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Patents go towards a mobile firm who recent merged with a well-known patent troll whose already sued Google once

How much do 500 patents covering complex third and fourth generation wireless algorithms and hardware go for these days?  The answer, for cash-strapped Finnish phonemaker Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) is apparently $22M USD.

Nokia sold the patents to Vringo.  Vringo was founded in 2006 as a mobile software firm, and has specialized in delivering content to mobile devices.  However, in 2012 it switched gears, merging with Innovate/Protect Inc. a notorious patent monger/non-practicing entity (NPE). That company in 2011 successfully sued Google Inc. (GOOG), AOL, IAC/InterActive Corp. (IACI), Gannett Comp. (GCI), and Target Corp. (TGT), among others, using a pair of patents acquired from near-defunct search site Lycos.

Of the 500 patents handed to the "troll", 109 are U.S. patents.  And just to eliminate any ambiguity, Vringo said it was eager to soon start on a campaign of lawsuits and forced licensing.

The NPE estimates it could make $31.2M USD from Nokia's patents, almost a 50 percent return on its investment.

Nokia has a history of being a chaotic-bringer in the world of intellectual property.  The company personally started the mobile patent war by suing Apple, Inc. (AAPL) in 2009, eventually reaching a favorable settlement.  More recently it has transferred some patents (at no charge) to affiliated non-practicing entities (trolls) to sue its smartphone rivals.

Given the filing dates, Vringo says the patents should be good for another 6.7 years, on average.

One of the U.S. foremost senior intellectual property experts -- Judge Richard A. Posner, a sitting judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals who occasionally moonlights as a judge in Chicago's U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois -- recently declared that the U.S. intellectual property system was "broken", singling out non-practicing entities and junk software patents as signs of its demise.

Source: The Wall Street Journal





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