Here's A Different Take On All These Android Patent Cases (AAPL, GOOG, MSFT)

By:Matt Rosoff

Steve Jobs considered Android "grand theft" of the iPhone, and vowed to fight it to his dying breath.

Keith Bergelt has a totally different point of view.

He believes that most of the patent litigation going on in the mobile space is more about relative newcomers in mobile phones -- mainly Apple and Microsoft -- using their cash to stall Android by raising its cost of ownership.

Bergelt heads the Open Innovation Network, a group that aims to create patent protection around open source software, including Linux and Android. The OIN was founded by IBM, Sony, and other companies involved with reselling Linux.

Before you dismiss him as an open-source zealot with a warped view of reality, take these points into account:

Traditional phone companies, including Android resellers, have patents that are necessary for mobile phones. "If you look at the patent portfolios of LG, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, those patent portfolios are representative of the overwhelming majority of relevant patents that enable you to offer wireless products and services. It's nice to have touch, but you can have touch on a device that can't communicate and you're not going to sell a lot of devices."

Some of those phone patents are more valuable than what Apple has: recall that Apple is paying Nokia, not the other way around. "When it comes to the cross license, at the end of the day, it's just like the cross license that Nokia struck with Apple."

Microsoft has the resources to tie up Android resellers in court for a long time, which is why some of them are settling instead of fighting. "When you have a dynamic when you are incredibly cash rich, when you can outspend people, it's about tying people up and creating issues that can slow or stall a platform. It's not about who is necessarily right or wrong, it's about the effect that you can exact by taking advantage of that dynamic."

By buying Motorola, Google changed the game completely. "I'm not sure what their ultimate goal is but clearly if you look at the mobile patent holders, they've just become one of the 5 largest patent holders in the world. They've gone from a position where they had some patents to now having a purpose built portfolio that is exactly what you want if you're going to continue to support and advance a platform....From a quantity standpoint, they may not have as many patents as Microsoft or Apple but they have qualitatively winning patents because they have more standards based patents now. The fruits of 35+ years of Motorola's birthright as one of the founding, inventing and most innovative companies in wireless technology."

Here's a transcript of our conversation:

Business Insider: What do you think of all the patent litigation going on in the mobile space, with Microsoft and Apple suing Android resellers? Are we going to end up seeing a bunch of cross patent licenses in private and then this problem goes away, or do you think we're going to continue to see these kinds of litigation events?

Keith Bergelt: I think over the near to medium term, within the next 18 months, you'll continue to see forum shopping, litigation with a goal of not a lot of cross licensing discussion or broad licensing discussion, but rather one-off licenses with a goal of increasing the total cost of ownership of the platform.