            • by nedlohs (1335013)

              No, implying that having a patent from 1994 related to email transmission isn't strange, since email transmission was decades old at the time so you would expect there to be patents left and right. And since there are numerous patents for things that clearly were invented by someone else earlier there's bound to be huge numbers of them for decades old technology.

              Though yes any from 1994 would have to be invalid since nothing non-obvious had been done in the 20 years prior, but that wasn't the point. Lots wa

    • by jesseck (942036)

      How the hell can a 1994 patent cover email transmission?

      Well, the lawyers saw that "on the Internet" was already taken, but not "On the wireless".

      • Which would still be inapplicable, since there were Fidonet nodes that used shortwave radio to exchange mail with each other, and likely many other wireless transmission systems before that.
      • by jd (1658)

        I thought they were called "transistor radios" rather than "the wireless" by the 1990s. Damn.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There are RFC's for sending messages/mail over a network back in the 70's.

      The original RFC for SMTP is from 1982 - http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc0821.txt

    • What I'm wondering is . . . don't they have only like 3 years left on those patents?

      • Well, I guess blocking Apple out of the market for 3 years, or even just for two years, would be disastrous for Apple. So those patents can be an effective weapon even with only 3 years left.

        • That and countering MS on their patents as well. For as much as Apple and Google are at odds, MS is hurting Google's partners directly and financially.
          • by Rockoon (1252108)
            Its still Microsoft's Patents vs Motorola's Android Devices. Google's purchasing of Motorola Mobility doesnt "counter" shit because Google doesnt have any relevant patents of its own.

            If Google were to purchase ANOTHER portfolio of mobile patents that could be combined with Motorola's.. then that might have a chance at helping to counter the lawsuits.. as it stands tho, absolutely nothing has changed.

            ..and just to be clear, the pending lawsuits are against actual devices which run Android, they are not a
      • by jd (1658)

        And this stopped the lawsuits over the GIF patents?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I just got the same feeling that my professor in Computer Languages 101 must have gotten (around 1994)
      when I asked the following question after he
      told us that he programmed the first compiler 196X...
      I asked, but "what language did you use to program the compiler?"
      "HEX, young (ignorant) man, we programmed it in HEX"

      • by jd (1658)

        Early computers used Octal, not Hex, and technically the language would have been the instruction set not the format of entry. I also suspect your professor was confusing assemblers with compilers. I will also have to deduct marks from your professor for poor use of language.

    • by jovius (974690)

      It was supposed to be femail transmission but they typoed it - and lived in solitude for ever after.

    • by IrquiM (471313)
      Maybe it's pressing the send button on a touch screen, using a flat device with rounded corner, and the screen placed in the middle of the device?
    • by chrb (1083577)

      The same way a 1999 patent can cover using a regex to markup email?

      The game is simple. Take an old existing concept (email). Find some simple way to adapt it to a modern UI (regex match URLs, numbers etc.). Incorporate this into your GUI (highlight the text). Voila! You now have a feature that is patentable.

      Motorola's "18 patents" include several that could apply to email:
      Method and apparatus for communicating summarized data,
      System for communicating user-selected criteria filter prepared at wireless clie

  • by AwaxSlashdot (600672) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @08:24AM (#37177368) Homepage Journal

    Some of those patents are encumbered by FRAND : Fair, Reasonnable and Non Discrimatory.
    Such patents are essentiel to a global normalisation in which participant have to disclose their related patents and licence them in a fair, reasonnable and non discriminatory way. You can use them to get royalties but you'll have a hard time using them to block someone.

    Remember, in Nokia vs Apple, Apple settlement rather quickly. In Apple vs Motorola, the litigation is still pending. So it seems that Apple considers those patents are rather weak.

    At last, remember, Google bought Motorola also because it threatened OTHER ANDROID licensees !!!

    • Some of those patents are encumbered by FRAND : Fair, Reasonnable and Non Discrimatory.

      You're full of shit - I read the article and nowhere does it mention that. Have you *any* evidence that makes you believe that even one of those 17000 patents are FRAND patents?

      • http://lmgtfy.com/?q=motorola+patent+frand [lmgtfy.com]

        Not exactly conclusive evidence, but on balance, you're the one with more shit.

        Congrats on reading the article though. Next time try a bit harder before randomly insulting people.

        • You should read your own links - "Not Conclusive" is not the same as "OMG THOSE PATENTS ARE FRAND PATENTS". GP kept going on (5 different posts) about how those patents are FRAND patents - I called him on it, as no court has yet ruled that those patents are indeed FRAND patents (and no one has posted what those FRAND patents are supposed to be). Whats the problem with that? He's [i]still[/i] full of shit because there is [i]still[/i] no evidence that those are FRAND patents.
          • Heh. Get a life dude.

            I'm not aware of any court ruling that those patents are not frand patents either. You're at least as baseless in flinging that shit around.

            • You're offering up the creationist argument here - I'm not making the assertion that those are FRAND patents, you and ggp are, so you provide the evidence, as I've been unable to find any.

              Or, alternatively, perhaps go back to bible studies where arguments like the ones you and ggp are making carry weight.
    • by rsborg (111459)

      Some of those patents are encumbered by FRAND : Fair, Reasonnable and Non Discrimatory.
      Such patents are essentiel to a global normalisation in which participant have to disclose their related patents and licence them in a fair, reasonnable and non discriminatory way. You can use them to get royalties but you'll have a hard time using them to block someone.

      But would these patents be good for defense, and not in a "mutually assured destruction" kind of way? Do they act as anti-weaponry and nullify the attacks of Apple, Microsoft and others?

      If so, then Google may still be able to utilize Zerg tactics, using defenses to delay offensive manuevers, while building a massive swarm that engulfs the battlefield. Yes, I see Google as the Zerg, Apple are the Protoss, and Microsoft are the Terrans.

  • It can't possibly because Motorola is a huge manufacturer of mobile phones and Google, as they have shown many times in the past, is interested in further diversifying their product line beyond software (well, really just ads) and expanding into the more difficult to get into but also much more stable field of hardware in order to deploy their Android platform in a more consistent manner, can it? No, surely it must just be for this patent portfolio. After all, patents are the only thing of value these days.

    • by gubers33 (1302099)
      Obviously, getting into the hardware market was one of the driving forces to buy Motorola Mobility, but there is a reason they looked to buy the oldest mobile phone maker. They knew that if they were going to jump into the hardware market that they would be jumping off the sidelines and into the fire of Apple. The patents they acquired allow them to jump into the market while giving them the firepower to force Apple to stand down.
  • so who will buy the HP Mobile business (formerly Palm AFAIU)?

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      My understanding is that the talent at Palm left when HP took over, so it's not exactly an attractive proposition.

      • These companies don't care about talent. I bet the Palm division has a bunch of attractive patents related to touchscreen interfaces: the first Palm pilot was released in 1996 [wikipedia.org]. Honestly patents are worth so much these days that I doubt that HP would be willing to sell them.
  • by gubers33 (1302099) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @08:58AM (#37177836)
    "Apple also filed a civil suit in March accusing Motorola Mobility of 'a pattern of unfair, deceptive and anticompetitive conduct' ". Does anyone else see this as a hypocritical statement considering what Apple has been doing suing the pants off anyone who makes a smart phone or tablet?
  • Too bad they don't have a search function.

    No, I'm not biased; this is posted to make a statement about the direction of Google, which is also not biased. Just observation.

    http://facesoflawsuitabuse.org/ [facesoflawsuitabuse.org]

  • I thought patents lasted for 7 years and could be extended to 14 if you could come up with a functional improvement. Has that changed?
    • I don't know where you heard that... All I've heard is 20 years or 17 years, which is what's pretty well summarized here:

      Quick quote from it:

      For applications filed before June 8, 1995, the term is 17 years from the issue date or 20 years from the earliest claimed domestic priority date, the longer term applying.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_patent_law [wikipedia.org]

      • Perhaps quasius was confusing maintenance fees, reissues, and a lot of other obscure aspects of U.S. patent law that aren't discussed very often even on Slashdot. A U.S. patent lasts 3.5 years after issue, with three renewals [uspto.gov] available at extra cost. The first two renewals are 4 years each, and the third is to 20 years after filing or 17 years after issue.
    • by Amouth (879122)

      believe it's 14 years for a design and 20 years for functionality

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        believe it's 14 years for a design and 20 years for functionality

        5 for design, actually - so yes, in 2006 you could make an MP3 player that looked like the original iPod (but only in looks - functionality is covered by a different set of patents). Heck, it was speculated back then if the iPod competitors would look like the original iPod.

        And patent law's really strange enough - it's 20 years after filing, or 17 years after approval, depending on when the patent was actually filed. We're coming to the end of

  • If they only wanted the patents, wouldn't it have been cheaper just to license them?

  • (FTFA)
    "In a patent-infringement case that started today at the International Trade Commission, Microsoft
      accused Motorola Mobility of infringing seven of its patents and requested a halt to imports of certain
      Motorola phones. The trial is the first smartphone dispute to be heard since Google announced it would
      buy Motorola Mobility."

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