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LG may still profit from its defunct smartphone business

LG Wing back panel
LG Wing (Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • LG may be considering licensing thousands of patents left behind by its dead smartphone business.
  • The company owns around 20,000 patents related to wireless technology, such as 5G.
  • It will reportedly form a spin-off company that will handle those patents and license them to smartphone brands.

LG's smartphone business might not be totally extinct yet, sort of. The South Korean firm, which was previously known for its quirky smartphone designs (read: LG Wing (opens in new tab)) is reportedly licensing thousands of patents related to 5G and other wireless technologies.

As per The Elec, LG is considering licensing some of the approximately 20,000 patents it obtained prior to shutting down its mobile brand (opens in new tab). The company is said to be forming a spin-off company that will handle its licensing deals with various smartphone brands (via Digital Trends (opens in new tab)).

LG might also sell some of those patents to companies that may be interested in them. A few months after LG's exit from smartphones, Samsung was reportedly eyeing LG's 5G patent portfolio (opens in new tab).

It remains to be seen whether the companies that previously showed interest in LG's patents would still want to acquire them.

With the company's smartphone business no longer in operation, it wouldn't hurt to share some of those technologies with its former competitors. The decision was allegedly motivated by the high cost of maintaining those patents, which is estimated to be around 20 billion won ($16,166,000) per year.

If the report is correct, LG will be following in the footsteps of Nokia, which abandoned its smartphone business. Both companies struggled to compete with the best Android phones (opens in new tab) on the market, including those from Samsung.

LG already licenses some of its patents related to cellular technologies and automotive components through Avanci (opens in new tab), an independent intermediary.

However, with LG now focusing on smart home products, the company is likely to retain a number of patents that it may find useful in the future.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.