We hear Apple wants to sue Motorola, Samsung and HTC; and they are all suing Apple back. Kodak intends to sue Apple and Sony wants to sue LG. Microsoft is angered with FoxConn, and Barnes wants away with Google. Nokia and Apple have already settled on a twinset.
And since Google now own Motorola, it is very much likely that the battle labeled as ‘Microsoft vs Motorola’ might well be on.
What sparked the flames?
Well, it all pretty much comes back to patents. The viewpoint has always been in terms of structuring products for future patents are of utmost importance.
Engineers are the ones who develop the products and are concerned about the intellectual rights later on. On this note, it is the individual companies that file for the patents and eventually crack up smaller firms that own those patents. It also means that there are lots of claims that are being challenged for similar technologies. The proceedings started in 2009, accelerated in 2010 and now are at their peak.
Why are they suing?
Actually there is no way you can tell who has a valid claim. Every company is piling up patent portfolios, in an attempt to try to protect itself and have a real go against the others. A typical example would be that of Google who bought Motorola largely for 18 key patents and yet scored thousands of patents in the bargain.
So when you are in such a situation that you have two or more patents that supposedly cover the identical technology, the only way to resolve the issue would be to file a case in the court.
What is at stake?
There is a lot at stake; we are talking about tens of billions of dollars in the shape of licenses and potential future sales. A successful patent enforcement can actually let another company freeze out in the market.
Apple did that when they succeeded in a primary ruling rivaled with HTC which enables them to keep them from selling considerable phones in the United States. Apple was able to use a patent sanction in an attempt to make Samsung halt the sales of the famous Galaxy tabs in Germany.
There is a well-established theory. What counts for real is the fact that winners are most likely to let the losers pay for outstanding fees and then possibly benefit for many years ahead.
What will it mean for consumers?
It basically means that the prices will rise to an extent, but not to umpteenth limits. For example, Google has a 1 percent licensing fee for Samsung for every Android phone sold in 2012. That is a lot of money in total, but the price that has been passed on to the consumer isn’t really as desirable.