Smartphones aren't the only mobile devices caught up in patent warfare, it seems: Novatel's just sued ZTE and Franklin over five patents related to the "key architecture and functionality" of its MiFi series of mobile hotspots. What's interesting is that Verizon carries the MiFi and ZTE-built Fivespot, while Sprint's MiFi lives alongside the ZTE Peel and carrier-branded Franklin modems, so we're curious to see if any of the carriers step in to mediate the dispute. We also took a quick skim of the complaint, and it looks like the five patents in question are broad enough to cover WiFi tethering from phones, so we've got a feeling this suit could affect more than ZTE and Franklin -- we'll see what happens.

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Novatel sues ZTE and Franklin over MiFi-related patents