In a slightly unsurprising piece of news, it’s come to light that Cupertino is involved in around 60% of ongoing patent infringement suits in the mobile market. Unsurprising, because ever since the iPhone became really popular, parts of it have been copied by everyone. Apple is infamously in a struggle with Samsung over some of its Galaxy devices, and, with many of Google’s other preferred hardware partners, including HTC and Motorola. Not that I’m completely against it. Using each other’s ideas and improving on them is what drives competition, and it’s fantastic for the consumer.
It is worth noting, that as Apple’s bank balance goes up, it will always be subject to opportunist companies seeking to gain some cash. The most recent case of blatant patent trolling is with ProView. The Chinese company registered a product called the iPad (which – by the way – was a direct rip off of the first generation iMac.) Apple used a third party company to purchase the rights to the iPad name (as is standard) but, as soon as ProView saw how popular the tablet became, they decided to take Apple to court. In the end, Cupertino settled.
Although I’m of the opinion that Apple is hardly innocent in all of this, it will always be subject to lawsuits while it is so popular and raking in the cash. Companies with patents will look at Apple’s cash hoard and think they deserve a bigger slice. So, I guess we’ll have to get used to it. As Bloomberg reports:
“With its growing global market share and huge amount of cash on hand for possible settlements, Apple is becoming a bigger and more attractive target for patent holders. “I would speculate that Apple will continue to be at the center of the litigation map of large mobile IT companies for as along as it maintains its dominant place in the market,” said Feisal Mosleh, a senior vice president at Kanzatec.”
On the other hand, Cupertino will more than likely keep the opinion that it is innovating new products and anyone who makes anything similar will undoubtedly be targeted by them. Although, more often than not, they don’t seek damages, they just want the competition moved from the shelves.