Print 22 comment(s) - last by jRaskell.. on Jan 3 at 10:06 AM

Advisory firms say Apple should look into other avenues and settlements in the near future to avoid possibly having to depend on other companies' technology at some point

After a long year of fighting mobile patent wars with the likes of Samsung, HTC and Motorola, some are suggesting that Apple seek a different approach and start finding some common ground with the Android-based phone makers for the sake of its shareholders and ultimately its future.

Apple spent much of 2011 suing Android users for infringement, claiming that smartphone and tablet makers like Samsung were copying Apple's design and proprietary software. Apple was successful in a few instances, such as the ban on Samsung's Galaxy 10.1 tablet in both Australia and Germany, but later on, a higher Australian court overturned the previous ruling and a German judge made it clear that he wouldn't likely maintain the import ban on the tablet.

Apple's use of patent wars to thwart competitors is working for now, since it's costing rivals millions of dollars and poses as a distraction. Some say Apple shouldn't have to seek any sort of alliance with Android-based phone makers, such as licensing agreements, because it's the "leader."

"Apple has the patents, the money and the expertise to go to war," said Christopher Marlett, chairman and co-founder of investment bank MDB Capital Group. "I just don't see why Apple would seek détente, since they're the clear leader. Until they're hit with an injunction by Google or Samsung, they don't need to get serious about licensing."

However, Kevin Rivette, a managing partner at intellectual property advisory firm 3LP Advisors LLC, said that this approach probably isn't the best way to go. According to Rivette, Apple should look into other avenues and settlements in the near future to avoid possibly having to depend on other companies' technology at some point.

"A scorched-Earth strategy is bad news because it doesn't optimize the value of their patents -- because people will get around them," said Rivette. "It's like a dam. Using their patents to keep rivals out of the market is like putting rocks in a stream. The stream is going to find a way around. Wouldn't it be better to direct where the water goes?

"If I'm Apple, I want divided royalties [from Android licensees]."

Some suggestions for Apple include going after out-of-court settlements while dropping patent claims if Android-based phone makers agree not to use Apple technology for six months or even a year. Later, Apple could cut the Android users a deal such as offering Samsung more access to certain Apple technologies.

Also, Apple could attack new competitors in the market, such as Amazon with its Kindle Fire tablet, by allowing competitors like Samsung to use its proprietary iTunes service. This could boost Samsung's sales, make the company more dependent on Apple instead of Google, and thwart Amazon all at the same time.

While it's unlikely that Apple will make such a move anytime soon (if at all), some shareholders and analysts believe that stepping out of the tightly-bound proprietary model would help Apple gain access to rivals' technology while sharing its own under certain conditions. This new method could ensure a longer lifespan for the company's popular devices and software. With $81 billion in cash and investments already, it couldn't hurt the tech giant to branch out a bit.

Sources: The Washington Post, Bloomberg

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Cheesew1z69 on 12/29/2011 10:38:03 AM , Rating: 3
Will not stop no matter what anyone says.

RE: They....
By AntiM on 12/29/2011 10:58:29 AM , Rating: 5
The European Commission might have something to say about it. They won't allow a company to dominate the market with a patent portfolio, especially if they are unwilling to license the technology.

RE: They....
By aegisofrime on 12/29/2011 11:25:51 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe Apple can repay the entire EU's loans xD

RE: They....
By Tony Swash on 12/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: They....
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/29/2011 12:26:17 PM , Rating: 4
This makes life difficult for Apple's competitors because they are forced to come up with designs for products and features that are at least as good as Apple's, which most of them cannot do.
And even when they change the design, Apple still tries to get the product banned. You can spin it how you like, that's the reality.

RE: They....
By Tony Swash on 12/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: They....
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/29/2011 2:36:09 PM , Rating: 5
You are absolutely clueless, it's astounding.

RE: They....
By nolisi on 12/29/2011 2:41:48 PM , Rating: 3
The answer for companies to counter Apple's patent war is pretty straightforward, create original designs of their own and patent them. Almost no company appears capable of rising to that challenge.

You obviously haven't owned an Android device, otherwise you'd note that in almost every way the UI is different and varied amongst the Android manufacturers and different from Apple's UI itself.

Differences start at the visual level- almost all Android devices have physical buttons + a mouselike touch control pad, and go down to the feature level such as OTA updates and voice command that Google developed years ago (oh yeah, iOS 5 just got that- say Apple isn't stealing ideas from Android). Most devices include things like physical keyboards and memory expansion- items that Apple doesn't seem capable of implementing in a user friendly manner as the Android makers have.

This is why Apple has to sue over very small specific things like bounce scrolling and vague patents such as "minimalist designs", and most of their lawsuits see a vast majority of their claims thrown out before they get a chance to argue them.

Android provides a completely different (and superior, in my opinion)experience than iOS. I currently own and actively use both an iOS 5 device as well as a Gingerbread (2.3) device in non-development capacities.

Apples competitors have come up with vastly differentiated and original products. Apple likes to pretend that they came up with the idea of a smart phone and want every other phone to be banned as a result, claiming that others are copying Apple when the devices are clearly different, and are, in most cases, better.

RE: They....
By Tony Swash on 12/29/11, Rating: -1
They better quit it
By muhahaaha on 12/29/2011 12:32:31 PM , Rating: 2
Love or hate Apple, they better quit it. They are raising the ire of many people and governments. That is not in their best interest. Foolish idiots they are, carrying out the late Steve Job's war on Android.

RE: They better quit it
By muhahaaha on 12/29/2011 12:39:01 PM , Rating: 4
They must be scared shi*less suing over their stupid patents. They try and patent *everything*, even the obvious, or prior art, etc. The USPTO is to blame for much of this unfortunately, because they take Apple's bribes and approve everything. I see a bleak future for this company, as they alienate everyone except their fanboys.

RE: They better quit it
By Tony Swash on 12/29/11, Rating: -1
RE: They better quit it
By spaced_ on 12/30/2011 7:13:52 PM , Rating: 1
Reflects the age of the company more than anything.

If you haven't noticed, they're buying up big in IP to compensate. Most of the legal offense is coming from Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, etc. All of which are much older companies.

One of the best forms of defense is attack. So don't be surprised if Google comes firing back, particularly with the Motorola acquisition. Apple might just find themselves on the receiving end of far less dubious patent infringement claims if they keep up what they're doing.

RE: They better quit it
By jRaskell on 1/3/2012 10:06:59 AM , Rating: 1
Hence many of the legal woes of Google and it's proxies.

And what are some of these woes you refer to? As far as I can tell, Apple is losing the vast majority of their lawsuits. The only woes are the legal costs being incurred defending against Apple's litigious zeal, which is likely Apple's real goal. Sue their competition into bankruptcy as opposed to competing with them in the market. The only problem there is it's one versus many, so while Apple may have very deep pockets, those pockets aren't deep enough to put ALL their competition out of business.

Subtlely changing history
By drycrust3 on 12/29/2011 3:16:33 PM , Rating: 4
if Android-based phone makers agree not to use Apple technology for six months or even a year

See the problem with this statement? The problem is the "Apple technology" bit. For example, in the famous "menu animation" patent, the words "menu animation" don't appear anywhere within the patent, and when you ask whereabouts exactly is it mentioned within the 17 or so pages, no one can give you an answer.
So while we have Apple claiming "menu animation" is "Apple technology", we find scant evidence within the said patent of their claim. In fact, when you read the patent the one thing you don't get is the idea they had actually thought about "menu animation" when they wrote the patent. Thus, one easy conclusion one could jump to would be that Apple are claiming they invented "menu animation" because they want everyone to think they did, not because they really did.
As a general rule, if you invent something, then you want everyone to know it, so you make it pretty obvious you did actually invent this whatever, but with the "menu animation" patent the exact opposite seems to be the case, it isn't obvious, and when you ask exactly whereabouts it is mentioned and no one seems to know, then you start to wonder if their claim is actually credible.
And that is exactly the danger with the idea of "Apple technology", because it assumes every aspect of something, e.g. the smartphone or the tablet, was invented by Apple, when it wasn't. By reading their patents and looking at the other patents mentioned in them, you realise that most of a smartphone or tablet is covered by patents owned by other people.
By using expressions like "Apple technology" you are giving credit to Apple for inventing something which they didn't invent, and then it isn't long before people start to believe this. The danger of that is you make Samsung and others, who are having to fight to keep their products on the market, sound like criminals, when in fact the truth is less clear cut. Should Samsung have to stop selling anything with a touch sensitive screen simply because Apple don't like it? As silly as that sounds, what other conclusion can one come to when we see Apple taking people to court for doing something that isn't obviously mentioned in some patent.
By giving credit to Apple for inventing things they didn't invent, then you give legitimacy to their actions of trying to stop the sale of competing products simply because they are competing products, and on the basis that power corrupts, then it won't be long before they are claiming non-competing products are their inventions as well. In 10 years time, when the cost of touchscreens and the like is very low, do we want Apple taking manufacturers to court for having a touch screen on some product like a washing machine or a cake mixer or a light switch or the back of a book?

RE: Subtlely changing history
By Peter898 on 12/29/2011 3:44:23 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but menu animation is not 'a technology' and
the fact that a patent was even granted for this non-invention
is the real problem here .
I'm wondering how much of a products price goes to paying
'patent'-lawyers these days ..

By Fracture on 12/29/2011 11:49:21 AM , Rating: 5
Invalidate ALL the software patents!

Funny line of reasoning...
By ender707 on 12/29/2011 2:06:45 PM , Rating: 2
"Apple could attack new competitors in the market, such as Amazon with its Kindle Fire tablet, by allowing competitors like Samsung to use its proprietary iTunes service"

I personally feel that this would have the opposite effect, and Amazon could then advertise their device's LACK of iTunes as a distinct ADVANTAGE over Samsung lol.

With any luck
By lagomorpha on 12/29/2011 2:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
Apple isn't really known for listening to sane advice. Hopefully they irritate the rest of the industry so much that every other company refuses to license technology to Apple and Apple is unable to release a single product without getting sued.

And we wonder
By cnar77 on 12/29/2011 11:54:19 PM , Rating: 2
And we wonder why the world is in chaos when companies have $81b in the bank.

That just goes to show you...
By NellyFromMA on 12/30/2011 9:35:47 AM , Rating: 2
...shareholders only care about one thing: themselves.

By xype on 12/29/2011 10:57:46 AM , Rating: 1
would probably also suggest focus groups, a model palette that provides 10 differently sized and powerful phones and the licensing-out of OS X. You know, so Apple can grow their market share.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

Latest Headlines
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
The Samsung Galaxy S7
September 14, 2016, 6:00 AM
Apple Watch 2 – Coming September 7th
September 3, 2016, 6:30 AM
Apple says “See you on the 7th.”
September 1, 2016, 6:30 AM

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki