Apple v. Samsung: A Patent Parable for the Mobile Market
At the beginning of this millennium, two tech giants, Microsoft Inc. and Sun Microsystems, Inc., waged a savage, seven-year war. Their patent infringement lawsuits and countersuits squandered hundreds of millions of dollars, dominated headlines, and consumed the time and attention of leaders at both companies.
It wasn’t until 2004 that the two companies reached a settlement. At the time, that agreement was heralded by chief executives at both companies as a win for consumers; it would finally shift focus from their legal squabbling to the production and delivery of new, more collaborative products.
But by then, some would argue, the damage was done.
Roll film forward to the mobile device industry of today. Key players, currently embroiled in seemingly endless patent litigation, risk putting their legal battles ahead of the ceaseless innovation required to compete in a dynamic global market. Observers, tired of the bloody charade and hungry for novelty, call out for patent reform to weaken patents and end the infighting.
But the real solution is more nuanced.