Apple has purchased a large number of LTE mobile technology related patents in an apparent attempt to prepare for any possible legal disputes with Samsung. The Korean tech giant has reportedly vowed to sue Apple if it releases a device using LTE technology.
LTE standard patents registered with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute show that Apple had no LTE patents last year but has now acquired 318 patents or 4.9 percent of total LTE patents to rank among the top 10 patent holders, the Korea Intellectual Property Office said Monday.
Samsung Electronics had 819 (12.7 percent) to rank first, followed by the U.S. patent company InterDigital with 780 patents (12.1 percent). China’s Huawei ranked fifth with 402 (6.2 percent).
Apple has only developed 44 of the 318 LTE patents it holds, it bought the rest from Nortel and Freescale last year. Patent enforcement firm Rockstar Bidco, which Apple holds a majority stake in, owns another 116 LTE patents, giving Apple a total of 434 in all.
A KIPO official was quoted as saying that, “”This shows that Apple has been taking strategic steps to acquire intellectual property to prepare for potential legal disputes.”
However, industry insiders say it is undisclosed commercial patents, rather than disclosed standard technological patents, that can play key roles in patent disputes, so it is unknown if Apple has gained any possible advantage.