Little-known company Globaltel was awarded a patent last year that it claims Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Nokia, most phone makers, and every carrier in the world infringes.
The patent, US Patent No. 8,073,895, covers text messages sent from a computer to a mobile phone that include a URL.
While it staged a press conference at CES to detail how often the patent is infringed, Globaltel said it would rather sell the patent than chase infringers. "We're a small company. We have no intention of going after these companies," said Robert Sanchez, Globaltel Media's CEO and president. "We're going to sell it to the highest bidder."
He claimed he has had discussions with Qualcomm, for which he formerly worked, and about five other companies to buy the patent. Others, including HTC, Motorola and Samsung, would be the kinds of companies that also might be interested in it, he said.
Sanchez said he's reluctant to sell to any of the so-called "patent trolls" that typically have offered him a down payment and then a multiyear revenue-sharing agreement. If one of those firms offered him US$100 million (£65 million) for the patent, though, he'd sell it, he said.
Globaltel uses the patent in a product called Cherple that allows anyone to send a free text message from a computer to any cellphone in the US. If the company gets a buyer for the patent, it would arrange to license the patent in order to continue offering the service.
Globaltel was also just yesterday awarded a patent for a mobile payment technology, Sanchez said. "We were offered $100 million for that last year without even having a patent for it," he said.
Globaltel joins a long list of companies hoping to leverage patents in the mobile market.