Google tips LTE patents into mostly-public pool

Mountain View offers a fair square of 4G chocolate to the standard

The LTE rollout has moved a little closer to avoiding sueball spats that have long plagued the tech biz, with Google tipping a bucket of its IP into Via Licensing.

Via Licensing, set up years ago by Dolby Laboratories, set up an LTE patent pool in 2012, with ten participants including names like AT&T and Clearwire, KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom and ZTE.

The Chocolate Factory stirred a large number of LTE patents into its mix when it acquired Motorola, and it retained most of those patents when it sold Moto to Lenovo.

Although that sale saw Lenovo pay US$10 billion less to buy Motorola (along with around 2,000 of Moto's patents and an arrangement covering the rest) than Google forked out in 2011, Mountain View reckoned the portfolio it kept from the inventor of the cell-phone were worth the balance.

The members of the Via Licensing pool promise each other to stick to the spirit of standards-essential patents and make their technology available to each other under “fair, predictable and cost-effective royalties”.

The deal won't, however, have any direct impact on Google's thorny patent relationships with Apple or Microsoft, but to the extent that those companies use LTE patents in the Via pool, they will at least be able to claim that the rates they should pay should be based on the pool rates.

As well as the companies named above, the other via members are China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, DTVG Licensing, Hewlett-Packard, Telecom Italia and Telefonica.

Via Licensing's canned announcement is here. ®

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