Steve Jobs’s Patent War may not be the best approach for Apple

Steve Jobs AppleOn October 5, 2011 the living icon and co- founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, tragically passed away. His death was mourned by millions however his legacy, Apple, continues on as he planned. Before Steve Jobs passed away he began to set into motion a fierce battle between Apple Inc. and Google Inc. over something he believed very strongly about: theft.

Indeed Apple, headed by Jobs, began several legal actions against other companies under the basis of intellectual theft. Such companies include HTC Corp, Motorola Mobility Inc., and Samsung Electronics Co. These three companies are the largest android users and Steve Jobs stated that he’d rather “wage thermonuclear war” with them as opposed to making deals to share technology.

Apple is using its patents as the spearhead behind their claims, however simply suing these companies may not be the best course of action for Apple. An advising firm that is well versed with intellectual property rights, theft, and maximization, stated that even though Apple may win the court’s rulings, they may be hurt more overall if they don’t utilize their patents to the max.

Kevin Rivette, a partner at #LP Advisors LLC, stated that if the companies are banned from using these patented ideas then they will simply find a way around the ban by any slight alteration to the technology.

Apple has won small victories in the courts so far. Their biggest was in October when an Australian court completely banned the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet in their country. Unfortunately that ban wouldn’t last long. Just a month later (Nov. 30th) a higher Australian court reversed the decision against Samsung. After that setback word came in that a judge from Germany stated he wasn’t going to uphold an import ban on the Galaxy tablet either.

However Apple did receive a rather small victory in December against HTC. While they claimed that HTC had violated four different patents, the ITC (International Trade Commission) stated that it only violated one. HTC immediately dropped the feature covered under the one patent they violated and there have since been no more rulings or decisions.

Many think it’s time for Apple to change their approach, as opposed to sticking with Steve Job’s decision to continue warring. Apple’s patents mostly deal with the look of devices and the way devices are utilized – none of them are a real breakthrough in technology. Instead of fighting every single company Apple should consider cutting deals with these companies to get access to their rival’s innovations in the future.

Yes Apple is the clear leader and has a powerful standing in the mobile technology world, but how long is it going to last? The likelihood that Apple products will be outshined by a new breakthrough one is great and this has been seen many times throughout history.

Currently Apple is doing a great job of distracting their rivals but they are not maximizing the potential of their upper hand in this situation. Sometime peace will need to be achieved, and the sooner Apple begins working towards settlements the sooner they can get in on the innovations of their competitions and increase their net worth as well as stay ahead in the mobile technology world.

Happy New Year!


  1. ViewRoyal

    So, are you suggesting that Apple NOT defend itself against competitors that infringe (steal) its intellectual property???

    Is it just Apple that you have a bias against, or do you believe that ALL companies should have no rights to protect their intellectual property? (In other words, would it be OK for Apple to steal patented technologies from other companies without fear of reprisal?)

    What company would be willing to spend millions of dollars on R&D each year, only to subsidize their competitors who will be allowed to steal whatever they want?

    How much progress would happen if NO companies spent money developing new inventions, knowing that their competitors will benefit from their efforts and expense???

    • I’m not sure anywhere I implied that Apple should not defend itself against intellectual theft nor would I even support that notion. The main focus of the article is to point out that Apple, while it is currently distracting its competitors with these lawsuits and setting them back momentarily, won’t be at the top forever and would benefit by taking a different approach.

      There are numerous companies all fighting to release the next innovative mobile product. If Apple were to strike deals with the companies they have legal actions against the deals could have varying terms that would greatly benefit Apple and set them up for continued dominance in the mobile world for the future. An example of one such deal would be that the company would not utilize the feature they “stole” for x amount of time and in return give Apple access to their tech.

      Additionally many companies use similar ideas such as touch screens, rectangular shaped phones, home buttons, App store, internet connectivity, etc etc. If companies did not share ideas in some way why would they all use these features? Innovation is not hindered by the cross sharing of ideas at all.

      As for any bias against Apple, I don’t believe anywhere in the article there was a display of bias, anger, dislike, animosity, or anything other than an unbiased review of Apple’s current legal situation.

      Food for thought however:

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