Originally Posted by kjk
I actually wonder what does happen to those licensees when patent battles go sour.
It depends on the deal.
Contrary to popular belief, most patent license deals betwen big companies don't involve money or drag on forever, as most companies have their own patent portfolios they can cross-license in lieu of cash. They just need to negotiate the exchange value of their individual portfolios and the terms of the licenses. In some patent deals, MS has actually ended up paying the other outfit when *their* patents outweigh the value of the MS patent.
It is usually the johnny-come-latelies of the world with no patents to call their own in a given business that end up in trouble or paying cash.
Unlike HTC or Amazon (for example), B&N has zero tech IP to their credit so their choices are to pay for all the licenses or fight and pay the lawyers. Apple's fight with Nokia comes from the same issue; Apple had zero history in communications before the iPhone and their portfolio of patents (in media and software) is useless to Nokia so off to court they go.
These fights are unavoidable because patents, like trademarks, have to be asserted to be valid. And because Google, unlike MS, does NOT offer patent indemnization to their Android licensees.
In other words: you get what you pay for.