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DataQuill sees opportunity in mobile patent lawsuits

DataQuill is looking to cash in on the legal wrangling taking place in mobile and sell patents that cover the ability to shop via a mobile device.

Patents are an increasingly important part of the mobile ecosystem as both a protection against lawsuits as well as having revenue-generating potential via licensing agreements. DataQuill’s technology includes a merchandising system that lets users browse and buy items via a wireless device,  which has been licensed to numerous companies.

“The inventors are aware that the market is different now than in the past,” said David Berten, a founder and partner with Global IP Law Group, LLC.

“Things like HTC’s purchase of S3 Graphics or the Intel auction reflect a willingness to purchase portfolios, and pretty big value portfolios like theirs, he said.

Right time
DataQuill has retained Global IP Law Group – which has offices in Chicago, Auckland, London and Seoul  – to help manage the sale process.

DataQuill is based in the British Virgin Islands.

The time may be right for DataQuill to sell its patents because of the growth in mobile, per Mr. Berten.

“With the introduction of the iPad and other tablets, there has been a rapid increase in recent years of DataQuill’s technology,” Mr. Berten said.

Essentially, the patents cover the ability for a user of a cell phone or tablet to select merchandisable items to get further information or to buy them.

The technology has been licensed to ten handsets manufacturers.

“It is pretty seminal technology,” Mr. Berten said.

“These are the type of patents that will help buyers either maintain their position in the smartphone or tablet market or it could be used by some buyers to try and increase market share by enforcing the patent rights,” he said.

In the U.S., DataQuill has been involved in legal proceedings protecting the patents against Handspring/Palm, Kyocera, Nokia, Research in Motion and HTC. The HTC case is pending.

Outside the U.S., DataQuill reports that it defeated a European Opposition proceeding initiated by Nokia.

The company is asking for non-binding letters of interest to be submitted by September 30 and hopes to complete a transaction by the end of the year.

“Having an intellectual property portfolio is becoming strategically more important in mobile,” said Michael Morgan, senior analyst for mobile devices at ABI Research, New York.

“This might be the perfect time for DataQuill to get the best price for what they have,” he said.

“These patents could be useful to the right person.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is assoc. editor on Mobile Commerce Daily