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Lawyers need jobs. The courts need cases to oversee. And tech giants need something to
spend their millions in revenue on. Enter the patent. Now enter
You probably donít know
much about the patent wars going on between Microsoft, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Motorola, Samsung, and all those other guys. You probably
donít know because no one except the lawyers and countless courts of justice really do.
Hereís the general plot: Apple sues Samsung because their phones look alike. Samsungs came out second so of course it copied Apple!
That infringed on Appleís intellectual property (patent filings) and so Apple sued Samsung. And then, feeling
all big and mighty, Apple decides to sue Google because Google copied itís operating system! And then, next thing you know, Microsoft
is suing Apple, Google, and Samsung; and then Apple is suing Microsoft, Google, and Samsung; and then Samsung is suing Google Apple,
and Microsoft. And, of course, Motorola, feeling left out, finds something it thinks Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, and Google are infringing
on and then sues all of them.
And the patents that these companies are suing over are minute
details. Apple sued Google for using a slide-to-unlock feature on Android. There went a hundred million. Apple sued Samsung for making
their phone look the same. There went another hundred million. Motorola sued Google for using a ďreplyĒ email feature. There went
another hundred million. Google sued Apple for having a mapping feature. There went another hundred million. Sure, maybe the technology
behind it is patented and what not but thereís always a loop hole and itís not like Samsung isnít cloning the iPhone.
Itís just one big mess of patent wars that have traveled the country from state court to state court, from federal court to supreme
court and to every court but the tennis court. One judge sides with Apple against Samsung, so then Samsung goes and files an appeal
all while already suing Apple over something else anyway.
Apple then files to halt imports
of Sammyís phones and tablets into the United States, England, Germany, Australia, anyplace it can think of. Samsung appeals and the
injunction is overturned and import can resume. Then Apple gets all red and steamy and goes and files for another one. Samsung in
turn files again. Then Google decides that it wants to file an injunction too and then of course Motorola sticks its nose into the
And now hereís the reason you donít know about any of this: it doesnít matter at
It really doesnít. None of this affects anything about how you use your Apple, Samsung,
Google, Motorola, or Microsoft products. None of it affects your life. The government canít come to your house and demand that you
turn over your iPhone because Apple lost a patent suit. No. Apple has to deal with it themselves.
And dealing with it isnít something that any of these companies are good at. When Apple launched the iPhone back in 2007, they technically
werenít supposed to use the iPhone name. The term ďiPhoneĒ was trademarked by someone else. But that didnít deter them from doing
so. Theyíd just hire a team of lawyers and fight it out in court later. The same thing happened with the iPad. ďiPadĒ was trademarked
by someone else, standing for something else. Apple used it anyway and ended up in court later on.
But going to court for these big guys is like being sent to the principalís office in elementary school. Whatís the worst that could
happen? Apple has to pay a few million in fines? Big deal. Their lawyersí fees probably cost more than that. And besides, you know
those billions of dollars in revenue that they rake in every quarter? That will cover it, no sweat.
Itís the same story with Samsung, Microsoft, Motorola, and Google. These companies have billions of dollars. They can spend a few
hundred million fighting a lawsuit. Thatís petty cash. Courtrooms are like casinos for them. You gamble on a lawsuit. You might win
a few million back, you might lose some more. At the end of the day, you just go home and shrug it off.
These companies have all that cash to throw away on lawyers? That must
mean theyíre overcharging for their products. Itís either that or theyíre printing their own money. I donít have a problem with people
going to court over trivial stuff.
And in the end, competition is good. If Android hadnít been
invented, if Samsung and Motorola hadnít started making phones to compete with the iPhone, the iPhone wouldnít be nearly what it is
today. Sometimes I think that technology is moving too fast for us to keep up. But then I imagine what it would be like if it never
advanced at all.
And, Iím sorry, but other people having a slightly similar slide to unlock mechanism
is not a huge deal.