WiLAN Inc. (WILN), the patent licensing company run by CEO Jim Skippen, said on Thursday its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mobile Data Off-Loading Inc., has acquired a portfolio of patents that relates to technology that seamlessly transfers communications between Wi-Fi and cellular wireless networks.
Meanwhile, the Ottawa-based company is awaiting a ruling from Judge Donald Middlebrook, of the U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, Florida, in an infringement suit against Ericssson. Last Friday, Judge Middlebrook canceled a trial scheduled for next week, saying at a hearing that he was inclined to grant Ericsson’s motion for a summary judgement of non-infringement on two patents though he was unsure of the validity of a third.
The judge’s ruling is expected imminently.
WiLAN officials declined comment.
The company said in the statement on the patent portfolio acquisition that the technology it has acquired will be, and already is, applicable to a wide range of wireless products, systems, and mobile telecommunication services. The value of the patents in the portfolio has already been demonstrated through license agreements generated by a number of previous enforcement actions.
The acquisition of this new patent portfolio, which is now one of over 40 portfolios that WiLAN has available for licensing, did not have a material effect on the company's cash position.
WiLAN said in the statement that the rapid adoption of mobile devices, including next-generation smart phones and tablet computers, has driven enormous, exponential growth in the use of bandwidth-intensive data applications, including video streaming. The integration of Wi-Fi and cellular networks helps reduce cellular network congestion by automatically transferring data communication to higher capacity Wi-Fi networks.
"For years, the major carriers have been seeking ways to reduce congestion on their cellular networks and, since this exciting new approach to mobile telecommunications promises to ultimately give customers greatly improved flexibility, significantly better coverage and, at the same time, much lower costs, it is already beginning to be considered by many as representing a major step forward for mobile phone users,” Skippen said in an interview.
WiLAN officials also declined to comment on whether it believed the patents were being actively infringed and its plans for bringing infringement claims.
Shares of WiLAN gained 6 cents to $2.10 in afternoon trading. They have traded between $2.02 and $4.01 over the past year
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