If a picture is worth a thousand words, we are all indebted to Nick Bilton for this marvellous depiction, on the New York Times' Technology BITS section, of the diagrammatic depiction (above) of the state of play in terms of litigation over mobile phones (thanks fellow-blogger and legal scholar Nikos Prentoulis, for this lead). In his article Nick explains:
"At first glance, it looks as if we’re in the middle of a patent lawsuit Super Bowl party. Nearly every large mobile phone player — with the exception of Microsoft, Palm and, so far, Google — has recently been involved in some sort of patent litigation regarding mobile technologies.Somewhat surprisingly, given the identities of the businesses above, the author -- citing Eric Von Hippel, a professor of technological innovation at M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management -- suggests that the culture sharing of patent technology, which is generally the preferred outcome in developing technologies, has not been able to mature on account of the activities of patent trolls.
The graphic above, showing a sampling of these lawsuits, can be almost dizzying to look at and decipher. Within the last year, for example, Apple was sued by the Taiwanese company Elan Microelectronics over alleged infringement of touch-screen patents. Nokia went on a lawsuit spree, suing Apple, Samsung, LG and a variety of other mobile handset companies. Kodak sued several companies over patents related to the companies’ digital-imaging technology. And on Wednesday, Apple sued HTC, the Taiwanese handset maker.
Although patent litigation is not new in the technology world, these suits, specifically around mobile, point to the drastically changing mobile landscape. Lawyers I spoke with explained that mobile technology was still in its infancy and these large computing companies were trying to stake their claim to the future of computing ...".