Other mobile companies have begun to look for licensing revenues from their patents, but they aren't likely to build the kind of stable revenue stream that Qualcomm has, Goldberg said. Qualcomm is the best-known example of a company in the mobile market that has consistently been able to earn a significant portion of its revenue from patent licensing, he said. While both Nokia and Microsoft this week discussed earnings from patent royalties, Nokia is unlikely to be able to rely on a steady stream of royalties going forward and Microsoft is unlikely to have serious interest in straying from its core software business to focus on patent royalties, he said.
Many of the largest players in the industry are currently waging patent infringement battles in the courts. Apple has sued Motorola, Samsung and HTC over their Android products. Microsoft persuaded HTC and others to license its technology for use in their Android products, and Oracle is suing Google over Android.