Patents Ruling Mobile War

Apple got a victory today in a patent court over HTC. Its about tapping a phone number in an email or any content (e.g. web page may have a contact number of a vendor) to call or add in contact number. From HTC it is a small UI fix. However, removing such feature would pose an usability issue to HTC and indirectly to Android. 

Here is the ruling:

It seems that Apple has many such patents which when pressed against Android can create a competitive barrier. 

This year has been interesting from patents point of view. Apple and Microsoft ganged up to by Nortells patent portfolio at billions. Then, the corneded Google bought Motorolla mobility especially for the patents. On other wise, there is a patent war going between Samsung and Apple of Samsung Galaxy.


Importance of Patents

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Kent Walker, Google’s General Counsel,  announced today that Google is bidding for  Nortel’s patent portfolio at $900million. It is a starting point in the bidding process. Nortel has many patents in Networking as well as mobile devices which makes this important bid for Google which off late is subjected to many litigations, one of which is from Oracle about Java usage in Android.

In this blog post, Google counsel emphasised that Google requests for a reform of the patents law. He repeated Google’s stand that huge number of low quality patents particularly paper patents and hindrance to the real innovations. He might also be targeting Paul Allen’s patent law suite earlier last year. His patent portfolio covers some of the basics of all Social Networking media. Anyway, though patents are not important in a success of a company but they are important for the defense of the company. Recently I went through yet another cycle of IP filing. It is a long process and filing is just a beginning. Patents process takes at least few years to reward patents, that too after some rejections and questions. For startups, this few years period means eternity. So, they are not useful as a defense and, if the startup is not successful, it may not have enough resources to enforce the patent by filing lawsuits. Further, it is very costly and difficult for individual inventors whom, in my opinion, the patent law should offer some incentives and protections. Of course, when Google is demanding for a reform, I am sure it is not representing views of small startups or individual innovators. so expectation for IP reform may vary depends on whom you talk to.

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