On Jan 13 Florian Mueller, @FOSSpatents, wrote a blog post on the preliminary ITC ruling Motorola - Apple covering three patents, "including a strategically important one".
Having published an extensive report on the Smartphone Patent Wars in March 2012 (complimentary download available now) of course we were keen to understand how Network Patent Analysis (NPA™), which we had applied in the report, had ranked these patents by their strategic dominance or relative value.
Florian Mueller writes "Whatever the reason for picking only three patents might have been, I believe two of those are less important than the third. The less important ones are U.S. Patent No. 5,379,430 on an "object-oriented system locator system" (yes, "system" appears twice in the title) and U.S. Patent No. 7,812,828 on an "ellipse fitting for multi-touch surfaces". The '828 patent is one of many patents Apple is asserting against Samsung in the United States, but it isn't nearly as essential to Apple's litigation strategy as another patent at issue in this preliminary ITC ruling and in use against Samsung in Apple's federal lawsuit in California: U.S. Patent No. 7,663,607 on a "multipoint touchscreen". The '607 patent is the broadest touchscreen-related hardware patent Apple has, and if the courts interpreted it as broadly as Apple would like them to, it would be extremely hard to work around."
So what did we find? The '607 "multi-touchscreen" patent referred to as a 'strategically important patent' was ranked as the single most dominant/ highest ranked patent in our analysis of the top 7,100 Smartphone patents, both within the technology cluster we identified as the "Touchscreen Cluster", as well as the overall Smartphone patent landscape.
The '828 patent "Ellipse fitting for multi-touch surfaces", asserted by Motorola against Apple, and Apple against Samsung, ranked 9th in our report. (See the table to the left or report for further reference)
The only missing patent number of the three mentioned above was U.S. Patent No. 5,379,430 – which came in #361 in our ranking. This patent was regarded as ‘less important’ by FOSSpatents.
It is a great and encouraging result to have a strong alignment between our analysis and Florian’s analysis regarding the top ranked patent in the smartphone wars.
Network Patent Analysis (NPA™) has been previously used to review an earlier hybrid car patent allegation against Toyota, where we were able to show how NPA™ patent analysis provided results consistent with litigation outcomes. The patent in question was ranked 2nd in our list of 60,000 hybrid car patents.