Motorola Mobility — the smartphone manufacturer recently snatched up by Google — has received a total of $228 million in cash and licensing fees from an unnamed company, and all signs point to Blackberry maker Research in Motion as the outfit in question.
In a recent SEC filing, Motorola noted that in June of 2010, it entered into a settlement and license agreement with a company that resolved all outstanding litigation between the two operations.
“The agreement includes provisions for an upfront payment of $175 million from the other company to [Motorola Mobility], future royalties to be paid by the other company to [Motorola Mobility] for the license of certain intellectual property, and the transfer of certain patents between the companies,” read the statement.
A spokesperson for Motorola Mobility declined to shed any light on the identity of the mystery company. But in June, Motorola Mobility and RIM announced they had entered a similar agreement. The two companies said they would cross licence rights to a number of unnamed patents that covered aspects of 2G, 3G, 4G, 802.11, and wireless email technology.
What was not announced was the financial impact of the agreement. In its recent SEC filing, Motorola said its $228 million pre-tax settlement covered a nine month period ending on October 2nd, 2011. The Motorola spokesperson also declined to comment whether this was a one-time payment or ongoing.
The legal settlement between RIM and Motorola Mobility was announced nearly two months before Google said it planned to acquire Motorola Mobility — a subject also covered in the filing. The company noted that the merger might have a “negative impact” due to “intensifying existing litigation or increasing new legal claims from competitors and other third parties, particularly as companies vigorously pursue and protect their intellectual property rights with patent litigation.”
In other words, the company recognizes “we’re going to be a prime target in the mobile patent wars now that we’re becoming a part of Google.” In the last year, Google’s Android operating system has come under fire from multiple big name patent holders, including Apple, Oracle, and Microsoft. As a result, Google has taken numerous measures to shore up its patent arsenal.
Motorola Mobility also said that the merger might be hampered because customers and potential employees may be unsure how the acquisition will play out.