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A Cheat Sheet To the Mobile-Patent Mess

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the you'll-need-it dept.

Patents 42

harrymcc writes "This week's news that Apple is suing Samsung over the similarities of the latter's Galaxy phones and tablets to the iPhone and iPad inspired me to try to document all the court cases involving mobile patents (as well as some related relationships such as licensing agreements) in one infographic. I wonder what sort of technological wonders the companies involved could come up with if they took all the money they're giving to lawyers and spent it on R&D instead?"

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42 comments

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Technologizer SLAMS Mobile Companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35879206)

Slam means "to right a blog post about", right?

Re:Technologizer SLAMS Mobile Companies (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35879588)

My thought exactly. I didn't even detect a hint of hostility in this article... it had more of a matter-of-fact "isn't this cool" vibe to it.

And it's not entirely accurate... there are so many patents out there that they license all kinds of stuff off each other, but I think they this chart reflects the really noteworthy relationships in an effective manner.

Re:Technologizer SLAMS Mobile Companies (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35880070)

Slam means "to right a blog post about", right?

Don't make me slam you..

Re:Technologizer SLAMS Mobile Companies (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35882918)

Be careful. If you make him really angry, he will eviscerate you and salt the earth with your blood!

Or maybe he'll just tweet something and pair a snarky hashtag with it.

Look on the bright side (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35879216)

At least the lawyers are happy about it. This sort of thing drives innovation in the field of lawsuits. Granted the consumer doesn't get to see anything, but you can be sure that behind every lawsuit there are a ton of happy lawyers.

Re:Look on the bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35879526)

Yea, that's all we need. More, out of work lawyers, suing the shit out of people for work. :-P

DUPE Data Display (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35879266)

Nice graph, but it contains duplicate data. A right-triangle chart would contain the same information, and be easier to read due to the lack of duplicate data being visualized.
Everything above and including the diagonal is unneeded.
ie:

1 \
2 . \
3 . P \
4 X . S \
. 1 2 3 4

P - Pact
S - Suing
X - Global Thermonuclear Warfare

Re:DUPE Data Display (3, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35879408)

A right-triangle chart would contain the same information

Yes, but the problem is that the right-triangle chart is patented.

Re:DUPE Data Display (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35880142)

Unless you like reading tables across then down it helps to have one tuple per line.. Despite the horrific waste of data.

Firefox doesn't have "tuple" in the dictionary?.. In the .NET framework Dictionaries are filled with nothing but tuples (ahar).

Summary of the chart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35879278)

Apple has no friends in the industry, only a lot of enemies. Google has most friends. Nobody is suing Oracle. Microsoft is everywhere, for better or worse. Cool chart.

Re:Summary of the chart (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35879352)

Nobody is suing Oracle because Oracle doesn't have any mobile devices. Its just suing Google over Android's use of Java.

Oracle always was horrible in the field of open-source...

Re:Summary of the chart (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#35879514)

Well Apple is the market leader so they are trying to keep its position from competitors. (they are trying not to do the same mistake they did with the Mac a generation ago)

Google provides the most of software however it is up to the other guys to configure it and make it their own. Thus making them liked by most and avoiding direct attacks.

Microsoft is still a force. The big guys will fight them, the lesser guys will join them.

Not sure why Oracle is in that chart? Just because the Java Issue with android? I wouldn't really classify it as part of the mobile wars.

Re:Summary of the chart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35880376)

Apple is the what now? I'm going to have to ask for a citation on that that's not only from the last year but also not from some kid's biased blog. Apple were only dominant in the smartphone market in the first place (here's a clue: the phone market is much bigger than the smartphone market) and now Android are eating their lunch in that market. They're a dominant player but not the dominant player.

Re:Summary of the chart (1)

Drakino (10965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35880942)

All depends on what you define as "eating their lunch". No one Android phone has come close to matching one iPhone model in sales. And Android is only slightly ahead when looking at the whole world smartphone market. Android is slightly further ahead here in the US, likely due to the AT&T exclusivity that has now ended. Overall phone market, Apple is not in the lead units wise (nor is any smartphone), but profit and revenue wise, Apple is ahead.

This also ignores the software side. It's not Android vs IPhone. It's Android vs iOS. The iPod touch sells well, as does the iPad. Android has very few devices in the music player or tablet space that sell well, and even fewer with the full Google experience including the marketplace. As a software developer, iOS still provides the larger market share possibility.

The good thing is that no matter how you look at the numbers and decide who is "winning", no one is truly dominating. Consumers get to see an honest battle and competition going on with mobiles. Unlike the desktop OS wars of the 90s where Microsoft illegally obtained their monopoly status.

Re:Summary of the chart (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35883206)

And, you have to consider that "Android" is a platform, not a specific device. Comparing "Android devices" to "iOS devices" is the more accurate measure, and the smartphone sales numbers conveniently leave out the tens of millions of iPads and iPod touches that have been sold to date.

If you want to look at smartphone market share, Apple is the largest single manufacturer of smartphones by volume, by a wide margin, and also the most profitable. "All Android smartphones together (how many dozens of models is that?)" are only a few % ahead in market share over Apple's single line of phones.

But of course, that's inconvenient for the meaningless "Platform X wins in smartphones" metrics. In the smartphone space, you don't buy "an Android," you buy a Droid, or a Nexus, or a Galaxy, or a... just like you don't buy "an iOS," you buy an iPhone.

Re:Summary of the chart (1)

Drakino (10965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35880794)

It's been messy for sure. Nokia has enjoyed suing anyone they can, forcing the newer mobile companies like Apple to countersue. Same for Kodak, and I thought I remembered RIM suing a bunch of others over wireless email.

Then you have Apple going after HTC, Motorola and now Samsung due to Android. Microsoft is being their normal selves, and even Oracle didn't want to be left out. What a mess.

Re:Summary of the chart (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35883122)

Apple has no friends because they are (for better or worse) setting the standard in the mobile space. And Android fans, before you dash off a reply filled with breathless indignation, consider that the mobile space is larger than "smartphone share". Apple is the largest single manufacturer of smartphones & tablets, and also the most profitable manufacturer, and still holds the lead when you consider "all iOS devices," rather than just "smartphones." Everybody wants a piece of that pie.

Google has the most friends because they came to a party filled with hardware manufacturers watching their prospects dim in the wake of Apple's success with iOS devices, and said "Hey guys, here's this free shit that will let you compete with Apple[1], just slap it on your phones and it'll be a success!"

[1] - Subtext: "Guise, all you haz to do is cede control of your platform to an advertising company, and trust that we'll never do anything that would conflict with your interests and finances, like god forbid, refuse to release the source code or demand more control over the features you ship with our free system - that'll never happen because we're open and committed to free stuff. Or at least, committed to complaining about Apple's lack of openness."

Upper triangular (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35879366)

You only really need the upper-right triangle, as the lower-left is just a mirror of it.

Re:Upper triangular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35879462)

You are infringing on my patent: "method for displaying lawsuits in a matrix using explanatory images more efficiently" which states "You only need the lower-left triangle, as the upper-right is just a mirror of it.".

Re:Upper triangular (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35879468)

LIES! The lower-left triangle is necessary. The upper-right triangle is a waste of space.

Re:Upper triangular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35879508)

I want 4 triangles.

This is great... (1)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35879520)

... very surprised anybody beat XKCD to it, though. This is the kind of thing that's right up their alley.

http://www.fullmalls.com (0)

xiaojiekyk (2050908) | more than 3 years ago | (#35879550)

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funny (3, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35879552)

Funny that M$FT and Appple are sueing everyone and Googles got the most smiley faces.

Why lawyers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35879678)

It sort of defeats the purpose of R&D if you're not going to defend that R&D with lawyers.

Re:Why lawyers? (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 2 years ago | (#35891682)

It sort of defeats the purpose of R&D if you're not going to defend that R&D with lawyers.

That's the lawyerish point of view. To normal human beings, that would be: "It sort of defeats the purpose of R&D if you're not going to make products based on that R&D." Who cares about keeping lawyers employed, other than the lawyers themselves?

I wonder... (1)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35879906)

"I wonder what sort of technological wonders the companies involved could come up with if they took all the money they're giving to lawyers and spent it on R&D instead?"

I wonder what sort of technological wonders the companies involved could come up with if they stopped copying Apple and concentrated on coming up with something original.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35880024)

I wonder what sort of technological wonders the companies involved could come up with if they stopped copying Apple and concentrated on coming up with something original.

And where would Apple be if they couldn't copy everyone else. The sad fact is, most styling Apple claims as their own has long existed in movies, prototypes, so on and so on. Rarely does anyone have a novel idea which is not directly influenced from someone else. In fact, Apple has a very long and proud history of copying good ideas from everyone else.

Re:I wonder... (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35880096)

Are you referring to the black rectangular slate with a grid of icons Apple is suing Samsung over? Why is this copying Apple, when black rectangular slates and grids of icons have existed before the iPhone both separately and in tandem? I'm sure many people have seen this image, but it seems to invalidate anything Apple has to say about owning the slate form factor/grid of icons UI.

http://photos.appleinsider.com/Sam.Apple.001.jpg [appleinsider.com]

Re:I wonder... (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35880476)

The tragedy in how idiotic that image is, even if it is technically correct.

Re:I wonder... (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35881698)

I think Apple's suit is utterly without merit, but you are trolling or stupid.

From the accompanying article, "the graphic is in error, as Samsung only mentioned plans for the new phone in 2006. It wasn't actually shown until February 2007 at the 3GSM World Congress, held a month after the iPhone's debut. It did not go on sale at that time."

Google the winner? (1)

RandomMonkey (908328) | more than 3 years ago | (#35880234)

I like how Google is clear winner in cooperation and in not suing anybody.

Design patent != Utility patent (2)

AC-x (735297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35880264)

Samsung are being sued by Apple over design patents rather than utility patents.Basically the Samsung devices look too much like Apple devices [theregister.co.uk] .

Design patents are very narrow scope and deal with just the look of the device as opposed to invention patents and software patents that cover how a device works.

The only company not in court (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 3 years ago | (#35880478)

Is Qualcomm. Every other company has an arrow or a red face in their row. So the takeaway is that you must be ready to be in court if you want to play. I think that's the point of all the anti-patent folks - it's just too hard to do anything in this climate. I'm sure Qualcomm has been there too, their lawyers are just on vacation right now.

Re:The only company not in court (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35885232)

Actually, Qualcomm has most of the key patents on core wireless technologies, and pretty much everyone directly or indirectly licenses them. When I read about it 2 - 3 years back, they made ~150M per quarter from licensing royalties alone. And they have been to court over IP many times (e.g. Broadcomm).

In any case, Qualcomm operates at a much lower level (chips, silicon, components) than these companies (cell phones, OSes, software), so I doubt there's much overlap of interest anyway, which is why it does not show up in this chart.

I think that's the point of all the anti-patent folks - it's just too hard to do anything in this climate.

Not really. It's pretty much accepted as a part of doing business. Just like taxes. And just like taxes, it does have it's benefits.

Either-or (1)

rainmayun (842754) | more than 3 years ago | (#35880532)

So rather than spend money on lawyers to defend their intellectual property, they'd spend money on R&D to obfuscate their engineered products. In either case, it's not "productive".

Not that expensive (1)

captaindomon (870655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35881188)

Surprisingly, corporate counsel (where you have a big company like this, and they have full-time, salaried staff lawyers) isn't really that expensive to use to file a lawsuit. Compared to the R&D expenses, lawsuits really aren't that expensive if you already have a full-time lawyer (or many) on staff.

Speculation... (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35881466)

I wonder what sort of technological wonders the companies involved could come up with if they took all the money they're giving to lawyers and spent it on R&D instead?"

And I wonder what sort of technological wonders the companies involved couldn't come up with if they took all the money they've spent on R&D and used it to simply duplicate the work of others instead.

Speculation can go both ways.

Google should create a patent pool for Android (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#35886874)

Google should create a defensive patent pool for Android.
Basically the idea is that any company partnering with Google on Android can join the pool.

Joining the pool means that you agree not to sue any member of the pool for patent violations connected to Android products. But in return, you get the right to use patents from any member of the pool as a defensive weapon in the event that a non-pool-member sues you for patent violations connected to Android products.

Collectively, I am sure that the big android players (Google, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG and others) would have a large enough patent pool to fight lawsuits from the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Oracle.

boggles the mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936044)

The increasingly complex web that's developed from all of the mobile patent enforcement [industryweek.com] actions is truly mind-boggling. What's more, it all seems rather wasteful, when one considers the fact that the likely result of all these lawsuits will be settlements and cross-licensing deals. How anticlimactic.

mind-boggling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35937122)

The increasingly complex web that's developed from all of the mobile patent enforcement [industryweek.com] actions is truly mind-boggling. What's more, it all seems rather wasteful, when one considers the fact that the likely result of all these lawsuits will be settlements and cross-licensing deals. How anticlimactic.

waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36006998)

The increasingly complex web that's developed from all of the mobile patent enforcement [generalpatent.com] actions is truly mind-boggling. What's more, it all seems rather wasteful, when one considers the fact that the likely result of all these lawsuits will be settlements and cross-licensing deals.

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