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Lenovo to acquire 3G and LTE mobile patent licences from Unwired Planet

21 March 2014

The world's largest PC maker, Lenovo Group Ltd, which is now diversifying into mobile devices, has struck a deal to buy a portfolio of patents from intellectual property and technology licensing company Unwired Planet Inc, for $100 million in cash.

Unwired Planet, whose intellectual property is focused on the mobile industry, said that the patents to be sold consists of 21 patents for 3G and LTE mobile technologies and other important mobility patents.

Under the terms of the deal, which is expected to close in 30 days, Lenovo is licensed to use Unwired Planet's intellectual property portfolio for a number of years, covering standard essential, implementation, and application layer technology for mobile devices.

The patent purchase consists of 21 patent families owned by Unwired Planet, including patents for 3G and LTE mobile technologies and other important mobility patents.

Following the transaction, Unwired Planet's portfolio will consist of approximately 2,500 issued and pending US and foreign patents.

"This investment is an extension of Lenovo's existing intellectual property portfolio," said Jay Clemens, general counsel of Lenovo. "It will serve the company well as we grow and develop our worldwide smartphone and mobile PC Plus business in new markets."

''We are pleased to have reached an agreement with one of the world's leading global technology companies," said Philip Vachon, chairman of Unwired Planet and head of its Intellectual Property Committee.

Lenovo is trying to expand into the smartphone market as the global PC market shrinks. Early this year it acquired Motorola Mobility handset unit from Google for $2.91 billion. (See: Lenovo to buy Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.91 bn)

Motorola Mobility is currently the third-largest Android smartphone manufacturer in the US and the third-largest manufacturer overall in Latin America, while Lenovo is the world's fifth-largest seller of smartphones with a 4.5 per cent market share.

Gaining control of Motorola's trove of more than 17,000 patents on mobile phone technology was the primary reason Google paid a whopping $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility although the smartphone maker had lost its eminence in the market and money for four consecutive years.

But Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola Mobility into a major player within the Android ecosystem.

Lenovo is a $34 billion personal technology company having customers in more than 160 countries.

Through the acquisition of the former IBM personal computing division, the Beijing-based company manufactures PCs, as well as servers, workstations, and mobile internet devices, including tablets and smartphones.

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