Intellectual Property, Technology, and the Law
Mobile Madness continues (updated on June 15, 2011)…
Today was a big day. Finally, after almost 2 years, Apple finally settled with Nokia. Nokia had sued Apple back in October 2009 for patent infringement. Nokia cited 10 of its patents, covering technologies such as GSM, UMTS (3G) and WiFi.
At the time, it was an interesting lawsuit because it involved what are called Standards Setting Organizations, or SSO’s. Very generally speaking, SSO’s are organizations that count various industry players as its members. Their general goal is to develop, agree upon and promulgate a set of standards that will, in theory, benefit the entire industry by maximizing interoperability and minimizing risk such that companies know which path certain technologies are heading down and being able to prepare and strategize accordingly.
With that said, I would like to introduce the first installment of what I hope becomes a regular feature on this blog. I am calling it “Mobile Madness.”
We are currently witnessing a historic and ubiquitous migration in technology. Not too long ago, in the late 1980s, personal computers were becoming commonplace in the American household. Yet, only two decades later, a major shift has started from these PCs to smartphones. My brother recently told me that he goes days without using a PC (whether desktop, laptop or netbook), because he can do all of his work and surfing with his iPhone.
With this migration, we see conflict. But the conflict is nothing like some of the skirmishes we saw in the PC days. The dynamics of the mobile market are multilayered and include a myriad of players, interests, and technology spaces. Battles loom over hardware, software, look and feel, just about anything. And they involve just about every single IPR (intellectual property right) imaginable. These are exciting times for an IP practitioner.
And thus, Mobile Madness. Since I’ve been scarce with time lately, I’ve got a bunch of issues to cover. I intend to have shorter blog posts in the future. But whatever, here you go! Without further ado…
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!
“World Intellectual Property Day” begins here in San Jose, California in just a few hours, on April 26, 2011. This particular day of the year was chosen because it was the day that the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was created.
In honor of this day, I put together a top 10 list of the reasons why I love practicing intellectual property. So, in no particular order, here they are.