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Patent Mania

Patents kill.

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Patents kill, says MEP Christian Engström. At least in the medical field. They're dangerous everywhere else too. Now Apple have filed a countersuit against Motorola. Things get curiouser and curiouser all the time.

Apple claim Motorola are violating six patents protecting Apple's Multi-Touch in their Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq, Cliq XT, BackFlip, Devour A555, Devour i1, and Charm 1. Apple filed not in Texas but in Wisconsin.

This comes barely one month after Motorola sued Apple for violating 18 patents, demanding an immediate injunction on sales of iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple laptop computers. They further claim that both MobileMe and the App Store violate Motorola patents.

Apple are also in patent feuds with Kodak, Elan, and Nokia; Motorola are also in patent feuds with Microsoft and Nokia. Google, HTC, and Oracle are also part of the fray.

The mobile phone industry has a pool of patents to which all parties contribute and from which licensing fees are assigned. Apple may not have as many patents as some of the other players, but their patents represent some of the biggest advances.

This could drag on for years - with the market suffering as a result and only the legal class coming out on top.

- Nokia suing Apple in the US for violating 10 Nokia patents in relation to GSM, UMTS, and WLAN.
- Apple countersuing Nokia for 13 unspecified patent violations.
- Nokia file again with the ITC, claiming Apple are violating seven further patents in their mobile and portable devices and again petitioning for an injunction - which at the earliest can come in 2011.
- Apple suing Google and HTC in the ITC and Delaware, claiming violations of 20 iPhone patents, demanding an injunction on import and sales of HTC devices with touch sensitive screens.
- HTC suing Apple in the ITC, claiming five patent violations, demanding an injunction on sales of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod.

You don't start out on a new technology by sending your Rottweilers after the competition, reflects Adam Erlandsson of SvD. These patent lawsuits cost a lot of money and take a long time to resolve. But the mobile market is in flux, manufacturers are hard put, and the old formulas for success with their high profit margins don't work anymore. Unsurprisingly Nokia have been the most aggressive: they've been perhaps the biggest loser in the smartphone market.

The games have begun.

See Also
SvD: Apple stämmer Motorola
FTs: Apple, Motorola in Litigation Scrum

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