Patent Battles

#1
Samsung, Apple et al arguing like kids in the playground over 'ideas'

Surely in the advancement of technology co-opetation is better than ringfencing?

Imagine what cars would be like today if the same happened to that industry?
 
#2
It does happen today, with every industry: Renault's common rail diesel technology was let to Nissan free as they are part of the same group but everyone else has had to ignore it at their own peril, develop their own non-infringing technology or buy a licence. Licences are usually not cheap.

I know more about chemical patents because that was my industry. All large chemical companies have an 'intellectual property' department that files their own patents, watches the competion's and takes legal action on infringements. It's the same with other industries and is big business.
 
#3
If the tech was to be ringfenced in the way that all the individual companies are trying to do then the phones of the future will, quite frankly, be pretty shit.

Look at disc brakes, abs seat belts etc...apple are going to cut off their nose to spite their face if they carry on with all these lawsuits
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
Its not just mobile phones. All the big software companies are trying to patent algorithms. You can't patent an idea as such, but you can patent specific software code techniques to implement the idea. If I come up with a patentable algorithm, my company will pay me a bonus of £1,000.

My company has been involved in a number of high profile court cases in recent months in order to claim Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) over specific code. There's a substantial income from royalties if you can make a court case stick.

1) If you've spent $5m developing specific functionality, you don't want your competitors reverse engineering it at 10% of the price.

2) It's very difficult to set a sensible boundary where protecting IPR ends and trying to handicap your competitors with speculative legal action starts.

Wordsmith
 
#5
Surely in the advancement of technology co-opetation is better than ringfencing?
They're corporations, they exist to make money and the intellectual property is worth money, lots and lots of money. So, why are you surprised they don't make it freely available?

There was much enthusiastic, international sharing of ideas amongst researchers developing the first anti-biotics for the universal good. One of the US scientists took copious notes and became very guarded about what he was writing down. A short time later, the technology was patented by the US scientist.


Imagine what cars would be like today if the same happened to that industry?
It has.

Look at disc brakes, abs seat belts etc...
Someone patented the technology and collected royalties from any company using it for 25 years, ISTR. Then it's in the public domain and it's free for all. The only exception I can think of is 3-point retracting seat belts that Volvo allowed anyone to use.
 
#6
Its the pettyness of the patent rows that Im talking about.

Ability to search the entire contents of your phone anyone?
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
Its the pettyness of the patent rows that Im talking about.

Ability to search the entire contents of your phone anyone?
It's because people dismiss this stuff as petty that IP lawyers make so much money. :-D
 
#9
I think they are different cases. A patent has a limited lifespan so the issue is to make as much money off it while you can. Cars are relatively established products so you're less likely to be able to corner the market,or come up with an innovation that's a knock out blow to the opposition. You'd probably struggle to match customer demand if you did anyway, so licensing is the way to go. Phones are more like computer OS's where market share, and user base, is everything - Microsoft. Apple learned that lesson the hard way, but I still reckon they'll lose to Google/Android in the long run.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#10
To be fair some of the Samsung phones are blatant rip offs of the iPhone.

I do agree that intellectual property law can get a bit out of hand though.

The shooters among you will have heard of Boss & Co, they make some of the finest guns in the world, easily on a par quality wise with Purdey and Holland & Holland.

Purdey and H&H both prop up their gunmaking businesses with thriving clothing and accessory operations. Unfortunately Boss are expressly forbidden from manufacturing anything other than guns due to copyright infringement with Hugo Boss.

As a result, they are almost unheard of now and their business is dwindling.

Basically a once thriving 200 year old British institution has been bullied to the ground by a bigger, much younger company who happen to share a similar name.
 
#11
Apple just seems to be suing anyone and everyone. Yet, it is hypocritical in that it does exactly what it states others do. One example, it now has its own form of google maps. I hope Google sue the arse out of Apple for that one.
 
#12
And this isn't a new thing either...

When sewing machnes were first invented, these same patent rows happened back then too. Hard to imagine it now of course but back in the day sewing machines were as much "cutting edge technology" as today's gizmos. It's often said that sewing machines were the first domestic machine to become widespread.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
The shooters among you will have heard of Boss & Co, they make some of the finest guns in the world, easily on a par quality wise with Purdey and Holland & Holland.

Purdey and H&H both prop up their gunmaking businesses with thriving clothing and accessory operations. Unfortunately Boss are expressly forbidden from manufacturing anything other than guns due to copyright infringement with Hugo Boss.

As a result, they are almost unheard of now and their business is dwindling.

Basically a once thriving 200 year old British institution has been bullied to the ground by a bigger, much younger company who happen to share a similar name.
Dumb question, but why don't they trademark a name like 'The Boss Shotgun Company' and market their clothing under that name. I thought copyright infringement was only effective in retail if there was any possibility of confusion.

Failing that they could trademark an entirely different name and use that. They've then reduced a copyright problem to a marketing one.

Wordsmith
 
#14
My company took Titleist to court over patent infringements with their Pro V1 golf ball, the most popular golf ball in the world. They counter sued, it went to court several times and in the end was settled, IIRC out of court.

Although the patent details were minute and insignificant to the 99% of all golfers, the possible cash windfall should we have won would have been phenomenal

My company now spends large amounts within it's R&D division on patents and IPR

When I want to see what my companies got coming up for the next season, I look here . . Golf Inventions, Patents, and Technology via The IP Golf Guy (aka The Golf Patent Attorney): Category Archive for Golf Design Patents
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#15
Dumb question, but why don't they trademark a name like 'The Boss Shotgun Company' and market their clothing under that name. I thought copyright infringement was only effective in retail if there was any possibility of confusion.

Failing that they could trademark an entirely different name and use that. They've then reduced a copyright problem to a marketing one.

Wordsmith
Not sure the ins and outs of it, but while chatting to their top man over many many beers, he informed me that if they were to so much as make a t shirt with the word 'Boss' on it, Hugo Boss will destroy them.
 
#16
Copyright doesn't come in to it - Even if boss wasn't in common usage then the gun company would have a prior claim and there wouldn't be any originality for the clothes company to claim. They will almost certainly have a registered trademark & trade name for the relevant categories. As Wordsmith says they'd have to come up with something sufficiently original to avoid confusion - unless they were flogging own brand shooting apparel before Hugo even threaded a needle.

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tm/t-find/t-find-text/tmtsearch-search.aspx - looks like there's plenty of room for another Boss Teeshirt and your gun toting acquaintance could have a counterclaim for NICE class 28 products - assuming he's registered some IP.
 
#17
The Boss/Hugo Boss thang sounds rather like CrabAir not bothering to trademark their logo (Blue/White/Red circles), and Lambretta making mileage of it.
 
#18
Having a patent on a new invention or a modification to existing one isn't the end of the world for everyone else.

For one thing, it depends how well it's written, I've seen lots with more holes than Swiss cheese.

Your competitors won't be idle either, if they've got any sense, and will plan to get around it somehow. Most patents don't go to their full term (twenty years) but get scrapped as they become less able to protect the basic idea. The longest one of mine has ever lated was, I thin, eighteen years.

Also science advances, what's the bee's knees now will be everyday crap in ten years, so new patents based on new ideas.

But there's no time limit on sueing for patent infringement, Kodak were done for infringement of the Polaroid patents ages after they expired.
 
#19
I think that Phillips waived the patent on audio cassettes in order to fire up the market.

Imagine if mobile phones had co-operated, all the chargers might be interchangeable!
 
#20
One of the problems with the Brits is that we are to soft. Think how rich the UK would be if we had not given away the jet engine or the www. plus a whole slwe of inventions and ideas. The Americans certainly know the price of everything and it's monetary value.
 

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