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Android Patents The Courts Apple

What If Android Lost the Patent War? 248

Posted by Soulskill
from the technically-just-a-police-action dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "The patent system is certainly complex, especially when it comes to smartphones. The Financial Times estimates that as many as 250,000 patents are at stake in a smartphone. Industry titans like Microsoft, Nokia, and Apple have tens of thousands of patents each, but Google's portfolio is reportedly on the low end — 'under 1,000.' Taking advantage of the opportunity, Apple has its patent strategy aimed squarely at the number one rival to its iOS mobile operating system, Android, which is now embedded in 40 percent of all U.S. smartphones compared to Apple's 26.6 percent. Apple's lawyers have been aggressively suing Android manufacturers HTC and Samsung for various technologies, from the 'look and feel' to how it connects to broadband networks. A recently published article takes a deep dive into the lawsuits' possible outcomes and their effect on end users."
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What If Android Lost the Patent War?

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  • by nschubach (922175) on Monday August 08, 2011 @02:28PM (#37025192) Journal

    I'd be more interested in reading what would happen if software was considered un-patentable tomorrow and all software patents rendered void.

  • 250,000? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday August 08, 2011 @02:32PM (#37025244)

    May I be allowed to say: holy fucking shit. 250,000 patents in one phone? Insane. Absolutely insane. The patent system is supposed to be used so a new device has maybe a handful of patents in it. Quite often, only one. Because very few inventions are really novel and deserving of protection. But everyone on /. should know this already, and I'm just treading old ground.

    I'll end this by just saying: fuck lawyers. There is good reason why so many people despise and hate them, and our present patent system is an excellent example. Leeches, most of 'em (to be fair, a few are alright... but very, very few.)

  • by deweyhewson (1323623) on Monday August 08, 2011 @02:33PM (#37025254)

    Software patents are a pox on this nation. They undermine the system, stifle, rather than motivation, innovation, and are used as clubs by the bullies in industry.

    The idea that I can "create" something intangible, easily replicated, and quite literally out of nothing simply by typing some characters on a keyboard is absolutely insane, and should never have been allowed in the first place. Had the system existed like this centuries ago, the book market would have been driven into the ground by publishers who owned the patent on "arranging characters on a page to create words and express ideas".

    And the fact hat Apple is choosing to beat Android into submission with them, rather than make a superior product, is very telling indeed.

  • by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Monday August 08, 2011 @02:36PM (#37025290)
    What companies other than Intellectual Ventures would collapse? Apple, HTC, Google, and Microsoft would still be in buisness. They make money by selling products protected by copyright. These are patents that have been largely uninforced for the last 20 years. Other than IV and a bunch of 2 lawyer operations in Texas there is not much buisness in software patents.
  • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday August 08, 2011 @02:59PM (#37025564)

    You should care because if Android phones lose the entire US market, they will become much less profitable to make. As a result, companies will either spend less money making them or raise their prices, since engineering costs will now be amortized over a smaller number of sales. Likewise, app developers will shift their focus towards iOS, so that they can reach the US market.

    End result, Android phones become more expensive, lose their edge on hardware, and get fewer apps developed for them.

    Economies are interconnected. Don't think for one moment that bad things happening in one part of the world won't ripple over and affect you.

  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Monday August 08, 2011 @06:57PM (#37027942) Homepage

    "Getting rid of patents, at least in software, would free up vast amounts of resources."

    That's the problem, isn't it. What would all the lawyers do for an income? Especially when many people have already passed the point of diminishing returns for more stuff?

    Excessive bureaucracy is a from of "make work" to prop up a society that can not admit its socioeconomic model (based on an income-through-jobs link) is broken in an age of abundance from cheap technology (like from an Android-powered supercomputer in your pocket relative to a 1970s definition of supercomputer); see also this knol I put together on good and bad ways to deal with that:
        http://knol.google.com/k/beyond-a-jobless-recovery [google.com]

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

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