Thursday, March 4, 2010
Battle of the Smart Phone Titans
The latest salvo in wireless war came from Apple this week with it's patent lawsuit filed against HTC. There's plenty of speculation about this being an indirect hit against Google and the visit to the ITC to stop any further imports of infringing Android smart-phones which must be creating major acid indigestion for the organizations investing in marketing the technology. The patents are pretty interesting and so are the dynamics in the patent lawsuit arena. Soon all these guys will run out of lawyers aren't already "taken" as a result of their conflicts checks. I read all the articles. Aside from the annoying fact that most of the reporting didn't have even the most basic explanation of what the patents are all about and what features in particular are in play; the dynamics of the battle of the titans should make for interesting IP theater.
Here are my two favorite quotes from opposite ends of the intellectual property spectrum:
From Steve Jobs:
"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We decided to do something about it...We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."
From Douglas Rushkoff's article, "The iPhone Becomes a Bully", from the DailyBeast:
"Still, in an increasingly crowded smart-phone industry, it's hard to tell if Apple's claims are more about protecting innovation, or merely protecting market share. In fact, these two aims may even be at odds."
Last time I checked I thought that one of the major reasons of protecting innovation with patents was to protect your market share - at least if you are someone who actually makes stuff or at least get license revenue from the folks who make stuff that uses your innovations.
Wheel Reinvention Prevention:
To avoid "wheel reinvention", which is not good IP practice, here are two excellent links. Nick Bilton of The New York Times provides a compelling visual on who is suing who. The second is a link from engadget.com which provides a technical breakdown of the patents in suit by Nilay Patel.