Can Apple and Google Evade This Patent Troll?

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) have been hit by a intellectual property lawsuit from wireless technology company Unwired Planet (NASDAQ:UPIP), which has accused the two of violating a combined 20 of the company’s patents. Unwired Planet has a portfolio of about 200 U.S. and foreign patents and about 75 pending applications, according to its website.

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Its claims against Apple focus on 10 patents, including technology used in the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPod as well as in services such as iTunes. It has named Google in other 10 violations, including for technology used in its search and advertising systems, mobile digital-content systems, and Android-based smartphones and tablets.

Chief executive Mike Mulica said in a statement that litigation was a key strategy for the company as it tried to maximize shareholder value. “Today’s actions follow a careful review that we launched in late 2011 as we began to transform Unwired Planet into an Intellectual Property company,” Mulica said. “This litigation marks a key step in our multi-pronged strategy to maximize shareholder value through the licensing of our robust portfolio of patents and to protect our IP through litigation against unlicensed parties as necessary.”

Unwired Planet, which was previously called Openwave Systems, had earlier filed a lawsuit against Apple and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), claiming the two violated five of its patents.

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