Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Openwave fights back

A day after Openwave announced it has come to an agreement with Myriad group to settle their patent dispute, Openwave files for legal action against Apple and RIM.

If you remember, Openwave invented most of the technology around the mobile internet and browsing on a phone. Back in the days, it was called WAP. The user experience was poor (monochrome, slow, text based browsing) but was the foundation for today's Smartphones and tablets' success.
Openwave was then the uncontested market leader in the growing browsing gateway business and was licensing its technology to most handset makers, along with a WAP browser.

In 2008, then in full reorganization, Openwave sells the browser and messaging business unit to Purple Labs for $32M. It was not a glorious moment, after being the pioneer and leader of mobile internet, Openwave was separating from key assets to alleviate the financial pains it was experiencing. Along with these business units, a number of patents were transferred to Purple Labs. Purple Labs, now Myriad group has been contesting Openwave's right to use some of the technology derived from these patents and yesterday's announcement is now settling that matter. Openwave essentially buys back the patents for $12M.

Some of these patents are now the basis for the legal action filed today by Openwave against Apple and RIM.
"The complaint, filed at the International Trade Commission in Washington, DC, requests that the ITC bar the import of smartphones and tablet computers that infringe Openwave patents, including, but not limited to, Apple’s iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch, iPad and iPad 2; and RIM’s Blackberry Curve 9330 and Blackberry PlayBook."

  •  Openwave's 212 patent generally allows a user to use e-mail applications on a mobile device when the network is unavailable — such as when a user is on an airplane.
  • Openwave's 409 patent generally allows the mobile device to operate seamlessly, and securely, with a server over a wireless network. 
  • Openwave's 037 patent generally allows access to updated versions of applications on mobile devices. 
  • Openwave's 447 patent generally allows consumers to experience an improved user experience in navigating through various pages of information without delay. 
  • Openwave's 608 patent generally relates to cloud computing. For example, the 608 patent enables data to be accessed or shared by different devices such as mobile handsets or computers. 
These legal actions won't change Openwave's capacity to effectively market their technology, but their capacity to monetize their intellectual property, if successful, will impact positively their valuation in the mid term.

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