“Patent disputes are not a sign of illness—they are a sign of wellness,” says Bill Merritt, CEO of mobile technology research and development company InterDigital. “I would be really troubled if there were no patent disputes because that would suggest this is one sleepy industry,” he adds.

Founded in 1972, InterDigital designs and develops technologies used in digital cellular and wireless products and networks, including 2G, 3G and 4G. Spurred on by 180 engineers, it has 19,000 patents and patent applications. The company is a key contributor to global standards and, as a consequence, is actively involved in the licensing of standard-essential patents (SEPs).

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