Filing a lawsuit against another company, in order to keep the edge over the other company, for what you boast was invented by you and shall always remain with you, unless paid for re-using, is all that's been happening more often these days, than any other time of the history in past.
Just to let you know in a more comprehensive way, that who's suing whom over a patent infringement, what's the entire plot like and where Apple stands, have a look at the infographic below.
Just to let you know what's been happening around and how the patent battles work, I'd like to first give you the example of Kodak. Kodak invented the digital camera back in 1975, and any company that implements a digital camera in its device till date, be it an iPhone, iPad 2, an Android phone, or what not, has to pay a fixed amount of money to Kodak because the digital camera patent belongs to Kodak, and in case, if a company fails to do so and goes on to make profits without feeding Kodak, what it results in, is a lawsuit such as one that was filed by Kodak in January 2011 against Apple and RIM and later it was decided that both companies will pay a whooping $1 billion dollar to Kodak, which is way more than what Eastman Kodak company's net worth is! Not to forget how Samsung and LG were structured to compensate Kodak $550 million and $414 million, respectively, over same violation claims. It cannot be denied that $2 billion from Apple and RIM would facilitate Kodak's bleeding bottom line. In 2010, Kodak furthered $838 million to its bottom line from patents only. The intellectual property is licensed to some 30 companies such as LG, Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson, among a list of others.
Now looking at the recent times, on June 27, 2011, Apple, as part of a consortium of biggies such as Microsoft, RIM, EMC etc, acquired Nortel's patent portfolio for another whooping $4.5 billion, in order to bag 6000 precious patents related to wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, and semiconductors. What does this bring to Apple, this entire patent purchasing? Well, it's simple - the bigger the patent portfolio of the company, the more strong it will be in terms of bashing other companies for violating its registered innovation, and ultimately, will be able to make big money out this legal bashing. This is the reason why we hear Apple sued HTC, Apple sued Samsung, Apple sued Motorola, Apple sued Nokia and so on, on such a frequent basis.
And following the Nortel patent bid, where Google was actually outbid by the consortium, which Apple and Microsoft were a part of, Google went on buying a goddamn company, Motorola Mobility! Ever wondered what was the biggest benefit to Google of doing so last week? It got them 3 times more than the patent Apple got at the Nortel's patent portfolio bid, taking Google's patents to 24,000 patents!
I tried to keep it simple and barely technical, so that every reader could easily get an idea of what's going around and what all the patent fuss is about. Ever since this Google-Motorla acquisition deal, Google has not only slapped back Apple by saying something like, you sue me for violating patents, I purchased the company that invented the mobile phone! Now go hike! and will ultimately give Google the power to jump into the mobile phone industry with its own hardware, not just the operating system, Android, anymore. So it's like direct competition to Apple that is being forecast, with both companies now capable of making an entire smart phone, that is the hardware as well as the OS that runs in it. Let's see how this war turns up. We'll keep you posted all the way.
The original post on Simon Blog can be found here: Where Apple Stands in the Mobile Industry in Terms of Suing and Getting Sued [Infographic]