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In a perfect world, I want to believe that all these big companies that have products and solutions that I buy all just need to get along and work together to deliver the best possible consumer experience I can get. I'm tired of little fiefdoms of proprietary content, painful terms of service, and the claims that some tiny features of products warrant patents. I'm tired about seeing all these headlines about the various Apple and Samsung court battles in various countries and jurisdictions -- they clutter up my online experience. I want innovation. I want new features.
One other great development that has come out of these trials, was announced today.
As you know, Samsung's "defense" against Apple has been to use Samsung's standards-based FRAND patents to "blackmail" Apple into either giving up its claims or compromising. This is a tactic that has been taken by other companies, including Google/Motorola, against Apple.
Today, the EU has announced that they are charging Samsung with antitrust for withholding Apple's access to those standards based FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory) patents by demanding Apple pay unfair, unreasonable, and discriminatory fees for them, in order to combat Apple's claims against Samsung.
"If Apple wasn't busy throwing attorneys into courtrooms around the world with patent and trade dress litigation cases, might Apple have a bit more time and energy to spend on true innovation?"
The answer is "no"!
Do you believe that the lawyers that Apple hires for these cases would add to Apple's productivity and innovations some how, if they were not working for Apple?
It's not the lawyers who innovate an produce all of the products and services at Apple... it is Apple's staff. And the staff are absolutely not involved in the litigation process.
Would Apple take the money they saved from defending their intellectual property, and put it towards R&D?
Would not defending Apple's intellectual property from infringement by competitors make Apple more productive and innovative?
No! In fact the opposite would be true. Companies are less likely to spend time and money innovating if their competitors are allowed to get away with stealing their IP. Why would they want to be the "free" R&D wing for their competitors.
Is litigating to defend Apple's IP stolen by other companies a waste of money?
For example, Apple may have spent several million dollars on the recent US trial against Samsung, but then Apple ended up with more than a Billion dollars in the settlement. That is an excellent return on their investment.
Plus, Apple stands to gain many millions of dollars more from licensing fees, making it an even better investment for Apple.
These court cases also have another benefit... discouraging future incidents of IP theft.
Over all, Apple is doing the right thing. As much as it distresses you to read about these trials, it is the right, sensible, and profitable thing for Apple to do.
To solve your personal predicament, if reading news about these trials upsets you... simply don't read about them.
Hey ViewRoyal, thanks for pushing the conversation forward!
I agree in principle to most of your points. I do believe that most staff members aren't involved with litigation, but I also believe that Tim Cook pays attention, as do several other executives. And because I believe that Apple's executives tend to be more "hands on" than many other leaders at other companies, they might not be as fully focused on product action all the time. (Steve Jobs may have had a brain that never ran out of room, but I think that's rare.) Either way, that billion from Samsung might not actually stand. The licensing . . . fantastic point. I always forget about how the court cases can grease the wheels to the licensing deals -- or maybe be the stick that makes them actually happen.
I fear that I didn't highlight or explain two elements very well:
1) that the rash of litigation clutters up the consumer impression of Apple and its products
2) that I really, personally, need to come up with a "bug shield" filter for this stuff, because ultimately, it doesn't make my own life any better, interesting, or productive as an Apple enthusiast who likes to put the products to work
The column might have been better served if those were the focus points and not the incidentals!