Intellectual Property, Technology, and the Law
Do you know the story of the “Shot Heard Round the World”? Most people think it’s Bobby Thompson’s home run that won the Giants the pennant in 1951. But it in fact refers to a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem called “Concord Hymn“:
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
This shot referred to a shot fired in a confrontation between British soldiers and (soon to be) American citizens, and it quickly escalated the conflict into The Revolutionary War. (Which America won. Take that, Royal Wedding!)
Well, the first shot was fired two weeks ago, when Apple filed a lawsuit in the United States (Northern California District Court) against Samsung. Apparently, Samsung was probably expecting to get sued, because they filed retaliatory lawsuits in three different countries (South Korea, Japan and Germany). And just today, Samsung also filed a countersuit against Apple in the Northern California District Court. So lots of shots have been fired, and we’re only two weeks into this!
(And no, I am not annoyed that I was just about to publish a blog post discussing why Samsung didn’t file in the United States as well. Not annoyed at all. Because I just love thinking about something and researching it and writing about it and ultimately wasting my time. But just in case you were wondering the same thing, someone else did indeed devote some time to the subject.)
Will this lead to an all-out smartphone war? The smartphone has gone from cool luxury to nearly ubiquitous in a short period of time. The stakes are obviously very high. And I can’t wait to see how this all plays out. Why am I so fascinated? Let me count the ways…
It’s easy to predict the next step — Apple will file countersuits in those three countries and might file more suits elsewhere. And then, the fun begins!
BTW, I should mention one really good blog covering this skirmish — FOSS Patents. Here are some of their recent relevant posts, which include a cool “battlemap.” Oh, and props to Mashable for calling it a “patent slap fight.”
Copyright 2011, Pav S. Athwal. All Rights Reserved.