The Chinese computing giant, which in January agreed to buy Motorola for $2.9 billion, now has reached a deal to purchase 21 patent families owned by Unwired Planet for $100 million in cash. Those patents include 3G and LTE mobile technology, as well as "other important mobility patents."
"This investment is an extension of Lenovo's existing intellectual property portfolio," Lenovo General Counsel Jay Clemens said in a statement. "It will serve the company well as we grow and develop our worldwide smartphone and mobile PC Plus business in new markets."
The deal should close in 30 days.
Companies in the mobile industry have been bulking up their patent portfolios to protect themselves from litigation. The lawsuit between Apple and Samsung is perhaps the highest-profile battle in the industry, and companies are doing all they can to prevent similar suits. Lenovo has been making a bigger push in mobile, even buying Motorola from Google.
Unwired Planet doesn't create products or services, but the company claims to be the "inventory of the mobile Internet." The company and other similar firms, sometimes called "patent trolls" by critics, wait for another company to develop products that allegedly infringe their intellectual property, then pounce. Allegedly offending companies often choose to license the patent; those that fail to do so typically face a protracted lawsuit. Unwired Planet has accused companies such as Apple and Google of patent infringement.