Friday, August 12, 2011

Apple Will Not Be Offering Licensing Terms To Its Patents; There's Precedent For This

There are a good many folks who believe that at the end of the day, the patent lawyers currently involved in the Android suits will walk away fatter and richer.  Well, okay, that part is true.  What isn't necessarily true is that Apple will offer cross-licensing terms or simply collect patent royalties from HTC, Samsung and other Android devices makers.  And many "experts" and analysts believe that is how all this is going to end.  

Think back to the iPods.  The scroll wheel.  Now, I ask you this:  which other companies out there have a MP3 player with a scroll/click wheel?  It's been 11 years, folks.  From Sony?  Samsung?  Creative?  

That's right.  None.  And you know why?  Because Apple made it so.  It was a patented feature that it was not willing to share with anyone else on the planet (or on any other planet as far as we know).  

Now consider the features that Apple is suing Android device makers for.  Patents range in how devices work to how it looks and how the UI responds to users.  Among those are the multi-touch gestures and the scrolling actions that make some of the iPhone experiences unique.  

And that was before Apple was granted this key multitouch patent that has the potential to be an even greater implication and a new weapon for Apple to bring to the mobile war.  Consider the FAQ from CNet about the new multitouch patent that was granted to Apple.  If you're a competitor, this is a scary thing.  It looks pretty air tight.  And like myself, the FAQ believes Apple will not be trying to collect multi-touch royalties from competitors.

Essentially, Apple is going to make its competitors work around its patents.  To put it more politically correct, they're going to have to innovate.  In other terms, Apple is trying to make sure its mobile devices offer an unique mobile experience.  

Apple wants user to be able to tell the difference between its iOS devices and those of its competitors.

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