The purchase of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion brings a lot of technology to Google, and possibly even the platform for a Google-branded Android phone. The biggest value of the deal, however, may be in adding 17,000 patents to Google's intellectual property portfolio, which currently only has around a thousand. And of those new patents, eighteen of them will be a particular thorn in the side for Apple.
Ron Epstein, CEO of the patent brokerage firm Epicenter IP Group LLC, sums it up like this: “They brought a set of patents that they thought would do a job they set out for, which is telling Apple to back off.”
In the technological soap opera that has become Apple and Samsung, the latest had been that Apple was granted an injunction that blocked the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 across practically all of Europe. The injunction was based on Apple having made the claim that Samsung was copying their designs more or less. However, tech site Webwereld made a curious observation in that Cupertino may have exaggerated their claims just a tad.
Apple COO Tim Cook once said, "We have a very simple view. We love competition, but we want people to invent their own stuff. And we’re going to defend our portfolio when we need to."
No kidding. Apple is currently embroiled in multiple lawsuits with companies like Motorola, HTC, Samsung. And by aggressively adding to that portfolio, the courtroom drama is heating up and isn't going to end anytime soon. Here are some legally juicy events from the last few days:
In an open letter to the world today, Google Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond decided to take a few moments and explain to all of us "what's happening" with regard to Apple, Microsoft, Android, how patents work, a free market economy, and the future of smartphones.
Drummond went to the mat early and often, reiterating the claim that 550,000 Android devices are activated every day, but then stating that this success has spawned "a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents."
If there's one issue that's seemed to dominate the tech world headlines this year, it's been lawsuits. Continuing the trend, in a potentially large decision today, the U.S. International Trade Commission gave an initial determination in Apple's patent infringement suit against HTC, and it isn't looking good for the latter.
Apple recently applied for patent protection for new iOS camera features, according to Patently Apple. The features, which "are to correct or compensate for tilt and/or perspective distortion generally associated with iOS device cameras", could be employed not only in current iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, but also in future electronic devices that employ cameras, like wristwatches.
The Antitrust Division of the Justice Department has approved Apple's request to participate in an auction against Google for an estimated $900 million of intellectual property from bankrupt Nortel Networks Corp. While this ruling lets Apple in the door to the private auction, the Antitrust Division will continue to review any anticompetitive issue that may arise should Apple win.
Between Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud, we certainly learned about a plethora of upcoming features that will make their way down the Apple pipeline. It also appeared as though Apple may have been busy solidifying iCloud, having filed eleven iCloud trademark applications with the US Patent & Trademark Office.
No Katy Perry this week, but the last few days weren't bereft of hot news stories involving everyone's favorite computer and phone maker and post-PC device thingie maker as patents played a big roll plus a little bad news for one of Apple's competitors. Get out your wallet, Sergey!